“We look for graduates from reputed institutes and we consider the university name very important while recruiting employees. We approach premium institutes like IITs and IIITs for placements as we have found from our experience that the quality of their talent is different. The two main factors we look for while recruiting people are technical capability in the subject and analytical power,” shares Choudhary.
National Instruments works with some specific colleges for hiring FPGA engineers.
“Some of the institutes which we work very closely with are BITS Pilani and IIT Bombay, both of which have excellent VLSI design programmes. SJB Institute of Technology in Bengaluru is also an upcoming institute in FPGA-based graphical system design development,” informs Karun Jain, senior technical consultant, National Instruments India.
One can also enroll in courses at private institutes such as Sandipani, Veda, C-DAC and TTM Institute of Information Technology to learn VLSI.
How to enter the industry
There are no specialised courses offered yet in well-known colleges in India. Professor S. Srinivasan, head-department of electrical engineering at IIT Madras, advises interested candidates to learn the subject at NITs, IITs and research labs such as DRDO and ISRO as these can also turn into potential employers.
“They can do experiments and learn the HDL well to program application. They get training on the basic digital design concept, and design engineering experience required. Later, they get placed in organisations that come to our institutes looking for such talent,” Srinivasan shares.
Choudhary concurs: “The best way is to do a bachelor’s degree in electronics, electrical or computer science at a reputed institute and either apply directly or get placed at large organisations.”
However, if you have already completed your bachelor’s degree from a lesser-known institute, there are other ways too to get into a good organisation.
Chaudhary explains, “One option is to join a small company like a service provider initially and gain experience in the field. Later, you can consider joining a bigger organisation. You can even join semiconductor companies as the skills acquired are similar. We do campus recruitment but most of our talent joins us from other semiconductor and EDA companies after gaining a good understanding of FPGA. Another way to get acquainted with FPGAs is to attend VLSI-specialised courses.”
There are particular skill sets which recruiters look for while hiring an FPGA engineer. “Problem-solving skills and expertise in FPGA design and verification tools like VHDL, LabVIEW FPGA and Verilog are the most sought after skills while hiring FPGA engineers,” shares Jain.
In Xilinx, freshers are given training in R&D, hardware, software and firmware to make sure that they get a basic understanding of the area they are expected to work in. As FPGAs are undergoing a lot of changes, training is a continuous process at Xilinx. This ensures that existing employees reach the next level by learning to work on new technologies.
The author was till recently a business correspondent at EFY Bengaluru.