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Is the VLSI field oversaturated?

  1. May 7, 2007 #1
    I am trying to decide on my area specialization for graduate school. I really like VLSI design. However, I get the feeling that because VLSI jobs are not common in the defense industry, the field is very saturated with people who don't have other options for EE work in the US (non-US citizens).

    For that reason, I am considering another area of specialization that is more useful across the entire EE industry spectrum. Control systems or signal processing, for example. I am definitely going to pair some VLSI courses with these topics, but I would not be going fully towards VLSI. Therefore, I would be able to apply for a larger range of jobs.

    Does anyone in the industry have any opinions? I could be really off target (I hope so), so please let me know.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2007 #2
    Are you interested in communication systems? That's the hot EE field right now, according to IEEE.
  4. May 8, 2007 #3
    Well, I've taken two communications classes, and I did enjoy them. One of them was a digital comm class and I actually liked it a lot. Viterbi algorithm, trellis codes, etc. were all pretty interesting. That's one possible route - to combine communications and VLSI classes. I'm more of a circuits/electronics person, so if I'm going the comm. route, I'd like to design wireless chips. I was thinking about taking a low power design for wireless circuits course.

    I'm happy I took a huge amount of EE electives during undergrad so I'm able to make an informed decision before I just jump into a field, but the problem is I don't want to choose just one. One week I'm interested in one area, and the next week I'm interested in something else. It's all very interesting, but it's hard to say what I want to specialize in.

    Have you decided what you're going to do?
  5. May 8, 2007 #4
    device physics/physical electronics. I will be starting graduate school (PhD) in fall '08 studying physics or possibly electrical engineering, but either way it will be in the device physics field. I'm not sure which degree will better suit me for that field. Either one would work, I would think.
  6. May 8, 2007 #5
    There were generally two subjects I really became obsessed with in my double major in EE and physics.....they were fields and solid state devices.
  7. May 8, 2007 #6


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    It's true that purely digital designers are seen as being rather easy to find. In my opinion, signal processing (both analog and digital) is an excellent field, since it's applicable almost everywhere. You'll never have a hard time finding a way to apply your skill set. This is true now, and will continue to be true for the forseeable future.

    - Warren
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