Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Engineering Major: Electrical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution(s): Hampton University, Georgia Tech
Job Title: Staff Circuit Design Engineer, PowerPC Embedded Processor Development, IBM, Research Triangle Park, NC
Job Responsibilities: My position involves the detailed design of VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) custom circuits for microprocessors at the transistor level. Because today's state of the art microprocessors consist of millions of transistors, most of the design is done using automated programs with prefabricated circuits. However, when low power and performance are critical for a particular function, custom circuits are chosen instead. These designs require thorough simulation and testing to ensure they will function properly on the chip.
The demand for circuit design engineers varies with the performance of the semiconductor industry, which is in a slow recovery. The market is more favorable for experienced circuit designers and new grads with co-op or post-baccalaureate exposure to VLSI circuit design.
Best Advice: Strongly consider continuing your education beyond the Bachelor's degree. VLSI circuit design is typically an elective course in most undergraduate curriculums. Engineering employers tend to have members of their technical staff interview and evaluate potential hires, and tend to favor candidates with exposure to the more advanced circuit design techniques that are covered in graduate level courses.