Saturday, April 27, 2013

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Interview with Firmware Engineer Phanindra who works at Qualcomm, USA

Are you a Graduate in Electronics Engineering, interested in programming , then you may be interested to be in a career like Firmware Engineer, Today we want to introduce K.S.M. Phanindra who is working with Qualcomm which makes Processors which are used in the most Popular Samsung Galaxy High end phones want to know ifs and buts of  being a Firmware Engineer , You may go through a interview, Career Teacher Had With  Phanindra 

Phanindra K.S.M  is working as a Firmware Engineer  for Qualcomm, San Deigo, USA. He has completed his M.Tech in Digital Signal Processing, He has attended IIT, Madras and he is working since last 8 years 
CT: Tell Us About You?
KSM:My name is Phanindra and I work at Qualcomm, San Diego, USA. I did my B.Tech in Electronics and Communications and M.Tech in Digitial Signal Processing (DSP).

CT: About Your Profession (Firm ware Engineer) in Few Lines
KSM: I work as a Firmware Engineer. Firmware here refers to low level SW code. Examples include code written in DSP, code written to program HW or driver code. You basically need a solid understanding of C/C++, RTOS concepts, some system level knowledge (what are the interfaces used, memory types etc) in this kind of job.

Engineering students from Computer Science/Electronics background who took some courses in basic computer architecture, C programming etc are a good fit.My experience is mostly in Qualcomm, which is a multi-national, tele-communications company. But firmware engineers are found in many other domains other than telecommunications too.

CT:  On a scale of 1-5, how do you rate the following
1. Career Growth - 4
2. Job Nature - 4
3. Job Satisfaction - 4
4. Challenge - 4
5. Respect and Fame -5

CT: Tell us about working hours of a Firm ware Engineer?
KSM: Firmware engineers are typically loaded with work. Working hours vary from company to company but you will definitely have work to do and can't just sit idle at work. You can expect regular 8 hour work on most days but some times you have to work for 10-12 hours per day.

CT: Things you like about Being a Firm ware Engineer
KSM: I like the fact that what I learnt in my B.Tech & M.Tech are relevant to the work I do. Firmware is basically programming but it is more than just learning a language like C/Java. You need to understand the system, the HW etc and so there is a lot of scope for learning.

CT: Things you don't like about being a Firm ware Engineer
KSM: Sometimes I feel it is too low-level programming for my taste. But most of the time, I like what I do.

CT: Work Location and Job Availability in Different Countries?
KSM : This is a good field and typically we need people with solid engineering background, not just someone who did a programming course. So there is very good demand for competent people. There are ample opportunities both in India and abroad.

CT: Do you engage yourself in job related work even after working hours ?
KSM: No, after working hours, I don’t generally do any work related to my job. It is rare for me to work from home. I often stay late in the office, if I have work to finish.

CT: Please explain us typically,how career graph of a Firmware Engineer?
It varies from company to company but you will start as an "Engineer". You may became a lead/manager is 5-6 years. The career path is completely technical and you may become a "Director"/"Principal Engineer" in 12-15 years. 

The technical expertise gained will be useful and you can switch to other domains like SW, system engineering, test or even to project management. If you obtain some MBA degree, you can even switch to marketing field in a technical company where your past technical experience will be quite useful.

CT: Skills or qualities required to become a Firmware Engineer?
KSM: To enter this field, you must be good in programming language concepts and must have sound knowledge of C/C++. Operating Systems concepts (esp RTOS) and computer architecture awareness is a must. It is a plus if you have some experience in programming Digital Signal Processors.

CT:Your suggestion to aspirants,who want to be a Firmware Engineer?
KSM: Try to get your basics right. Be inquisitive and grasp the concepts, don't just by-heart stuff. Be good at programming in at least one language.  

CT:How to become a Firmware Engineer ?
KSM: You must have an engineering degree. B.Tech is mostly sufficient but M.Tech/M.S degree gives some edge. Most candidates come from Electronics and Communications and Computer Science Engineering backgrounds.

CT: Name 5 top companies who Offers jobs for Firmware Engineer  ?
KSM: Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Intel, Broadcomm

Career Teacher Thanks Mr.K.S.M. Phanindra for his valuable time and Suggestions