What do the new BUZZWORDS like BUYOUTS, BAILOUTS, SUB-PRIME, Market Collapse,” FEAR” mean to the EDA job market???? After all it has not been a bad year at all…
No one can argue that these are not scary times for almost every sector, unless it is liquor, and only because it almost feels better to drink while watching the decline, so their sales are up. But since we all have to go on with our lives and make prudent decisions on our future, drinking may not be the best answer (though maybe an occasional option).
Seriously, these are very scary times. The words above are in our face everywhere, and part of our daily conversations at work and at home. Magma and Cadence layoffs, missed projections, stock values plummeting--- you get the idea. I have talked to numerous CEO's, people looking for jobs, and folks in-between; everyone is concerned. Here is the bottom line…business goes on. It just takes more work to get to the same place. This week alone I received 6 new requisitions. So there are jobs out there; the thing is, employers are being very picky because they have a bigger pool from which to choose. So here is how I see it.
No one will argue that there is extreme caution being exhibited by all EDA companies big and small, but business continues and the need for EDA tools still exists. Here is what you need to do to make yourself stand out.
It starts with your resume. As I have mentioned repeatedly, make sure it is sharp. Make your objective broad and inclusive. If you're not working and want to, leave out the demand for manager, (if in fact management does not matter to you). They will see what you did previously, and if they need a manager they will take that into consideration when reviewing your history. Fact is “most” startups do not need managers now, they need hands on willing to get their hands dirty engineers that will do whatever it takes to help the company succeed. PRIMADONAS need not apply in this climate. (Note: It is not to say that Senior Management people need not apply, it is just that there are far fewer of those roles and if you want to work now, do not limit your chance to be considered). I recently placed a Director so it is not like there are no management positions.
Next, if you get the call, be prepared. My last column had what I think was an extremely appropriate analogy to being prepared technically. I said everyone in the valley knows how to get to Great America…(substitute P&R, Synthesis, Simulation, etc.). You can take the 101, get off at Great American parkway go a few blocks turn right. Be clear, that will not suffice when asked the (proverbial) question, “How do you get to Great America”. You had better know several routes, and forget the most obvious; everyone knows those already. You better be able to give street-by-street directions, and know where the detours and roadblocks are and be prepared to get around them. In other words, you better have your thinking cap on and the propellers going full speed, and have real and well thought out approaches to the problem.
Be pro-active, start your search before you are FORCED to find something new. If things are currently concerning, start the process to see if there is a need for someone with your skills. Talented people find good opportunities. It is always best to seek before you are forced to look. Your own follow up is essential, stay on your recruiter (we never mind hearing from a client), and send weekly emails when you applied direct. The squeaky wheel gets the…(can't remember what you get but it gets something satisfactory).
It is important to know that as of the writing of this column, opportunities still exist. Companies are hiring, they are just being choosy. Make sure you are prepared and if you are working through a recruiter, make sure he/she prepares you thoroughly for the interview. Ask your recruiter questions, most of us are always willing to give advice, even if you are not our client. Be flexible if you are not working, because as they say a bird in the hand is (umm Can't remember what you get either) but in this case, at least you will be working.
Just know that this too will pass. Just know that if you are good at what you do, work hard, most likely you will end up on the good side when all is said and done. The industry is solid, but like all businesses it is feeling the ramifications of the times. Do what I do, work harder; dedicate more time to your job, your search. That is advice that almost always works. And lets all hope that the markets find their way back.