How is the VLSI field? How many sub-branches are there in the VLSI field?

VLSI, Very Large Scale Integration technology is used primarily for the IC design in the Semiconductor Industry which is part of the global electronics industry. So, VLSI always depends on the trends of the electronics industry. Currently, the business of electronics industry is driven mostly by the growth of mobile devices, automotive sector, cloud servers and other upcoming fields like IOT, Internet Of Things. So, VLSI which is part of the electronics field is also growing based on the developments in the electronics industry. For example, IoT is growing in a big way through mobile app-based services like Uber/Ola, Industrial automation, Smart Home and Smart Cities. So IOT demands new wireless and wired protocols to realise the connected devices. Protocols like Bluetooth, Wifi, 5G, Zigbee, Thread, etc will evolve and therefore we chip designers will create new IPs, Chips and SoCs to support the new protocols. Also, the growth of Artificial Intelligence demands new kinds of powerful processors and memories for the high-speed execution. The upcoming fields like self-driven cars demand the growth of artificial intelligence, especially machine learning. So, VLSI will also grow to support upcoming technologies like artificial intelligence.

In the Semiconductor industry, there are so many fields and specialisations like System Design, TLM [Transaction Level Modelling], IP- RTL Design, Design Verification, Emulation & Acceleration, FPGA prototyping, Verification IP, Synthesis, DFT, Timing Verification, Physical Design and Verification, Silicon Testing, Silicon Validation, PCB Design, ASIC Library Design, SOC-RTL design and verification, Analog Mixed Signal Verification, Analog IP design, Custom ASIC Design, etc.

If you are fresher, you can start off your journey with Digital Design and HDL coding and then choose either front-end or back-end ASIC design, based on your interest. Also while working in the industry, you will grow specialised in a particular domain like processor[Intel/AMD], memory[Rambus/Micron/Sandisk], automotive[Infineon/NXP], wireless[Broadcom/Qualcomm], mobile SOC[Samsung/Apple/Nvidia] or IOT[Intel/Google], based on the company/opportunity.

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