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Monday, February 3, 2014

Why VLSI Industry Reluctant to Hire Fresher??

Why VLSI Industry Reluctant to Hire Fresher??
Question in every student’s mind…
Every student those are interested in VLSI field has this question. This article is especially for such type of questions only. Few other flavors of such questions are
  • Everyone is asking for experience, how can I gain experience until unless someone hire me?
  • VLSI industry is not giving chance to fresher. Why?
  • It’s easy to get job in IT/software industry in comparison to VLSI industry. Why?

My experience says that it’s not the problem with Industry. Problem is somewhere else. To know where the problem, let’s try to answer these questions. 
  • Do I know what the VLSI industry is?
  • What are the different fields and areas where I can work?
  • What profile I require in the VLSI industry?
  • On what technology, my interest is?
  • What are the different tools or basics I should prepare before any interview?

I can bet that 75% student’s reply
  • In the VLSI industry we are designing CHIP and I love designing.
  • I want to be designer.
  • Nano technology is the latest one and I want to work on that.
  • PSPICE, Verilog, VHDL, Matlab are few of the tools. Few may know about the Synopsys /Cadence / ICC/Encounter/Caliber tools also but most of us don’t know too much about these tools.
  • Digital knowledge, VLSI flow, CMOS basics are few topics which we should prepare.

None of the above answer is wrong but that is not sufficient. We know a lot about IT software industry, so let me try to justify my statement (“Not Sufficient”) with an example.

Example: Question to a candidate who is interested in VLSI Industry.
Question: What’s your area of interest and in which profile you are interested?
Reply: I am interested in the VLSI field. I am passionate about the Chip designing. I know Verilog/VHDL language.

Example: Question to a candidate who is interested in IT industry.
Question:  What’s your area of interest and in which profile you are interested?
Reply: I have good understanding in C/C++/Java programming. I interest is in Networking side. I want to do core development. I have done 3 projects in my college days. My target company is Cisco. I have done CCNA certificate course to fulfill my gap.

Now, can you notice the difference in both the reply?
IT candidate
VLSI candidate
Aware about on which programming language or technology he/she has to work
Mentioned Verilog/VHDL.
Aware about this much. No info about the 20nm/14nm technology.
Awareness about the different domains like Networking
Clear about that candidate want to do in Development. Not interested into Support or testing.

Wanted to do Chip Designing.
No idea about the other different type of profile. Like Designer, Developer, CAD Engineer, Field Engineer etc
Know his/her target company
Any company is good for us. No idea which company is doing what. Like EDA industry is also part of Semiconductor Industry.
To fulfill the gap, done a specific certification course
If someone knows – they know about CDAC course.
Have done specific project in his/her college days
If we have done something, that may be based on VERILOG/VHDL

Note: There are few exceptions, where student is graduated from Top Engineering College or have done few of the courses. But majority of students (don’t know the exact %) has above info.

Let’s ask this question once again. Where is the problem? Why VLSI industry is reluctant to hire fresher? Is there any problem in the VLSI industry? I would say NO.

Every Industry has their protocols. If you will follow, no one can stop your entry. Every one is saying that Software Companies are hiring fresher but truth is: we know their protocol and we follow that. In case of VLSI industry, we don’t know too much. Why, we don’t know because it’s not in our education system. Only few of the colleges (In India – IITs/BITS/Only Few other colleges) have the infrastructure or specific courses related to VLSI domain. And that’s the reason VLSI industry hire/prefer fresher from those colleges.
Now you can ask why colleges don’t have infrastructure of specific courses. So there may be several reasons.
  • They themselves are not aware too much about this industry.
  • Infrastructure cost is very high in case VLSI.
  • They don’t have experts who can teach or guide students.
  • Universities don’t have specific courses related to VLSI in their curriculum.

Root Cause of this big problem is:
  • Our Education system.
  • Knowledge Gap.
  • Not Aware about too much about VLSI Industry.
  • Not many experts from VLSI Industry, ready to share their experience + knowledge

Defiantly, you will ask what best you can do right now, because it’s difficult to change the Education system in short term from student point of view.

For student, I have following suggestions
  • Increase your knowledge base about the VLSI industry.
    • Read Blogs / Articles / Magazines.
    • Talk to your seniors / Friends / Relative to know more about VLSI industry.
    • Attend different Seminars / Conferences which are specific to VLSI /Semiconductors.
    • Become part of different groups/forums in social network and try to understand what other people are discussing.
  • Try to fill your knowledge gap.
    • It’s not straight forward. But Read different basics books to understand the different aspect of Chip design.
    • Develop curiosity about the different topics and list them and try to figure out how you can correlate with your existing course work and then strong your basics on that.
    • If possible, attend different courses / training program / workshop.
  • Explore your interest
    • Obviously, this is something you come to know when you know what’s your options. But before trying for a company – explore your interest.
    • This interest helps you to choose target companies also.

From experts in VLSI Industry, I have following request
  • Try to share your experience through blogs / Articles / Seminars / Workshops.
    • It doesn’t matter how good you are in a particular topic or not. Most important is whatever you share might help someone.
    • Several companies have tie up with different universities.  Try to participate in such program actively.
  • Always be active in guiding juniors or someone outside.
    • Think about those days when no one was outside to guide you. All of us struggled in one way or other.
    • Become part of different Forums or Groups, to answer people’s issues/problems.
  • Help your own colleges or universities (from where you have done engineering or masters) in developing awareness among students and if possible encourage them to develop infrastructure.

..Ending this article with 2 Quotes..

“Knowledge increases by sharing, not by saving”

“The high peak of knowledge is perfect self-knowledge”

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