What is your experience in SVCE as a student?
When I joined SVCE, it was ranked the #1 self-financing college just after Anna University. My experience involves multiple facets, one main aspect of it is the peers I got the opportunity to rub shoulders with – they were exceptional. Clearly pursuing their goals, with strong ties to the best of best universities abroad, SVCE-ians had carved a special name then (and even now, when I trace back several of my seniors/peers they are doing exceptional. The ambiance SVCE provided was very supportive and we had a healthy competition among us, from publishing papers to some of them even part-timing with start-ups back then. My aspirations for a Masters/Ph.D. in the US emerged clearly from this ambiance.
Can you list your education and area of specialization?
- B.E - Electronics and Communication Engineering (SVCE’03)
- M.S. – Low Power FSM/Reconfigurable computing (University of Cincinnati’05)
- Ph.D. – On-Chip Networks Power and Performance (University of Cincinnati’08)
What is your area of interest?
I’m a passionate technologist and still very much buried deep into the HW/SW facets of chip design. At present, I am a Hardware Architect specializing in power/security and working for Qualcomm, Chennai.
What are all the difficulties that you faced as a student to get to P.hD.?
The curriculum in our engineer syllabus has a lot of theory, but there is no orientation towards promoting an in-depth understanding of the subject in terms of labs, interactions, and assignments to gauge our real understanding of the subject. The curriculum in college is more in the lines of superficial qualitative treatment of the subject whereas the multi-dimensional approach to the subject in Ph.D. which is the true enabler of in-depth understanding of the subject can be taxing as it requires multiple skills to traverse the curriculum.
Coupled with that requirement is the necessity of enrolling for multiple courses to be completed within a short span of time, typically 3 to 6 months based on the system that is followed in the university, and the high degree of difficulty intentionally built into clearing the exams to qualify as an expert which makes it all the more difficult.
Finally, there is a mental block or a fear that how to innovate something which not already in existence in the subject as Ph.D. is all about a unique contribution to the subject in the study.
To overcome the above difficulty is to be confident and unique. Each mind thinks unique, so collectively it may be different but there is always the individual perspective which is appreciated by the research community once care has been taken to avoid plagiarism of any degree and there is a genuine effort to present a unique perspective on the subject.
What is the current trending technology and what do they expect from students sitting for placements?
One of the trending technology in demand is Artificial Intelligence which is a blanket around every other innovation now.
AI is getting appended to all the pre-existing technology like compiler design, architectures, database, computer vision, robotics and even statistically feasible math modules.
The programming toolkits for the AI is also getting bigger each day with python and other open source modules and the bigger companies like Google, Amazon, etc. are mining for students with this skillset.
Industries expectation is also along this route, where they expect students to be eager and interested in all the trends, They expect some hard work on these concepts which involves learning the languages that support the trend.
Coming back to placements, It is kind of unique for everybody. But the first step is always to understand the different categories in which people are getting hired.
Ideally, you need a good understanding of your interest and skillset which matches the company’s domain of requirement.
So the questions to be asked to yourself is, what is the background of the company and how can you pitch your skills sharply?
Mainly, you need proof of your talent, which can be expressed with GitHub account, Hackathons, and LinkedIn, This is one way of manifesting your creativity to the industries and to give them a content to evaluate you.
Do you have any tips for aspiring engineers?
You guys are smart. The playing field has leveled incredibly now. With a dream and passion for what you like, even the sky cannot be a limit! Be it higher education at an excellent university, or a joining the core team in a start-up, options are galore. Pursue the uniqueness in you, be it a decision for MS (with reasonably financial backing) or opting for placements while the financial tide settles a bit. Also, what you do immediately after graduation holds NO large significance to career or lifetime opportunities. Typically “the best thing do after graduation” have mythical pressure created around it often draining you emotionally. Always keep the focus on what you are individually good at.
There will be some particular domain that each student dreamt before starting the course, With due time the increased syllabus and added subjects this dream gets buried deeply under the volume and variety of courses curriculum throws at us.
One key to keeping this dream alive is working towards it from day 1 in a small incremental step. All you need to do is to work on the concept and have a goal, Even getting output for a small segment of code or completing smaller aspect of the dream will bring immense motivation which will lead to a full-blown successful project someday which will define You.
Do you any regrets regarding the field?
Nothing particular about SVCE, but, I was never really excited about the syllabus. The curriculum itself was stale and uncorrelated. I majored in ECE, and churned labs after labs/theory, not grasping the first principles behind Engineering. The simplicity of science was buried amidst a lot of meaningless churns. Theory and practice never blended. I clearly knew then that the industry’s expectation will have no correlation with the skills and knowledge I was gaining, further fostering my pursuit for higher education :)
But right now, I can see visible improvements in curriculum and involvement of students hands-on-events such as hackathons, makers challenges and internships across institutes.
May we know something about your current employment and achievements?
I Enjoy working on cutting-edge architectures based of Intel core/Atom SoCs (In US and India) and Snapdragon-based processors, and WiFi/Connectivity chips in Qualcomm, Chennai.