Most of us just give up the idea of getting a job at top electronics companies, because we simply think we won’t be selected, or the competition is too high, or we have no idea of their hiring process. Here is an interview with Aditi Chauhan, Head, field marketing – EMEIA, National Instruments (NI) that can help you. Aditi is an accomplished leader who has been awarded many prestigious Industry awards like Woman Leader of the Year, Rising Star of the Year, Global Marketer of the Year among others. She talks to Ankita KS from EFY Group on the hiring trends at NI, skillsets in demand in the test and measurement industry and the various opportunities at NI. Excerpts follow..
Q: Is ‘quality talent’ a challenge being faced in the Electronics Test & Measurement (T&M) industry in India?
India has a solid pool and availability of engineering talents with over 10 lakh engineers graduating every year. At National Instruments, we have been able to hire the best and the brightest from the Indian Engineering colleges. Not only are our talents highly-technically skilled, but they are also familiar with the industry trends and they bring on board the creativity and innovation we need in an industry that is changing rapidly.
Q: Are you hiring or planning to hire talent for your electronics business at National Instruments? If yes, can you share estimated numbers to be hired within the next 2 years?
Our hiring numbers are confidential, but I can tell you that we continue to hire because of the needs of our customers are evolving so we need to ensure we have the best and brightest talents to meet these changing needs.
Q: What is the skill sets that you see are in demand in the electronics design and T&M industry today?
Technology is evolving dramatically. Breakthroughs are happening as we speak in the fields of IoT, prototyping to commercial deployment of 5G, Autonomous Driving, multi-industry convergence and so on. National Instruments develops high-performance automated test and automated measurement systems to help solve engineering challenges now and into the future. Our teams of engineers must remain agile and relevant to keep up with our customers’ needs.
We look for talents with relevant domain-specific knowledge and can work with a diverse customer base spanning multiple application across industries. A must-have is the ability to apply an analytical approach to break down complex applications and leveraging their technical expertise and business acumen to solve these engineering challenges and ensures customers’ success.
Q: If yes, what are the type of roles for which you’re planning to hire at National Instruments? Can you share a brief idea about what these roles entail?
We have an array of roles for candidates who want to join our teams in areas such as Applications Engineering, Research, and Development(R&D), Systems and Sales Engineering, Technical Marketing among other roles.
Q: What is the key technology skill sets that you’re seeking amongst the would-be hires?
It is important to have the right fundamental engineering skills. The technology skills required in each role vary, for example – for our application and technical support hires we look for a strong technical aptitude and a thorough understanding of electronics and high-level programming languages being applied for measurement and instrumentation use cases. For our software engineering roles, we look for proficiency in text-based programming languages and experience in software design principles. At National Instruments the best and brightest is not just about the grades. It is also about the soft-skills and values you bring to the company, such as a passion for technology, innovation, teamwork, and strong communication skills.
Q: How do you mainly hire? Is it through campus recruitment or direct hiring? Can you brief about the hiring process at National Instruments?
We look at hiring both through campus as well as through lateral placement as may be the requirement of the job.
For Campus recruitments, the process is to have a written test focusing on application and problem-solving skills followed by an Interview covering Technical and soft skills. As for lateral hires, the process is similar along with the domain specific and experience related interview process.
Q: Do you mainly look for IITians or MTech MBA holders, or do you hire freshers from other Tier 2 and Tier 3 colleges?
We only look for the best and the brightest; this means we want to engage top talents. We also look for creativity, innovation, sound knowledge of the T&M Industry, eagerness and willingness to learn quickly in a rapidly changing environment to keep up with the needs of our customers.
Q: Any unique hiring practice followed at National Instruments–to get the right candidates?
Our hiring practice is not focused only on knowledge check but more on understanding how the candidate applies this knowledge to solve real problems.
Once hired, fresh graduates join our Engineering Leadership Program (ELP) which is the foundational element for some of the other roles like Product, Sales, Marketing, R&D, and more. ELP is a unique opportunity that these talented young graduates get to not only work with our innovative products but also with our customers exposing them to some incredible real-world applications.
We also aim to develop a diverse and inclusive environment at National Instruments because diversity has a positive impact on innovation, teamwork, and decision-making and our hiring practices are in line with this.
Q: What would be your advice to the academia–how should they reinvent their curriculum to create techies suitable for the industry?
As I mentioned earlier, India produces over 10 lakh engineers every year. It is a wide pool of talents – so how can academic institutions ensure their students stand-out? It is critical that our academic institutions are able to review and refresh the curriculum from time to time to bridge the industry readiness gap to ensure that we produce not just high quantity but high-quality engineers. The colleges need to impart the right skills to these students that can help them keep pace with the rapid change. Institutes need to provide their students with real-life environments through industry partnerships, real-world applications for students to develop and be creative, discover innovative approaches to problem-solving and not just learn concepts. We are also seeing that the systems being built in the industry today are increasingly multi-disciplinary in nature (for example of the growing amount of electronics inside an automobile), and it would be great to have colleges/universities to foster interdisciplinary learning.
Q: Do you have a formal Internship/training program to train freshers for the industry? If yes, can you share how’s it designed to make them industry-ready?
We have a solid internship program where we partner with the campus placement teams and we have been hiring interns for years now. The program is designed to provide hands-on opportunity to work in multiple industrial fields. The interns learn how their course of study applies to the real world and build a valuable experience while being exposed to countless activities and training opportunities. Additionally, National Instruments Tools and Systems empower and equip the interns to tackle the grand engineering challenges in addition to nurturing and building the career one wants. Typically, we hire 3rd-year students who work for 3-6 months. And then depending on their performance, they have the opportunity to secure a pre-placement offer (PPO) with National Instruments. And we’ve seen that we almost always have interns join us in our ELP Program.
We see a lot of interest and excitement from students who want to join National Instruments. The opportunity to be able to work across such a diverse portfolio ranging from Aerospace Defence, Semiconductor or Transportation or other industries is very exciting and unique to the students. And we see a huge interest in applying for both our internship and recruitment programs.
Q: What would your advice be to the engineers looking for a career in electronics design and T&M industry.
You know when I entered the workforce, the trend was to arm yourself with an Engineering degree from a good college, undergo additional technical certification courses, clear aptitude tests and voila you’d have a magic recipe to get the hiring managers attention. Gone are those days! It’s not only about which college you’re from or what course you’ve learned any more, but it’s also about how you’re continuing to learn and innovate in this highly exciting, yet uncertain, complex world.
And it’s not just me saying this but according to a research by Harvard Business Review and Deloitte, by 2020 the work-related knowledge that a student acquires will have a shelf life of five years. So, my advice to the students would be to continually upskill themselves, be proactive in learning and keeping an open mind for new things.
Q: According to you, do you feel there is a gap in the number of Women in Technology? What can we do to improve this?
Q: Can you brief about your journey in the industry? Over the years, what is the mistake you have made and lessons learned?
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