Are You Dreaming of Becoming a Chip Designer?

Anyone can become a chip designer, without having a top-class academic performance or tier-1 college background. If you have good academic performance, right attitude and will, you could easily enter into the semiconductor industry. At the same time, all engineers from IIT/IISC/any Tier-1 institute might not be good for VLSI by default and the companies don’t hire any engineer blindly by looking at only the college/university name. So how can you be unique and competent to work in the semiconductor industry?

1.Passion: Is VLSI your cup of coffee? If you are truly interested in other domains like embedded, networking, marketing, sales or software, then don’t choose VLSI just for the sake of getting a job. How much you love electronics? – defines how much you are competent to work in the VLSI domain. For example, you may be naturally good at sales or marketing with your good interpersonal and communication skill and you may not be truly interested in design or programming, then you should seriously consider doing sales or marketing job or MBA course. There is nothing like only IT/VLSI is great in this world. Don’t choose the VLSI domain, because all your friends are choosing.

Always choose the one that you like in your life, whether it’s your job or company. That’s how I have always been in my life.

2. Fundamentals: Are you good at fundamentals of electronics? : Basic Electronics-Circuit Theory, Digital and Analog, CMOS and HDL Basics[Optional]. Your understanding of basic electronics defines whether you are good for VLSI design or not. Unfortunately, professors don’t teach FSM design and RTL coding in most of the colleges, because of their lack of design experience. So, you can opt for some good online courses like Maven’s online VLSI-DM course and learn the concepts very well while doing your engineering course. This will increase your chance of getting a job through your campus placement or while doing any advanced VLSI courses at VLSI training institutes like Maven Silicon

3. Creativity: To excel at any job, you need to be creative and it’s same for IC design too. Chip Design is a creative job and you always need to think out-of-the-box to come up with optimal solutions. Do you really need to be super intelligent like Albert Einstein? Not really, you just need to solve different kinds of digital puzzles. Good practice and continuous learning will make you perfect for the job.

Most of the time, I sit alone in my office and do so much paperwork, instead of being busy with my mobile on social media all the times. This is how I create new IPs, training courses and business models, including this blog posting. Don’t be too busy with your mobile, on movies, web-series, social media, etc in your life. It’s a waste of time. Also playing any sports or doing activities like yoga or workouts along with your friends will help you to stay positive and think differently.

4. Attitude: Believe in yourself. No matter what, you can achieve anything in your life. But to achieve something Big in your life, you need to focus on doing small things consistently every day. Once you develop all good habits, then you will feel confident about your personality and potential. Being a shallow engineer, you can’t pretend to be confident. So, learn and practice as much as possible to grow as a skilled and confident engineer. Work Hard.

You should be extremely good at what you are doing in your life, be it electronics design or software programming or marketing. Your success in anything that you are doing in your life reflects your passion.

5. Curiosity: Be a truly knowledgeable engineer like our Dr APJ Kalam. Always be creative and curious like Richard Branson or Elon Musk and explore new things.

You can learn so much from the online courses, internships, textbooks, blogs, technical forums or workshops, Wikipedia, etc. So, don’t simply sit idle worrying all the time about your future. Live in the present and enjoy your life learning so much every day. Everything will come to you. Happy New Year!

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Founder & CEO
Sivakumar P R is the Founder and CEO of Maven Silicon. He is responsible for the company's vision, business, and technology. Sivakumar is a seasoned engineering professional who has worked in various fields, including electrical engineering, academia, and semiconductors for more than 25 years. Before founding Maven Silicon, he worked in the top EDA companies Synopsys, Cadence and Siemens EDA as a verification consultant.