This week, I got an invite to talk to a batch of final year Electronics Engineering Students who was undergoing a 4 week internship training as part of curriculum.
The students have completed 6 semesters of their graduation program and completed course work on Semiconductors, Digital Electronics, Embedded Systems, Micro Controllers, Verilog, C programming and were entering the final year of graduation.
A quick poll in beginning revealed, majority of them were looking to break into a job while a few were interested in higher studies. Some of them were specific to get a core job while few didn’t care and a lot of them were also clueless.
So I felt sharing my perspective of what are the current industry trends and opportunities that exists for electronics engineering graduate students
You can find the complete slides of this talk here –
The various choices that exists for a core job for electronics engineering graduates as per me falls into one of following categories
- Semiconductor/VLSI Industry
- Embedded Software Development
- System Design and PCB Design
- Electronics Equipment manufacturing Industries
- Research & Development
- Public Sector Units (PSU)
- Higher studies and Teaching
The Semiconductor Industry deals will design and manufacturing of Semiconductor devices. These are extensively used in Electronic devices and has seen continuous innovation and growth. Some of them that students can easily correlate are following
- Consumer Electronics – Smart phones , TVs , PCs, Communication devices
- Aerospace and military systems, Medical and Healthcare devices
- Computing – PCs, Cloud Computing, HPC (Super computers)
- AI, ML – Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning
- IOT (Internet of Things) – More and more devices connected to Internet
- Home and industry automation, wearable devices
- Autonomous Vehicles
VLSI was driven by Moore’s law and some can debate “Moore’s law is dead” but I feel it will “long live “ still
Technology Nodes have progressed from micro meters to nano meters. While there are some devices that still uses older process like (65 nm, 40 nm and 22nm), majority of current designs are manufactured in 16nm / 14 nm / 10 nm / 7nm and there are already research and actual work happening towards 5nm and 3nm.
While scaling is getting harder, there are also other emerging trends in chip design and I find following two getting good traction.
- Monolithic designs giving way to Heterogeneous chip designs
- 3D Stacking of transistors, Memories
We are already past billions of transistors in chips. Some recent chips like Nvidia Volta has 22 billions of transistors packed.
Complex chips that highlighted are Nvidia Volta, Intel Skylake core series, AMD Ryzen and Qualcomm Snapdragon takes 2 to 4 years or more of development that involves 500 and more people working. Those are some exciting opportunities for electronics engineering graduates.
In terms of actual jobs and the various companies, I break down into following category
- Product Companies – These companies designs and develops ASICs, SOC, Microprocessors
- Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, AMD, Samsung, MediaTek, Broadcom, TI, ST
- Service Companies – These companies work on outsourced/In-house project development for major product companies
- Wipro, TCS, Tata Elxsi, Mirafra, Waferspace, Sasken, Mindtree and many more
- EDA (Electronic Design Automation) Companies – These companies build the tools that are essential for various chip design methodologies
- Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, Aldec
- IP Design Companies – These companies focus on building and selling IP (Intellectual property) for others.
- ARM, MIPS (Processor core), Synopsys, Cadence etc (Memories, Protocol agents, connectivity)
- Fabrication (Fab) Companies – These are the companies that focus on the manufacturing, packaging and other aspects.
- TSMC, Global Foundries, Samsung
In terms of what skills are needed for a chip designer to break into VLSI/Semiconductor, I already wrote about same in another post here – What are must know things for a chip design engineer ?
The next major opportunity for electronics engineering graduates exists in Embedded Systems Development. Following are some examples of what constitutes as embedded systems which are essentially micro controller based systems.
- Used in Home appliances, Medical electronics, Automotive and Industrial systems
- Intelligent temperature control inside an A/C, Smart TV, Digital Set Top Boxes
- Traffic lights, Factory controls, Portable Audio/Video devices,
- Medical devices – Scanners, Various Vital monitors
- Automotive entertainment, Self driving Vehicles
- IoT Devices – wearables, digital watches
For those electronics engineering graduates interested in embedded system jobs, the skills are slightly different compared to VLSI/Chip designer.
Lastly since there are a lot of electronics engineering graduates coming out of college each year, there is good competition and students need to put some extra efforts to stand out from rest and increase their chance for employability
Hope this helps.
Watch the full presentation
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