For students aiming for an electronics core company, here is the 5 minute primer. Vaibhav Malhotra, (of ECE ‘11) placed in NVIDIA guides you through the placement preparation and doles out excellent advice on life.
NSITOnline: Please tell about all companies you appeared for and the placement process for the companies.
I sat for Adobe (software profile) for experience’s sake. Subsequently I sat for Texas Instruments which offered a technical sales profile, and NVIDIA offering a Hardware Design Engineer profile. I got placed in NVIDIA.
NSITOnline: What Kind of work would you be doing at NVIDIA?
My profile is that of an ASIC Design Engineer. I am currently working in the Formal Verification team here. My work here basically employs writing algorithmic code (in what is called as System Verilog Assertions) to generate machines that behave as automatic checkers for design. So it’s about understanding the architecture of NVIDIA processors and then writing checkers to formally verify the design.
NSITOnline: What preparations do you advice for various stages of placements?
Frankly, there were not a lot of companies that I sat for, and that too with varied profiles, so I can only suggest stuff from what I did. I didn't prepare anything specific for the TI’s Tech Sales profile. For NVIDIA, I did the following:
· Digital Electronics from Morris Mano (basically all that is covered in the Digital Electronics Course in 4th Semester).
· Digital Electronics -- Sequential Circuits and State Machines from Givone's book
· VHDL -- Brown/Vranesic : Fundamentals of Digital Logic with VHDL Design (revision of stuff done in the 5th semester)
· CMOS Fundamentals -- Few introductory chapters of Digital Integrated Circuits by Jan.M. Rabaey
· Pipelining section and CPI calculations -- Computer Organization and Design by Patterson/Hennessy
It may look like a lot, but it’s very much doable within 4-5 days if your digital electronics and computer organization basics are good. Otherwise two weeks of preparation is sufficient for completing the course.
NSITOnline: How much importance should be associated with academics? Are they the only deciding pointer during the placements?
I can't stress enough about this point. Never ignore academics! I did that mistake in the first semester, but took lessons from it, and did fine thereafter. They are not the only deciding pointer, but they do play a significant role in a lot of places, be it interviews, MBA admissions, MS admissions etc. Simply put, academics in a way are simply a measure of your dedication towards what you are studying.
NSITOnline: What all internships and projects did you do in four years at NSIT? Could you elaborate on the kind of work undertaken in them? Also please mention how you got the internship.
Well, in my 2nd year, I interned at IIT Delhi, Bharti School of Telecom. I worked in the EE department there. I did a project on automatic pitch detection in soundtracks. It was purely a mathematical/algorithmic kind of intern. As for how I got it, I contacted a professor in IIT; he told me I could do an intern in a program under the Bharti School.
In my 3rd year, I did an intern at Nokia Siemens Networks, Gurgaon. I worked in the RF and business division there. My primary work was concerning understanding of certain cellular architectures, and being able to comprehend spec sheets of NSN's Multimedia servers, and based on that do a competitor analysis towards the end. As for this, I contacted someone I knew working in the company, that person referred me; I gave an interview, got through.
NSITOnline: Please advice on how to approach teachers for performing projects under them?
Simple, just go and discuss! Though going without adequate research/knowledge about what is it that you actually want to do is not the right way to go about it. Use the internet to search through varied interests, narrow it down to a few options, and then go and discuss those options with the faculty involved. People who know what they actually want do get a much better return from a project than those who blindly jump into something.
NSITOnline: How would you rate the interaction between seniors and juniors in NSIT? Any advise for the freshers and the juniors?
To be frank: poor, but it could be a lot better! And the level of interaction keeps going down every year. Unless the junior himself/herself is enterprising, it’s hard to find someone to mentor/guide you. As a result your interaction is simply limited to the people whom you met by chance. An advice for the freshers: it’s nice to make friends amongst seniors; if chosen wisely, they will guide you well, help you out, and more importantly they have experience and wisdom to share. Don't just seek them out during fests/events, but maintain interaction on a regular basis. Networking is vital at any point in life. Don't wait for an MBA to teach you its importance.
NSITOnline: Do you wish to change anything in NSIT, any improvements or suggestions?
This question has no finite answer to it. A more appropriate question could be 'what does not need improvement in NSIT'.
NSITOnline: Enlighten me about your best memory in NSIT?
It is impossible to single out a single best memory in NSIT, honestly! From playing drums on my freshers, to breathing a sigh of relief on passing MD, to skipping college because of gaming till 5 am, to eating out (almost each day in the 7th-8th semesters), to laughing in non-laughable classes, and finally the countless hours spent with friends on talking, chilling.
NSITOnline: Please feel free to add any information or experience you feel would help your juniors.
· Do what you think is right. Information resolves uncertainty, so be informed, talk to others, seek advice, but let the final decision/judgement on anything to do with your life come from you.
· Do not be afraid of failing. It is only after we fail, that we truly realize the importance of something.
· Your time will come. Keep persevering. Give each day, your very best shot.
ASIC Design Engineer, nVidia
ECE, Class of 2011, NSIT