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Chances of working at Intel?

  1. Jan 7, 2006 #1
    Hello all. My dream job is to work at Intel as an Integrated Circuit Engineer.
    I am only in my first year of school. What would you guys recomend that I do in order to increase my chances of attaining this dream job? What are the chances that someone who does pretty good at a public university go on to work for Intel?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    Why is working for Intel your dream job? They are notorious for treating their employees badly. There are hundreds of other companies literally miles away who offer the same sort of positions, yet treat their employees like human beings. I have several friends who work for Intel, and they agree that working for Intel is only a few steps behind being in prison.

    If you want to do microarchitecture, the obvious path is to get your undergraduate degree in computer or electrical engineering. In your senior years, focus on process-oriented classes like VLSI design, microarchitecture, and semiconductor device physics. Then, do a master's in EE, concentrating again on microarchitecture.

    Intel is not the space program. It's not hard to get a job there. Your performance in school is secondary, of course, to your ability to actually do the tasks they need to have done -- just like any other company. If they have a position open, and you get your resume to the right managers, and you're qualified for it, you'll get the job.

    - Warren
     
  4. Jan 7, 2006 #3
    I did not know people say that Intel is a bad company to work for. Well I wouldn't mind working for any company where I would have a job like that as long as the pay is good. What are the chances of getting a job like that with just a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering with the Computer Engineering Empasis? I do not think I will be able to afford to get my masters degree until I work for about 5 years in the industry after graduation.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #4

    chroot

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    You won't be able to start as an IC designer with only a bachelor's degree, because you simply won't have anywhere near the required practical skill, but you can work your way up to such a position with 5-10 years of experience.

    If you go on to get a master's, you will likely be able to start in a design position, or move into one with only 1-2 years of experience.

    (BTW, I am a senior IC designer for a mixed-signal company called Intersil, and began my career as an applications engineer. I'd be happy to answer any questions about my profession, or the industry, or Silicon Valley, you might have.)

    - Warren
     
  6. Jan 7, 2006 #5
    Very cool. I have a few questions.
    1 - What did you major in?
    2 - What was your GPA in undergraduate school?
    3 - Did you go to graduate school?
    4 - Is a PhD pretty important for someon going into the IC design field, or would a Masters suffice?
    5 - How long have you worked as an IC Designer?
    6 - Do you like what you do?
    7 - What is your average day like?

    I am really sorry if that is too many questions. Feel free to not answer any of them if you don't feel like it. I just get so excited when I meet someone that has the type of job that I dream of having.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2006 #6

    chroot

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    1. Computer engineering, with minors in astrophysics and math.

    2. 3.36 / 4.0

    3. I'm currently working towards my MSEE at Stanford, but I was promoted to designer before beginning the degree.

    4. A PhD is not important at all for most industry; in fact, it can sometimes be a hindrance because companies expect that PhD will demand a higher salary than someone else equally competent to do the job. A bachelor's plus about 5-10 years of experience will prepare you for a design position; a master's (with perhaps a few additional years of experience) will put you in about the same boat. Don't bother with the PhD unless a) you absolutely love your research or b) you want to teach at presitigious universities.

    5. I've been a designer for about a year. I worked as an applications engineer for about 5 years before transferring to design. Apps engineers effectively deal with the use of an IC: how it fits into customers' designs, how to make it perform best, etc. I was promoted to design mostly by merit of my strong experience in digital design (FPGAs) and software-engineering methodology.

    6. I love what I do! I get paid well simply to think about interesting problems all day. I'm paid well simply to know things, and I love learning. I'm a highly-valued asset to my company, and get a lot of perks. I should say that I intended on becoming a designer from the beginning of my career, and it took about 5 years to achieve it.

    7. Well, let's see... my average day is probably pretty weird, compared to most people's, but I'll describe it. On an average day, I get up at 8 am and am out the door on my racing bicycle by 8:30 am to get some exercise on the way to work -- about 17 miles each way plus a train ride. I get to work at around 10:30 am, park my bike in my cube, and dig into whatever I'm doing that day.

    We have a number of different design teams, each under a different manager. Each team is roughly 7-10 people. I generally have one major project (chip) to work on at a time, though I will sometimes get tossed for a few days around to help out with other teams that are behind and need assistance.

    Some days I'm working on Python programs to automate our verification regressions. Some days I'm working on actual digital logic that will go into a chip -- I tend to put the headphones on and disappear into my own world when I have some difficult design problems to solve. Keep in mind that a designer's job is really only about 20% designing -- the rest is verification. Some days I'm working on verification scripts or testbenches. Some days I'm trying to figure out how some tool works, or how to fit that tool into our design flow.

    Some days I have to attend long meetings where coworkers critique each others' work -- these sometimes take almost the whole day! We end up ordering pizza or take-out, and we're a jovial bunch, so it isn't as painful as it sounds.

    Some days I start simulations (which can take hours or days to run) and then head up into the hills on my bike for an afternoon ride with a couple of buddies from work. We'll stop for tacos and beer on the way back. Or I'll go to the bookstore for a while, or go work out in the gym, and come back when I expect the simulation to be done.

    Here's the downside to the job: tape-out. Designs often have a drop-dead date, at which time they have to be done to get on a manufacturing run. If they're even a single day late for the start of the manufacturing cycle, they end up being pushed back 6 weeks or more, which can be absolutely disastrous to the financial planning on a project (and we're talking tens of millions of dollars). As a result, designers often end up putting in lots of long hours near tape-out. This doesn't necessarily mean being physically present; I can do most of my work remotely, from home. It's not uncommon for me to check simulation results several times a night during these times. It's mostly a very relaxed-pace job, but has occassional bursts of madness around tape-out.

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2006
  8. Jan 7, 2006 #7
    Dear Warren,

    I am at the begining of my Electrical/Computer Engineering Program in Canada. Still undecided is it going to be EE or CE?
    I have never been in California , actually never visited Amerika and would not mind spending my summer of 2007 working with your Company.

    Since I am a young female student and since American companies are notorious ( at least that is what I heard in Europe about Amerika) towards women in engineering I really need summer job related to my field before I graduate.


    ***** In 2007 I will be completing my second year in EE.

    Any suggestion is more than welcome.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #8
    Your job sounds amazing. That is exactly what I want to do.
    How long did it take you to get your bachelors degree?
     
  10. Jan 7, 2006 #9

    chroot

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    Nothing000,

    3 1/2 years for my undergrad.

    - Warren
     
  11. Jan 7, 2006 #10
    How the heck did you get you bachelors in CE with two minors in 3.5 years?! I plan it taking 4.5 years for me to Major in EE with two minors. And I have to go to school full time every summer. How the heck did you do that?
     
  12. Jan 7, 2006 #11

    chroot

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    I started my undergraduate degree with over an entire year's worth of credits from high school programs (IB and AP). I was lucky enough to live near a high school which offered the IB curriculum. Don't take -too- many classes, or you'll burn yourself out. Also, take the time to enjoy all the great things that campus life offers -- clubs, sports, etc. -- as they really make the college experience special.

    edit: In fact, I now regard having finished school so quickly as a mistake! I should have spread it out a little more and stayed for another year. There's no point in rushing through it. Take time to enjoy it!

    - Warren
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2006
  13. Jan 7, 2006 #12
    I have several friends who joined an Intel apprenticeship program of some sort when they entered undergraduate school. They work each summer for very good pay ($18/hour) and as I understand it have guarenteed jobs when they get out. You might want to look into that.
     
  14. Jan 7, 2006 #13
    the HA-5002 rocks (as headphone output buffer :p ), keep up the good work!
     
  15. Jan 7, 2006 #14
    chroot, what would it take for someone to get a job like yours with their undergrad in physics?
     
  16. Jan 8, 2006 #15

    chroot

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    cscott,

    It'd take a hell of a lot of practical engineering experience, as there's almost nothing at all common in the skill set of an IC designer and a physicst. As a physicist, you'd be more suited for advancing IC manufacturing processes.

    - Warren
     
  17. Jan 8, 2006 #16
    chroot,
    What math classes did you take for your minor? Did it make a difference when you applied to graduate school or when you went on a job interview? Did your prospective employers even check what extra classes you took?

    I'm a junior EE major with 3 semesters left, and I'm using my electives to take extra math classes. So far I've decided on Linear Algebra, Complex Variables, and Advanced Probability. I've also decided to take extra Signal Processing classes, as that is the field I want to go in to.

    I'm like 99% sure I want to go right to grad school after I finish, but incase I decide not to, will extra classes look go to an employer?
     
  18. Jan 8, 2006 #17

    chroot

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    Between the computer engineering major and astrophysics minor, my math minor was almost automatic. The only additional class I had to take was proofs.
    Doubtful.
    Nope. My resume says I have the minors, but few, if any employers actually check your transcript or anything.
    They probably won't care about the specific classes, but it never hurts to demonstrate that your knowledge is well-rounded.

    - Warren
     
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