How a VLSI International Conference influenced three friends in choosing a career

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How a VLSI International Conference influenced three friends in choosing a career

Post by InterviewMantra on Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:23 am

This is a true story about the influence of an International conference on three friends in choosing their career paths. (I’m one of the three!).

Circa December 2007, I got a call from Sreeram, my ex-college mate from Chennai telling me about an international conference on VLSI and Embedded Systems in Hyderabad. We were pretty much tempted to go register for this conference, but the only thing that inhibited us was the price tag of registration 8000 Rs. for just three days.

I contacted Karthik, another friend of mine from Chennai. One thing that was common among three of us was that we were all Engineers from Electronics and Communication Engg. stream from engineering colleges in Chennai. Second thing was that we were CEACTIs (Confused Engineers Aspiring for Core Technical job in India) who passed out in 2007.

All the three of us were confused about choosing our career paths. Sreeram was aspiring to pursue Masters in the US. He was confused whether to take up Electrical stream or Computer science stream. Karthik was confused whether to pursue Masters or to join an IT firm in India. I was working for a reputed IT firm in pune. I was confused whether to continue in technology stream, or to pursue my passion for marketing and entrepreneurship.

None of us had a clue what to do, until we attended that international conference. We decided to shell out big money and go attend that conference. We had no idea that this conference would totally change our minds and give us a direction.

The conference was conducted in a posh international conference center in Hyderabad. The attendees of the conference were experts from the industries of VLSI, Embedded Systems and Core Electronics, professors from international universities, businessmen owning chip manufacturing companies, employees working for reputed chip related companies (such as Intel, AMD, ARM) and aspiring students studying in reputed colleges of India.

We attended few paper presentations on latest trends in VLSI, few panel discussions on future of chip manufacturing in India, visited the exhibits of sponsor Electronic related companies and last but not the least, enjoyed the royal lunch that they provided.

We had the opportunity to talk to a professor from a famous university in the USA. He also happened to be a member of selection committee of international student admissions in his university and a popular IEEE fellow. Professor was kind enough to speak with us about the criterion of selection of international students, drawbacks in Indian education and life as a graduate student in the USA.

We also spoke to few employees of Intel, AMD. We asked them how they got a job in a core electronic company. They shared their experience with the core technological companies, they compared and contrasted electronic and IT industry in India.

At the end of the conference, we were overwhelmed with a huge amount of information about the electronics trends happening in India and the world. We realised few shocking revelations, India was lacking extremely bad in chip industry when compared to the western world. There are hardly hundreds of jobs in India related to chip industry. M.Tech programs in India were far inferior to the ones in rest of the world.

It took us a couple of weeks to digest what we learnt at the conference. The conference gave us an invaluable thing, a direction to our career paths and clarity in our vision.

Sreeram realised that he should apply where his interest lies, in electrical engineering for masters instead of going behind the computer engineering stream just for the sake of getting a job.

Karthik became crystal clear about his pursuit of Masters in VLSI program in the US. He loved VLSI, he had even won few VLSI competitions in India.

I got the whole picture of the electronic and IT industry in India. I decided that I was not going to get into the myriad of electronic technologies. I wanted to be a technical marketer, business man who sells technology.

Sreeram is now a Research Assistant in Gannon University, Karthik got an admit into VLSI stream in University of South California, I resigned my tech job and started full time blogging as a first step to my entrepreneurship.

If you are a CEACTI like us, I highly recommend you to participate in international conferences related to your field. If you are a student of electrical engineering branch check out the VLSI Conference 2010 to be conducted in Bangalore. It may change the course of your career!

This article is taken from Interview Mantra
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