“Electronic design automation (EDA) is a growing sector in India”—experts in the EDA sector convey this message loud and clear. So the demand for EDA engineers is also going up. EDA certainly doesn’t offer as many jobs as an IT company would, but it surely offers good money—in fact, higher than in any other engineering-based industry.
Sunil Pathak, director, human resources, Cadence Design Systems (I), says, “Last year the semiconductor industry grew at about 20 per cent. But things may have changed this year because of the global economic pressure. But today I assume that the industry would grow at about 10-15 per cent, which is also no less. With the growth in semiconductor and VLSI industries in India, demand for EDA engineers is increasing year after year. This is a positive sign for the engineers who want to make a career in electronics. We are reaching out to the campuses to hire the cream talent from engineering colleges for the highly paid EDA jobs.”
So if you think that a successful career is one that earns you good money, EDA is one of the best options for you.
Here begins the challenge…
There are no free lunches in this commercial world. For someone who wants to make career in designing of EDA tools, the challenge begins with getting admission in a good engineering institution.
Raghu Panicker, sales director, India, Mentor Graphics, says “People willing to make career in EDA should get into an engineering college where they can try and focus on subjects like digital electronics, analogue devices and microprocessors. Candidates should master these subjects while they are in college and also work on projects based on electronics. It could be a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) project, a front-end project or a backend project. This makes them understand the process thoroughly. A thorough knowledge of subjects like analogue design, digital design and microprocessors is a must. ”
Chandrashekhar Kypa, head of design enabling and services, Infineon Technologies India, explains, “A person who wants to develop a career in EDA domain is expected to be a graduate in electronics with a good knowledge of digital design and C, C++, HDL, VeriLog, System VeriLog, VHDL and other languages on automation side (Python, tickle, etc). An electronics or computer science graduate is what we look for but electronics graduates get a preference for sure. Having a good idea of system-level design modelling is always an advantage.”
Those from electrical domain also find a place in this industry, but electronics and computer engineers dominate.
Projects are a must
Having some practical exposure gives you a leverage in the hiring process.
Panicker explains, “Those willing to make a career in this stream should undertake at least one front-end project or FPGA project while they are in engineering institutes. This will make them understand the VLSI flow.”
But, unfortunately, there is dearth of right education and VLSI labs.
Dr Pradip Dutta, corporate vice president at Synopsys Inc. and managing director of Synopsys (India), emphasises, “There is definitely dearth of good teachers in this space. The reason is that everyone who comes in the industry wants to go and work in a multinational and nobody wants to teach. They find better growth prospects in working in multinational companies rather than teaching in colleges. Also, there is lack of good VLSI labs, but the situation is improving with time.”
Thankfully, the industry is coming forward to provide assistance. Panicker shares, “The industry is providing students the right kind of tools and setting up labs so that they can have a hands-on experience of the EDA tools. For example, STMicroelectronics came up with the idea to improve the situation in the engineering colleges that we hire from. We jointly approached IIT Delhi and told them that we want to run certain programmes for the seventh-semester and eighth-semester students. We started running programmes and courses for these students, which enabled students to do projects. At this stage in the engineering courses, students are expected to do projects which are industry-worthy. This makes the students ready with minimum requirement of understanding the processes required to make them employable in companies like ours.”
Get industry-ready before getting on the job
The syllabus in your college is not enough to fetch you a job in the EDA industry. You need to have an extra bit to get selected. There are training institutes like EFY Tech Center which provide hands-on training in VLSI courses, making you industry-ready.