Fresher VLSI/ASIC/FPGA Design/Verification Interview Tips
You saw an ad for an Intern or a New college Graduate and sent your CV. Here are some tips from your interviewer.
What is a new college graduate?
Your interviewer can potentially get a few hundred CV's from candidates who had worked for 2+ years in the industry. If he is recruiting freshers, then he knows that some amount of post recruitment training will be involved.
His minimum expectations are as follows:
- The candidate knows the related academic subjects.
- The candidate is 'trainable'
- The candidate will be cheaper than someone with 2+ years of experience.
- The candidate will not jump ship in a few months because "dream job"
So ... ## Be on time Your interviewer has cleared a slot in his schedule for this interview. He most probably has other meetings scheduled after your interviews. Be on time.
If you cannot make it ask to reschedule.
If there are practical difficulties explain and ask for a reschedule. This is risky because there are 10 other interviews already scheduled for the same job. And a rescheduled interview goes back to the end of the queue.
Test your equipment.
If it is a telephonic call or a video call.
- Setup a mock call with a friend using the same tools and video conferencing applications to ensure that everything is working properly.
- Find a quite space with good network for the interview.
- Ensure your phone and laptop are fully charged. Do not spend 15 minutes of the interview in "Can you hear me now?"
Read the job description.
- If the job is for digital design, Know your gates. Know truth tables, Know how to optimise circuits.
- Almost all VLSI jobs are coding heavy jobs. If coding is not your strong point. Do Not Apply!
Check your CV.
Do you have 5 projects and an external course/workshop in Java/HTML/CSS etc and not even one word about Verilog/VHDL?
Your CV Shows your interest. Do you really want a job which is not aligned to your interest?
Show your interest.
- Do an internship even an unpaid one in a related company.
- If Micro-electronics was not a part of your coursework, there are free lectures on coursera and youtube. Listen to them.
- There are innumerable opensource projects in the field. contribute to them.
If the interviewer has given you a problem to solve, In most cases he is not really interested in the solution. He is interested in how you approach it. He is interested in what you observed. If he thinks you are on the right path he will not wait for the answer. he will move to the next question.
If on the other hand you go in a silence mode and start scribbling on your notepad etc. The interviewer learns nothing about your thought process. And maybe you spent most of the time alloted for the interview on a question that the interview really did not care about.
Never say: I do not have the required skills, but if given a chance I will prove myself.
- Decades ago you were given a chance that was denied to millions. You got parents who had the capacity to fund your education.
- A few years back you had another chance, you got into engineering college.
- Irrespective of the quality of your college. Internet, coursera etc. gave you a third chance. To learn from the best in the world.
Your parents spent millions and gave you infinite chances to bring you to the interview table. Why do you expect a random stranger to spend another few lakhs to give you a chance. when a better candidate is waiting outside the interview room?
If someone is hiring freshers, then the only skills they are evaluating you on is, your academic subjects. If you did not learn what your were supposed to learn in 4 years then what were you doing with that chance?
- I do not expect you to be rocket scientist, But I do expect you to know what you have written on your CV.
- If I have asked for Strong Digital/Analog fundamentals.
- Read your course books,
- You should be able to identify basic gates, muxes, flops etc.
- You should be able to analyse circuits, optimise them and predict their output.
- If you have specified some course (UVM, Backend, etc.) in your CV. Then expect detailed questions on those.
- If you have a PG degree in microelectronics, be prepared to discuss CMOS device characteristics.
- If you know programming language, be prepared to read and write code during the interview.
- If Programming, Digital Electronics etc. are not your strong point, then do not apply.
- Presentation is everything. Be on time, Be ready, communicate.