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 EDA Careers Corner and News
Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
Mark has been involved in EDA recruiting for over 18 years. He is Founder and President of EDA Careers, but started his career in EDA as executive Vice President at EDA Jobs. Mark was also VP of Marketing and Business Development in the beginning of the Internet revolution and has been a … More »

Landing The Interview Is About More Than Your Technical Skills…Must Read Advice For Anyone Interviewing

 
April 15th, 2016 by Mark Gilbert

I have placed more candidates than I can count and have additionally prepared more candidates for their interviews, than I have yelled at my kids… (OK I admit to stretching there a bit).  I cannot begin to tell you how many candidates make the most elementary mistakes during their first interview(s), serving to eliminate themselves before they have even had a chance to prove their worthiness.  It is certainly great to possess the needed technical skills for the position but it is even greater to know how to showcase those skills, to give you the best shot at acing the interview.

Here are a few of my more basic tips and what I always tell my candidates before they interview. I explain to them that the simplest, most logical goal is to have one single objective…and that is to get through the 1st interview successfully. Since most first interviews are phone screens, the discussions can vary depending on the company and the person doing the interviewing.
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Wally’s Enlightening DVCON Keynote… Conference Still Growing…. Prospects Still Bright for Careers Growth, Maximize Your Future Opportunities Doing This…

 
March 2nd, 2016 by Mark Gilbert

First let me remind some of my newer readers that I write the ONLY non-technical column (and Videos) in EDA. Simply stated, you will not hear much about anything overly technical. You will learn about our industry from an insider’s perspective, hear from some of our major leaders and learn how to maximize your chances, not only learning about how jobs are trending but how to maximize your success at achieving them. EDA is not the most interesting of industries so a little fun is sometimes warranted and you will find that in my writing and Videos.

So DVCON16 got off to a great start with a nice cocktail party the night before and a standing room only kickoff with Keynote Wally Rhines, CEO of Mentor Graphics. Wally, (I can be so informal when referring to him because I interviewed him and we are best buds now, um, even though he never calls) is one of the most knowledgeable EDA Executives we have. An enlightening speaker, presenting basically boring bits of information in a relatively interesting manner. He did a short presentation on the history of verification that almost took my breath away…well not exactly but I did learn a hell of a lot. The guy makes the mundane, magnificent.

Wally explained (and I do hope I get this right or I will get some nasty letters, mostly from Wally’s admin) how since 1985, Verification has grown some 5 Orders Of Magnitude. While the amount of transistors has grown accordingly the cost have gone down proportionately, as well. (This is the most technical this column will or has ever been). As how this connects to careers, Verification Engineers have grown by 3x that of Design Engineers, meaning that Verification is certainly the HOTBED of our industry. I will be glad to discuss more of what he said but the interesting and relevant point here is that those of you with Verification skills have the best chance of securing a good opportunity.

As for DVCON, aside from being one of the better conferences and really well intended, it is a good opportunity to meet a skilled group of like-minded engineers and forge new relationships. That is exactly why I attend every year and always walk away with a few new opportunities. We actually received several new job reqs from the conference.

It is quite obvious that verification remains a centerpiece of our industry and continues to gain traction and importance. Of course, it is dominated by the BIG3, but there are a lot of smaller, important players that have not only sustained against them but have grown. As for hiring, it remains strong and somewhat intermittent but more opportunity exists for those that are smart and willing to learn. While some companies prefer more experienced, skilled Engineers that have sufficient, near perfect knowledge of the domain, others will work and train those that demonstrate a true desire to work hard and learn. It never makes sense to me because in the months and months of waiting for the perfect person, these near-right candidates could be up and running and performing for their companies, simply given the opportunity. Start-ups are certainly more vulnerable to the wrong hire, however they, too, must realize that most of the “exceptionally qualified” candidates get the best positons with the best companies. The more in demand the candidate, the easier it is for that candidate to choose where he/she wants to work. The simple reality is that a little training and mentoring can go a long way in retaining good talent.

Having said that, hiring is still robust in EDA though since there are fewer Start-Ups, the possibilities are not quite as plentiful. Specific skill-sets (for example, P&R, Layout, Formal, Simulation etc.) have limited people working those niches and depending on your expertise, (SW Development, Application Support, Sales, or Marketing), things can get even more limiting.

EDA-Careers has been building a network of relationships with some of the more major companies. We have been casting a wider net and exploring growth where the most growth possibilities exist. Reality is, that in a domain that is exceptionally complex and increasingly more difficult to find talent, we have made it our mission to become a resource for these larger companies. Since they all have their own internal recruiting staff, they prefer to try inside first however, the specialty of EDA remains essential and it is still very difficult for these companies to find all the necessary qualified candidates. That is exactly why they are turning to companies like mine to help. Recruiters that have specific EDA skills knowledge are exceedingly rare and good ones even more so. As consolidation continues, it becomes increasingly more difficult to fill the important needs that not only Start-Ups require but the Big Guys as well.

I must remind all of you that you can never get the call about that next great opportunity if people like me do not have your resume. It is essential to have your resume in experienced hands as most of us work off a database and can only call you if your resume appears, when searching to fill a specific position. When a company gives me a new Job Requisition, I search my database for candidates with those skills. Remember, just because “I know you”, which I do many of you, I cannot possibly keep track of or recall everyone and their specific skills . The best way to consider you for the opportunity is to see your name, have YOUR RESUME pop up as a qualified candidate for the position I seek. Remember, you always have the option to say NO and YOU WANT THAT OPPORTUNITY or better yet, to perhaps say YES! Send your resume, it always stays confidential. (See my previous columns on building a strong resume, here on the Previous Columns link, More Careers Corner under my column), so you POP-UP in a search. Have all the relevant buzz words in your resume to increase your chances and who knows, I just might be calling you with your next great opportunity.

And just in case you were wondering, YES I WORE MY WHITE SPORTCOAT! Watch for my coming DVCON Industry Video coming soon to a portal near you.

TIS THE SEASON TO BE LOOKING…FALALALALALALA…Now Is The BEST Time To Start Checking Out New Opportunities…

 
December 9th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

Every year around this time (actually even earlier), I start getting flooded with calls asking if this is a good time to look for a new opportunity.  My answer in short is: it is the BEST time to look, as many projects are wrapping up, the year is coming to an end, and a mild short-term break is on the horizon.

Starting a job in January is probably one of the best times to join a company. Everyone is fresh (sort-of) and coming back from some well-deserved time off.  Spirits are high, as is the conversation and camaraderie, as everyone shares their holiday stories. At the same time, all are trying to get back into the routine of work again for another year.  It is a rare bit of social time right before the year starts its long grind, and a good time to meet and fraternize with new soon-to-be colleagues.

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The Must-Read Interviewing Guide For Candidates and Hiring Managers…How Both Sides Can Win In An Interview!

 
October 5th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

This is a crucial column that every candidate and hiring manager should read so they can each wisely get the most out of the interviewing process. First to the candidates…

Acing an interview these days is incredibly difficult. Sometimes, your technical abilities are simply not enough. Knowing how to interview and how to be prepared is CRUCIAL if you want to get to the next round of interviews. Your primary goal should always be exactly that– to get to the next round. Here are some thoughts to make that happen…

First and foremost, be prepared before you interview! There is quite simply nothing more important than knowing as much as possible about the prospective company and their tools. I have had candidates ask their interviewer things like, “So, what problem are you attacking”? This is usually followed by two phone calls: the first is from the candidate saying, “I think I did pretty well”, and the second is from the hiring manager saying, “he/she did not even know what we were doing, so that was the end of that”. Interviewing smart is crucial and this is precisely why I always prep my candidates for their interview and make sure they study the company’s website and read a few white papers and do a little digging. Bottom line, be prepared before the first call or visit. Some candidates take it a step further by going above and beyond and they prepare a presentation to show just how much they know and how proactive and serious they are about their craft and their desire for the position. This approach can of course vary by the types of positions you are interviewing for, but showing what you have done, what you know, or even what you can potentially accomplish, should always bode quite well and make you stand out from the pack.

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EDA Offers Incredible Longevity…CRITICAL, What makes a GREAT Resume

 
August 6th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

EDA, Electronic Design Automation gets its share of getting kicked around. After all, since the Internet boom (or some might say bust), the Social Media boom, Analytics boom, and Big Data boom, several alternatives to EDA have had significant impact on hiring. This has forced upon us numerous challenges because these skills are in demand and plentiful. The mere impact of such world changing technologies cannot be understated. EDA has always had some of the most brilliant minds imaginable; creating technologies that only a select few could possibly understand. Who, just a few years back, could have possibly imagined a tiny (and I do mean tiny) chip doing the billions of functions it does today? Who could have ever imagined that we could build on a computer screen, detail all the functionality, and design chips (we will use “chip” as a generic word to make my point)?  Furthermore, who could have imagined that we would build devices that use to take a building to compute, would now work in the palm of our hands?

EDA is at the epi-center of all devices Electronic, which is why I coined the phrase, “All Electronics Starts With EDA”. (Use it EDAC, just give me the credit). With that level of intensity, comes a dynamic work space that few can possibly step into because of the incredible complexities and needed education/training. The good news is, once in, EDA could be your home for life. Now I get it, many that grew up in the Start-Up world, I guess even the big 3 were once start-ups, know that the environment has dramatically changed and over the last few years, or dare I say, matured.   Yet, EDA is still going strong and achieves quarter after quarter of profitability and growth.

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My 18th DAC, Let’s Talk; Just Look For The White Sport Coat…What Is Going On In Hiring These Days… Atrenta leaves us

 
June 7th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

I guess I am getting older as the number of DAC’S I have attended is mounting and becoming a little frightening…this will be my 18th. I remember when walking DAC, was a tiring mission and I am not talking about walking the streets of San Francisco. It was quite large with isle after isle of booths taking up a huge footprint, and so many of them were Start-Ups. Well that was (as the song goes) yesterday and yesterday’s gone. I watched as each year, the big 4 took up more and more of the floorplan and one by one, the companies I did business with disappeared. I also watched as Startup after Startup grew their footprint and realized incredible growth which led to their acquisition. Now, here we are, so many years later and DAC is quite a different place. To add validity to what I am saying, one of the last of the mid tiers (some might say THE last) was just acquired. Atrenta, one of the oldest Start Ups will now join the ranks of so many before them and leave the floors of DAC to the likes of Synopsys.

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Where Might Technology Be Taking Us, I Get A Little Crazy with Mentor’s CEO, Part 3 of My Amazing Must Read Wally Interview… How Was DVCON

 
April 13th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

DVCON was, well, DVCON…nothing out of the ordinary; it was as always well-attended with good traffic, perhaps even more than I have seen previously. The one good thing I noticed, and this is technically very important: the food and drink is getting better and more plentiful each year.

Anyway, for the most part, my sources had similar comments; they picked up some nice leads and met some of the customers they were trying to meet. In reality, that is all a trade show can hope to accomplish for its vendors.

Similar to DAC, I don’t write about the seminars etc.–my meetings are done on the exhibitor floor. Two good things did happen for me: I did another video, which you can see on EDACafé with the other DVCON interviews at http://www10.edacafe.com/video/Video-Categories-2015-DVCon-Video-Interviews/10418/category.html, and I finally met Peggy, who like Oprah needs no last name mentioned. I was impressed as she was quite lovely.
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2014 WAS A STRONG YEAR, EDA CONTINUES STRONG…MENTOR’S WALLY RHINES PART 2, THE MYTHS, THE LEGEND, THE HISTORY…

 
January 27th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert

2014 was an exceptionally busy year, and it seems 2015 is offering more of the same-and off to a great start.  EDA is robust and contrary to the negative prognosticators, we are still around and doing quite well.  Hiring is strong but as difficult as ever, as companies are increasingly picky, and it is harder and harder to get good people to leave, even for seemingly much greener pastures.  The numbers are out from EDAC and to no one’s surprise, EDA did amazingly well, AGAIN.

Now, on to the myths, the legend: I want to continue discussing my down-to-earth interview with Mentor’s CEO and dare I say, the most recognizable name and face in EDA, Wally Rhines.  It seems abundantly clear that the mentality of the boss (he would hate that characterization), permeates this company at almost every level.  In my 18 years in EDA I have seen many a start-up come and go, each having a flavor distinct to that company.  For Mentor the flavor does not vary, nor does the culture. Wally classifies Mentor as a bunch of startups under one roof, and from what I have learned through the years by talking to so many of my Mentor friends, that is seemingly a decent characterization.  He feels that way because they allow a lot of independence, sometimes even forcing competing products to develop in two different divisions. As he tells me, this practice can sometimes cause the developing product to be inconsistent in look and feel—but that’s OK, because in the end, the product is measured by its success and not necessarily the look and feel.  Sometimes, selling into a Synopsys flow is more important than selling into a Mentor flow for a particular product.  The viability of the tool is the metric by how it is ultimately judged and, I would add, probably the bottom line even more so.

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Start Looking Now For Jobs Next Year… Mentor’s Wally Rhines…Why Is Mentor So Different,  First Of My 3-Part Interview..

 
November 20th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert

THE Following is an intriguing and insightful look into an EDA industry icon, Mentor’s CEO, Wally Rhines.  Since our talks were so insightful, leaving me so much to write about, I will quickly give you my thoughts on considering a year-end career change first, followed by my interpretation of “The Man From Mentor”.

The cycles for finding a job have changed immensely over the past year, plus it can take months and months just to find the right opportunity, and then more to go through the interview process. Even though it is clear that the advantage is, (for now), on the Candidates side, make no mistake; the process can still be long and arduous. Even knowing how hard it is to find good people, companies today continue to be so picky and take so long to pull the trigger on actually hiring.  Starting your search now, and I mean now, is the smartest thing you can do.  You should know that almost assuredly, you would start after the first of the year, even if the process goes quickly.  The New Year creates a great time to leave your old company and join a new.  Starting at the beginning of the year allows you to be part of annual kick-off meetings and everyone getting back to work after the holiday break; it is a simply a perfect time to fit in.  Call your favorite recruiter (hopefully ME…is there anyone better?) to discuss the possibilities and your particular situation. I will help walk you through the process. Together we can both develop a strong comprehensive plan on how to best approach the next stage of your career.  On to Wally…

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THOUGHT PROVOKING…Can See Into the Future Of What You’re Helping To Create Today? …Will Future Development Jobs Be The Stuff Science Fiction Is Made Of?…

 
September 19th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert

In my DAC interview with Wally, (a name you can use in EDA like Oprah, Sting, Madonna), one of the things we discussed was how the technologies his tools are giving the power to develop, could ultimately be used in ways that could, well for a lack of a better word, (adding dramatic effect)…destroy the world as we know it. You will hear more of his thoughts when I finish writing my interview, but I thought this would be a good precursor to play with and it’s an issue I think about a lot; I’m betting many of you do as well. I will address Wally’s thoughts when I write the column, but for now here are mine.

Like me, many of you love science fiction, especially when it deals with the future. I cannot help but think, when watching the beautiful Halle Berry in the science fiction series Extant, how many of you out there are in some way embarking on a path that will make parts of that show… a more automated future…a reality. More so, I cannot help but wonder how many development engineers will be visionary enough to see into the future they are helping create, and ensure that the right path is taken, as we move Moore’s Law forward and increase the role of technology in our future. You see, all of you engineers are creating tiny pixels of a much bigger picture and you rarely get to see the end product or even the implications of what you are allowing to be developed. I do suspect however, that a few of you do realize, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Engineering jobs, especially for computer and electrical engineers, have so many faces and complexities. So often many of you are partaking in a limited role of a much bigger project, which you know little about. Analogous to a good script with a far off plot, the actors read their lines never knowing what the writer’s, developers are actually planning. I cannot help but wonder how that similarity might play into the world we live in, how what we are developing today will be played out in tomorrow’s scripts.

The subject of jobs is at play here, as all of you are for hire and many of you may one day be faced with a decision that makes you ponder your future or the implications of your development. Money is a powerful tool that convinces people to do things that might not always be on the up-and-up…after all, what is a hacker but someone who took a different programming career path than most of you. How many of you would change your path if the money were right? How many would stand up to something they thought could spell trouble one day, especially if the money was right?

We know that the vast majority of development is done with good and right intentions, but money is a very powerful motivator and makes it easy to justify what might otherwise be questionable. If you think about it, so much of what we read in a book or watch on a screen eventually does come to life. My mom looks at the highways being built today and says that she saw those types of interchange structures in books when she was a kid; she’s 93. She said Ralph Belemey wrote a book in the late 1800s about how one day we would turn on a light by touching a wall. The future is built on creative imagination. Creative imagination and brilliant programming are a powerful combination. Which of you will see the possibilities of your brilliance being used for measures that might not be in the best interest of our futureand stand up and say “No”? How do we maintain an ethical use so that HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey) does not take control of this ship? How do we prevent a Darth Vader-esque future, and is that idea so radically crazy? Can we not see a future world of good and bad automated machines? After all, look at how things are shaping up around the world. How might those factions look in the future as technology further permeates our existence? Are some of you working right now on what might very well lead the way to those possibilities? Will money lead you to do things you can see having negative future potential?

Sorry for the tangent, but I think about where we are going and how the good will be used by the bad. It has me thinking, and dare I say, mildly concerned about where this might all lead, and what control we have to shape it and secure it for good. Just look at the hackers stealing… that is all technology that we are developing right now. Is controlling power grids, air traffic, banks, defense, etc. not a real possibility? I wonder, which of you will be the ones that protect us and ensure it is not…Wally?????

As for what to expect for Q3…I feel like it will be another robust quarter and hiring will remain strong. Here is what I do know. It continues to get harder and harder to find the right fit for the overly-exact specifications that exist today. People are not leaving quite as fast as in years past and that makes it harder to recruit them out; harder but not impossible. Comps seem to have gone up, though I cannot say by how much, but that shows the market is strong. Now back to my very long interview with Wally that I must finish before he writes a program to destroy me. See you at ARM, end of October.




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