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Engineering Importance of IC design/SemiConductor Physics in EE

  1. Dec 7, 2016 #1
    Hello, I was wondering how important is knowledge of CMOS IC design and Semiconductor physics for EE if you're not interested in working in that area?

    In particular, I am focusing on signal processing, control with some RF/Electromagnetics courses.

    My interest isn't in IC design and so I am thinking about not taking any classes in this area, will I be hurting myself career wise? Is IC design usually part of what people in my specialization do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2016 #2
    It's useful, but almost zero people in IC design will design at the gate level. If you are an IC designer you work with verilog / VHDL or whatever and that's compiled down to a gate library. Gate libraries are very specialized and bound to the process the IC will be manufactured on.

    If you want to design at the gate level then sure, but that's a very small field. Very cool stuff and I enjoyed learning it, I played with MAGIC and layout tools for some simple designs but that's not how it's done today.
  4. Dec 11, 2016 #3


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    What Guy says is true for digital design to a point but ever competent Verilog or VHDL coder will understand gate-level design quite well, but how you code a function has a big impact on how the synthesizer implements it.

    However, EE is a broad field. If you don't intend to work on signal processing ASICs, it probably won't hurt you to not delve too deep into it. It would be good for your general education to at least be familiar with how digital electronics work in broad strokes.
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