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Fresher jobs in VLSI Design & Verification - career advice from industry experts


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Latest article appeared on EFY magazine, Feb 2014 issue:

Electronic Design Verification and Validation: Excellent Opportunities - EFY Feb 2014 article.

Published in: Career, Technology, Design
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Fresher jobs in VLSI Design & Verification - career advice from industry experts

  1. 1. Career Electronic Design Verification and Validation: Excellent Opportunities Here, we discuss the scope of a career in this domain, entry-level roles, skills expected and the pay packages, with advice from industry experts Abhishek Mutha S ometimes used interchangeably, verification and validation ensure that the system being created will meet the requirements of the customer. When the specifications are validated and the system is verified against the specifications, the concluding system fulfills its purpose. Sounds simple, right? But it is pretty challenging and demanding being a verification and validation engineer. “The purpose of verification and validation is to ensure ‘first time right silicon’ or few silicon revisions, as revisions are costly in terms of money, effort and time. To ensure correct functionality, designs need to be validated across various parameters, which involves different types of analysis,” says Deep Masiwal, CEO, Adroit IC Design. From ensuring ‘does this thing work right’ (verification) aspect to ‘you built the right thing’ (validation), these engineers ensure designs meet requirements and experience the pain of product reworks, pressure of meeting deadlines for the products to be released as per customers’ demands, ensure the verification and validation processes are effective, avoid additonal expenses and delays, ensure product quality and reduce prototyping costs. 23% 37% 21% IT Software Automobile IT Hardware 150 February 2014 | Electronics For You 5% Healthcare/Biotechnology Banking/Finance/Insurance Others Fig. 1: Top five industries hiring verification/ validation professionals (Data courtesy: 19% 32% 9% 15% 12% 13% Bangalore Delhi NCR Pune Hyderabad Mumbai Others Fig. 2: Top five locations with verification/ validation jobs (Data courtesy: 8% 3% 4% 45% 7% 33% IT/Telecom Biotechnology/ Pharmaceutical/ Scientist Banks/Insurance/ Financial Services Engineering Analytics and Business Intelligence Others Fig. 3: Top five functional areas hiring verification/ validation professionals (Data courtesy: 1% 3% Scope There is an excellent scope and opportunity in the field of verification and validation believes Rahul Malvi, CEO, Wafer Space. Talking about verification, he says, “Verification occupies the largest portion of the design cycle and, with the size of designs today, it gets more 6% 8% 17% 79% Up to ` 5 Lakhs (Freshers) ` 10 to 15 Lakhs ` 5 to 10 Lakhs Over ` 15 Lakhs Fig. 4: Salary break-up for verification/validation professionals (Data courtesy: and more complex and critical to the success of the semiconductor vendor.” On a similar note, Srinivas Mandavilli, country manager, Imagination Technologies India believes that SoC designs are only to get larger and more complex. He says, “In many cases, verification consumes more than 70 per cent of the total design effort. Opportunities in verification and validation are going to increase over the next few years and get more specialised.” Masiwal says, “The total percentage of verification and validation projects carried out in India is 50-60 per cent, which is a pretty big number and highlights its significance in the industry. One can make a very good career in this field.” “A person who gets into verification and validation has a holistic view of the design at a very early stage of his/her career, and this opens up a wide career path. With this exposure, the person has an option to switch to design phase to become a very good systems architect who understands full systems perspective from functional to error scenarios, which can be taken care in the early design,” says D. Srinivasan, managing director, Mobiveil. It is fundamental to appreciate this fact that, in general, the number of designs that start from scratch has been on a decline for a few years now, across this industry, believes Srinivasan Venkataramanan, chief technology officer, CVC Pvt Ltd. He says, “It is not a bad scene but rather a reflection of market which demands more and more integrated devices such as smartphones and chipsets, and ever-shrinking time-to-market schedules. Hence the term ‘designers’ in modern day refers to a wide spectrum of engineers in verification/validation domain such as
  2. 2. Career system integrators, RTL block owners, modifiers, verification environment designers, etc as each one of them do look at some key aspects of the design.” Entry-level opportunities Masiwal informs that for freshers, the opportunities are in two areas, namely, ASIC functional verification and memory IO, and analogue IP validations/characterisation/layout. He says, “The fresher is a part of a team consisting of seniors and is expected to understand the design, validate and simulate the design, run functional checks and ramp up fast. Our company expects fresh graduates to have good knowledge of analogue and digital design fundamentals.” Whether there are opportunities for senior, junior or fresher, one needs to appreciate the market demands to chalk out their career path in any domain, believes Ajeetha Kumari, chief executive officer, CVC Pvt Ltd. Coming to this specific domain, she says, “Typically freshers are seen as out-of-the-box thinkers, smart engineers with innovative mindsets and zeal to learn new skills, and they are also realised as part of the ‘market segment’ as they are one of the biggest consumers and market drivers for many of these hardware devices being designed/developed.” With verification dominating the ASIC design project cycles, she further adds, “The term ‘verification engineers’ gets often further classified to verification environment developers, verification owners/execution engineers, regression owners and coverage closure engineers, coverage model developers and assertion developers, formal verification engineers. However, there is also a steady intake of FPGA RTL designers.” Talking about the entry-level roles for freshers, Paramita Kapat, head HR, eInfochips shares, “Entry-level roles and responsibilities, in the services companies who provide their verification services to product companies, will include—maintaining the regression suite, running the regression and reporting the results to the team, owning some small block verification, writing test cases and debugging the failures, etc.” Demand areas Talking about the top functional areas and geographical locations, Vivek Madhukar, COO, TBSL, which operates explained, “Validation and verification is also known as quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) in industry parlance. QA/QC jobs are highly specialised in nature and are expected to be in demand in the near future, as they form an integral function in all sectors employing high-end electronic equipment. It is therefore quite evident that the IT, telecom, engineering and biotech sectors appear to be the biggest recruiters of these professionals. In terms of locations, the four major metros— Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai—account for most of the demand.” According to the data provided by, the major share of the jobs available are in functional areas such as IT/telecom, which constitues about 45 per cent, and engineering is about 33 per cent. The remaining are scattered amongst other areas such as healthcare/biotechnology, banks, etc. The top industries hiring verification and validation engineers are, of course, the IT software industry with about 37 per cent share of jobs followed by the healthcare/biotech industry with a share of 21 per cent. Automobile, banking/financial services and IT hardware industries offer 8 per cent, 6 per cent and 5 per cent of the jobs, respectively. Remaining 13 per cent of the jobs are scattered amongst different sectors. Apart from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi that feature in the list of top locations for verification and validation jobs with 32 per cent, 15 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, Mumbai and Pune are emerging cities with 12 per cent and 9 per cent of the jobs, respectively. Right Hand Side page reserve for Ad Pay package As found on, the average salary for a design verification engineer is ` 711,635 per year. People in this job generally do not have more than 10 years’ experience. A skill in Perl is associated with high pay for this job. A validation engineer earns an average salary of ` 416,412 per year. Electronics For You | February 2014 151
  3. 3. Career 160K 310K 2M 840K MEDIAN: ` 416,411 10% 25% 75% National Salary Data (?) Salary `0 ` 700K ` 1.4M ` 2.1M ` 160,585 – ` 1,676,721 Bonus 90% ` 0.00 – ` 400,000 Total Pay (?) ` 160,585 – ` 1,828,197 Country: India | Currency: INR | Updated: 23 Dec 2013 | Individuals Reporting: 73 290K 480K 710K 1M 2M MEDIAN: ` 711,634 10% 25% 50% 75% 90% + City National Salary Data (?) Salary ` 0.00 – ` 295,898 Total Pay (?) ` 1.4M ` 0.00 – ` 171,978 Profit Sharing ` 700K ` 293,725 – ` 1,764,862 Bonus `0 ` 307,024 – ` 1,884,587 Country: India | Currency: INR | Updated: 23 Dec 2013 | Individuals Reporting: 178 Fig. 5: Salary range for validation and verification engineering professionals (Data courtesy: ` 2.1M Usually, for beginners in this field, the pay package is up to ` 500,000 annually with 79 per cent jobs available for this salary range. Juniors get anywhere between a half to one million rupees, mid-level experts draw something between one and 1.5 million and the seniors are paid anything above 1.5 million as per TimesJobs’ statistics. Talking about CVC, Venkataramanan, shares, “Our company is a VLSI ecosystem company—one that enables a vibrant VLSI ecosystem through our innovative approach to incubating rolebased engineers, both freshers and the experienced alike. Hence we enable lot of freshers (approximately 150-200 engineers per year) to enter this domain. “We also enable high-end EDA technology deployment in India (for US-based EDA start-ups) and hence we require workforce that we typically hire from freshers lot. The pay package starts around ` 2,40,000 per annum but big product companies pay as high as one million per annum, though they hire mostly from IITs, NITs, etc. However, it is very important to realise the steep jump in the pay package in this domain (against the likes of SW siblings). Typically, after 1-2 years experience, our own CVC employees get hired for salaries as high as ` 6,00,000 per annum.” eInfochips too recruits freshers for this domain offering a pay package of anything between 2,00,000 and 3,00,000 rupees per annum. Talking about Adroit IC Design, Masiwal says, “Our company is very selective in hiring freshers and we prefer candidates to have prior internship experience of at least six months. Fresh graduates’ pay package varies from ` 4,00,000 to 6,00,000 per annum. Based on type of Expert advice “A fresher should have undergone course work and lab exercises in digital design and VLSI design. Hands-on projects would be a big plus. Experienced engineers should have worked in the verification/validation area and gained in-depth knowledge on one or more specialisations— UVM/OVM methodologies, processor-based verification, FPGA validation, emulation and formal verification.Verification/validation has become a large collection of evolving techniques and approaches. Keeping up-to-date on the state-of-the-art techniques is important.” —Srinivas Mandavilli, country manager, Imagination Technologies “Develop passion towards the field, not just look for an IT job. Money will follow you if you follow your dream. As a young boy, I used to experiment EFY circuits back when I was at school (1980’s, 90’s) and had been an avid follower of this wonderful magazine since then. Now I have passed on that tradition to my sons. The point I am trying to make is—follow your dreams. Enter this field only if you are passionate about electronics, and rest assured, you will cherish it for your life.” —Srinivasan Venkataramanan, chief technology officer, CVC Pvt Ltd “We look for strong logical thinking and problem-solving ability and very good programming ability in potential employees. Additonally, for a fresher we look for good digital logic basics and a good understanding of computer architecture. For an experienced grad, we look for past projects, their contribution to the projects and their understanding of the projects. If you do not have programming experience, you should spend the time and effort and take some classes and learn how to program.” —Rahul Malvi, CEO, Wafer Space “Strong electronic fundamentals, semiconductor physics and software skills such as C, C++, OOP etc are becoming key , differentiators in verification job roles. For synthesis and FPGA 152 February 2014 | Electronics For You roles, exposure to FPGAs helps. In terms of programming/modelling languages, HDLs such as Verilog, VHDL and HDVL such as SystemVerilog, assertion languages such as IEEE 1850 PSL, SVA are inevitable. A targeted skill for specific companies using Specman/E can be verification-specialised language such as IEEE 1647-E language. At CVC, we offer free internships for qualified students through our BUDS program.” —Ajeetha Kumari, cheif executive officer, CVC Pvt Ltd “As engineers, we are taught to create things. But to be a good verification engineer, you should also develop an approach to break things. Out-of-the-box thinking approach is needed. More focus should be put on learning hardware design languages such as Verilog and VHDL, digital electronics fundamentals, microprocessor and microcontroller fundamentals and programming, C++ programing skills, analytical skills and logical reasoning whilst in college.” —Paramita Kapat, head HR, eInfochips “For freshers who want to join this field, my suggestion is they should focus on digital and analogue design basics, programming languages such as Verilog/C, LINUX OS and hands-on experience in a few EDA tools. These are needed because companies are very selective in hiring fresh graduates and want them to be productive as soon they join the company.” —Deep Masiwal, CEO, Adroit IC Design “For becoming a verification engineer, a student should develop a solid understanding of a digital design logic works functionally. Fresh graduates are selected through our own mechanism of identifying the logical-thinking people based on the theoretical knowledge that they gain, and follow it with an interview to find out their understanding and knowledge in HDL language skills such as Verilog or System Verilog.” —D. Srinivasan, managing director, Mobiveil
  4. 4. Career Contributors to this story Ajeetha Kumari cheif executive officer, CVC Pvt Ltd Rahul Malvi CEO, Wafer Space Deep Masiwal CEO, Adroit IC Design D. Srinivasan managing director, Mobiveil Ravinder Gujral Srinivas Mandavilli director, Dexcel Electronics country manager, Imagination Designs Pvt Ltd Technologies India degree and experience, professionals’ pay package is a mix of fixed salary (` 6,00,000 to 20,00,000 per annum), company shares, Paramita Kapat head HR, eInfochips Srinivasan Venkataramanan chief technology officer, CVC Pvt Ltd and performance bonuses.” On a similar note, Ravinder Gujral, director, Dexcel Electronics Designs Pvt Ltd shares, “We always look out for bright engineers in the area like FPGA/ASIC design and verification along with board design and embedded software. The salary range for verification and validation engineers usually depends on their technical aptitude and experience. Engineers with around 2-3 years of experience typically get salary around 5,00,000 to 7,00,000 rupees per annum.” It is not just programming Ensuring that designs meet requirements could be a challenging task, but a career in this field has its own rewards and perks. VLSI/semiconductor domain has been a vibrant, albeit small field (relative to its software sibling) since last 15+ years in India, believes Ajeetha Kumari. She says, “It is driven by passionate electronics engineers than by just those who seek some quick success.” In brief, this domain requires engineers with deep electronics knowledge and also various other skills in adjacent domains.  The author is a senior technical correspondent at EFY, Bengaluru Right Hand Side page reserve for Ad Electronics For You | February 2014 153