Synopsys — ASIC Digital Design Engineer
Name - Rishav Raj
- Which company have you been placed in and what’s the job description?
>> I have been placed in “Synopsys” for the ASIC Digital Design Engineer role.
2. Tell us something about your college life and experiences. Were you the part of any club or society throughout your college life and how did they help you?
>> My college life was pretty exciting but it definitely got impacted a lot by the Covid situation because out of 4 years of engineering, we could only enjoy 1.5 years of it. I made some good friends that made my college life easy. I’ve been part of the Robolution club since my 2nd year, and currently I’m the Vice President of this club. This gave me the opportunity to work as a team and gave multidisciplinary exposure to interact with people from different branches and different years. Working for Robocon at late night after classes taught me how to maintain a proper work-life balance. Organizing workshops on various robotics topics and technical events developed my interest in Electronics even more. Clubs provide you with the opportunity to interact with your seniors more frequently, which is always a plus point, as they can help you with your academic doubts, placement related doubts, project-related doubts and much more. In short, clubs help you become a mature and versatile person.
3. What message would you give to the first and second year undergraduates on effectively using their time and maintaining their academic as well as social life?
>> For first/second-year students, my advice would be that you should enjoy every moment, try to explore the opportunities. You cannot restrict yourself at the very beginning of your engineering career to any field just because others are doing it. At this point, you should not think too much about placements and internships, just try to maintain a decent CGPA. You need to find your interests because that will surely help you in future. Try making new friends, exploring new things. Try maintaining a good balance between academic and social life.
4. How did you discover that “this particular sector” is suitable for me or I have interest in this? How did you carry forward in this?
>> I explored many domains starting from electronics core to electrical core to web development and web technologies. Something that I figured out was you can’t really decide your interest without exploring all of them. In my first two years, I was only interested in Electronics, Robotics, Cad and all. During the lockdown, I learned about web development but I knew that wasn’t enough for software companies as you need to know a lot of things with that like DSA, DBMS and other computer core subjects. I started preparing for electronics core companies in the 6th semester, although I didn’t have much idea about VLSI, and HDLs at that time but still I wanted to pursue my career in the field of electronics. Many big companies like Infineon and NXP came to recruit our seniors, which motivated me even more to dive deep into the field of VLSI.
5. Many of the students have interest in both core and software domain, what would you suggest to them?
>> I also had interest in both core and software so one needs to follow his/her instincts and prepare accordingly. Let me tell you the difference between these two, keeping placement in mind. A lot of software companies come to BIT every year and hire a lot of students but the problem is that competition here is much more as students from all branches prepare for software companies. So you can get rejected sometimes but you need to keep patience and you will surely get placed. Now talking about the core placement scenario, very few good companies come to BIT like Synopsys, Infineon, NXP, Addverb, Steradian and a few more. But the main advantage is that competition here is quite less as you need to compete with your branch students only, and if you have prepared well enough then you can easily grab a job in core companies, just try to keep your basics at the very best.
6. What are the technical skills that are important for EEE graduates?
>> For electrical core companies like Tata Steel one needs to have a good knowledge of electrical machines, power system, power electronics, EEGC. MATLAB & SIMULINK and ARDUINO are must for an electrical engineer, along with PCB designing software like EAGLE, KICAD, etc. One should also learn PLC and electrical AutoCAD. When it comes to the preparation for a core electronics company, you should be thorough with the core subjects that are in the semester syllabus, but that’s not sufficient. Apart from that, the topics that are very important from the placement point of view are as follows:- Digital Electronics: GATE book by Made easy, Lecture series by Prof. S. Srinivasan IIT Madras, Neso Academy Analog Electronics: Electronics I and Electronics II (up to lecture 16)/ Book by Dr. Behzad Razavi (for numerical and theory as well) CMOS Digital Electronics: — From Jan M. Rabaey (Chapters 3, 5, and 6)/ Lecture on Digital VLSI by Dr. SudebDasgupta IIT Roorkee. Verilog HDL: — Lecture series by Dr. IndranilSengupta IIT Kharagpur/Book by Samir Palnitkar(First 8 chapters). Computer organization and architecture: — Pipelining, Amdahl’s Law, Cache memory, Virtual Memory from lectures by Dr. Ajit Pal/COA lecture series by Gate Smashers. For virtual memory refer to videos by David Black-Schaffer on YouTube. Static Timing Analysis: — From vlsiexperts.com/Lecture 33 and 34 by Prof. TuhinSubhra Chakraborty IIT Kharagpur. Memories: — ROM (Basics), RAM- SRAM (6T), and DRAM (1T) (Complete Operation) from a lecture by Dr. Amitava Dasgupta, IIT Madras. Microprocessor and Microcontroller: 8085 from R. Gaonkar/A.P. Malvino, 8086 Architecture, Microcontroller Architecture (8051). Apart from these, the other topics are RLC circuit in-depth analysis (for this you can refer to Lecture Series by Gate academy), Active and Passive Filters, Fabrication Process, ASIC Design Methodology, Frequency divider circuits (f/2, f/3 with 50% duty cycle from Ganesh Acharya video), FIFO Depth calculation. You must solve the GATE previous year questions on analog and digital electronics. One should also have a good knowledge of the C/Python language.
7. How early one should start preparing for internships and how important an internship is? Where did you pursue your internship?
>> First of all, you need to know in which field you are interested. For this, I would suggest keep on exploring in your 1st year, and if you are interested in coding, then start right away from your 2nd year since companies like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs start coming to college at the start of 3rd year. And if you are still confused between core and coding, take a little bit more time in your 2nd year and make the right choice. Internships are good for your personal growth as they give you the exposure to work as a team and you get to learn a lot of things during internships. During placement interview, internships help a lot as you can restrict your interview to the project and project-related questions you have done during internship. But if you don’t get an internship in your field, it makes no sense to do it just for the sake of having one. I interned at Vbuild as a web developer.
8. What are the projects you have done in 4 years and how did they help in your placement and internship?
>> Apart from my Internship’s Projects, as a part of Team Robolution I have worked on CAD models and prototyping of bots, implementing embedded system algorithm and electronic circuit designs for ROBOCON 2020 which passes rugby ball to another bot and then that bot kicks the ball to the goalpost. My other Projects includes Sequential and Combinational Circuit design using Verilog in Xilinx, Bluetooth controlled quadruped bot, a 2-of self-balancing platform, a few websites for clubs and various competitions/hackathons and my portfolio website.
9. What was the selection procedure of your company? Can you repeat some of the important questions from each round of your interview?
Ans.The 1st round was a written round and around 80 students sat for the same. The written round comprised of 30 questions from digital electronics, around 10 questions from analog electronics, out of which a few of them were based on small-signal analysis, a few from the basic diodes and RC circuits and a few from OP-Amp. And if you would ask me about the difficulty of those questions, to say that those questions were at par with the ECE GATE questions would be apt. Because a good many of those questions of Digital Electronics were directly asked from the previous year GATE questions. It also comprised of a few questions from Verilog and operating systems and finally it ended with ten good aptitude questions. This was all about the 1st round. 28 students qualified for the next round, and among those 28, I had secured the highest marks in the written round. The interview panel has a mindset that you are well aware of the basics of electronics, so they directly jumped to the concepts of STA, concepts like setup time, hold time, meta-stability and reason behind setup and hold violation. Then they asked me various methods to avoid meta-stability. The interview was then driven towards the sequential circuit designing and concepts. Questions were mainly related to counters, their design, why synchronous counter is better than asynchronous one and so on. They asked me to write Verilog code for synchronous counter, and then they asked a few questions based on that. Then there were some resume based questions, questions based on projects and internships and about my responsibilities as a vice president of team Robolution. Then they asked me a puzzle. The puzzle was quite simple but their motive was to check the speed with which I was able to solve it. The interview finally ended with some HR questions, one of them being whether I want to go for higher studies or not. This is a tricky question so one needs to answer these questions smartly.
10. What are your future plans? Would you like to go for higher studies?
>> Currently I don’t have any future plans for higher studies. As of now I will try to maintain a good work-life balance and will try to explore new things. So for now I will be inclined more towards my job but I will definitely give a think about it in the coming future.
11. What is your advice to the juniors who want to get placed in the field you’ve chosen?
>> My advice would be, you first need to know in which domain you want to proceed. Well, for IT sector jobs, the major focus remains on the Data Structure and Algorithm portions. Try to learn and implement new algorithms. Websites like Geek for Geeks, Hacker Earth, TopCoder have some great articles that you can read. Once you have gone through the basic algorithms start practicing questions on Leetcode or Interview Bit. The set of coding questions that are asked in interviews is pretty exhaustive, and you don’t have to be a Competitive programmer to crack these interviews (if you enjoy doing CP then its always good). Keep your basic concepts of core Computer Science subjects like Operating Systems and DBMS clear. Oops is often asked in-depth and it may become tricky. MySql queries are also asked often. And for core sector I guess I have already told you about the things you need to know. The most important topics are digital electronics, STA and VLSI. Try writing Verilog codes more often as you can easily forget basic things if you do not practice regularly. And yes, GPA is important but anything above 8.2–8.3 will be good. What really matters is giving your 100% in written test because that will really help you in your selection. Try to score as much as you can in written test and be thorough with basics and you will surely get selected.
12. Apart from a good CGPA, what are the other skills required in cracking the interviews of core companies?
>> I guess the most important thing is confidence. You need to answer the questions confidently yet calmly. You should not rush with your answers and try to bend the questions to the topics you know well. You should be thorough with your resume. Don’t put anything in your resume which you are not confident of. If you have done two-three good projects in VLSI domain, then that’s a bonus for sure because then most of the questions will be related to your projects only. Also try to solve puzzles because these are also asked at the last of an interview.