It doesn’t take a Genius to figure out that EDA has a Major IMAGE PROBLEM;…Here is to hoping for a Successful Apache IPO;….Startups need to Merge to be a Force…

Startups need to Merge to be a Force

Now I will be the first to admit that I am not this great Genius that knows all the solutions to fixing our image, but seriously friends; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that EDA does indeed have a major image problem. We all know it; we have all read or heard about it. The issue here is not whether EDA is a valid and thriving workspace; we all know it is. The trouble is it is measured against other more thriving growing industries. Somehow we need to know how to make people realize both the potential and the stability of EDA so that they CHOOSE it as their career CHOICE and equally or more importantly, CHOOSE to STAY in EDA.

Like I said, I will be the first to admit that I do not have all the answers. So, here is a problem and within it lies a solution. We are an extremely diverse culturally different industry, and therein lies the solution…we are an extremely diverse culturally different industry. How do we sell that? How do we get more people to realize that within that diversity is a plethora of new ideas and world-class thinkers? How do we bring some excitement into this industry and show the world that we are the creators of all things electronic? We need to scream…EDA…ALL THINGS ELECTRONIC START HERE!

We will never be the most exciting industry for Software Developers or Hardware Designers (or similar). That is something we all know, but we can create a much more alluring, tantalizing image of who and what we are. We know EDA is not at the forefront of the social media boom, which is clearly a more enticing, exciting reality in today’s software world. But we are still nonetheless important, and this industry still has value and a future.

Wake up Wally, Aart, Rajeev, (and whoever is running Cadence these days) (just kidding). You guys need to join together with all the start-ups (big and small) and start to create an energy that permeates our industry and beyond. We need to start a think tank, a way to market this business better and make it a little more tantalizing and exciting. We don’t have the liveliness of Google, or the sizzle of Facebook, but we should be able to match NVIDEA and similar others for allure. Thank goodness for the little hokiness at DAC, (not that it comes from any of the big boys, which it should). If not for the magicians and games and giveaways, people would be yawning in the isles. We need to ask the question: “What more can we do to make DAC more exciting?”, especially on a Monday when so much young future talent is roaming the isles. After all, these young graduates are our potential future!

Some of the answers lie in what will hopefully be a very successful IPO for Apache. For starters, a successful IPO should point the financial sector towards our industry. The buzz around Apache’s (finally) announcement is amazing and so exciting for all of us. Remember several years back when 4 or 5 EDA companies went Public? We were getting our fair share of attention then and those of us in EDA saw that as a bright spot in the landscape. It gave hope to the people that worked in the industry that there was more than one exit possibility.

Another thing that will help the image of EDA is if people like Andrew and companies like APACHE and ATRENTA (as they have already done several times) offer smaller EDA companies an alternative to the big boys. And while APACHE and ATRENTA are great examples of companies that can also acquire other companies (as I have written in previous columns), more smaller struggling companies need to join forces when they have flows that work well together. By merging smaller struggling companies into stronger more viable businesses, they stand a better chance of competing more successfully.

Ultimately the image of EDA ties directly back into careers in EDA. With a more polished image, with more promise of a good future, with more excitement in and around our industry, with more profitable business models (which mean stronger profits), more and more people will want to stay and or even hopefully come back. When people feel good about being a part of a thriving industry, when there is good news and a promising future in our industry, people will then want to be part of our industry and that is good for EDA. In turn, that will be good for jobs and that, my friends, makes me a very happy guy as well.

Review Article
  • EDA has a stodgy, old-boys-network feel May 05, 2011
    Reviewed by 'EDA Refugee'
    I think the EDA industry definitely has a stodgy, old-boys-network feel. It just doesn't feel like a very dynamic industry when you compare it with, say, web development for social networking. Now that I work in web dev (because my EDA job was shipped overseas) it just seems a lot more fast-paced. New languages, new frameworks, new libraries appear on just about a daily basis. For those of us who like learning new things that's kind of nice. Also, I find that these small startups (not in the EDA industry) can make decisions much faster - that could be hiring decisions, decisions about technologies, etc. EDA moves at a glacial pace by comparison.
    A web or mobile app company can create a prototype and get funding in a matter of months. An EDA startup can take years to get to a working prototype. To some extent, I think the fault lies with the VC community: they can understand the web and fund quickly, but they don't want to bet on an EDA company where it can take years to get to payback.

      3 of 3 found this review helpful.
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  • Still relevant after all these years... May 13, 2011
    Reviewed by 'Ron Green'
    I don’t believe EDA has lost any of its own luster, so much as other industries have grown to outshine it. Through the 80’s and 90’s, EDA was a dynamic and rapidly growing field. The endless stream of improvements in design and fabrication techniques relentlessly drove development in EDA. The stunning cornucopia of products and technologies the world enjoys today are, in large measure, the product of the advancements in EDA technology.
    Yes – that was a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean EDA has lost its relevance. Indeed, we find design challenges at every turn – shrinking semiconductor geometries, growing design complexities, greater demands in terms of power, noise, reliability – there appears to be no end in sight. The reality is that electronic systems of the future will not be realized without attendant advancements in the art and science of computer-aided design. Period.
    You ask we jump up and scream just how vital EDA is to the development of electronics. I suspect your sentiment speaks to a frustration that pervades the EDA industry. Certainly it’s no fun to see all the fresh-faced grads drift towards the Googles and Facebooks of the world, or watch as people wield their shiny new toys – everything from smart phones, to satellite TVs, to pocket GPS systems – without ever really appreciating what it takes to make it all happen.
    But screaming is not going to do it. It’s going to take an approach that is both more subtle, and more sophisticated (think: Steven Spielberg.) If the premier event in our industry – DAC – can’t shine a light on the connection between cool gadgets and cool tools, then perhaps we’ve got our heads stuck up our algorithms. Engineers live to solve problems; so now there’s a new one at hand. EDA has the brainpower to solve this one too. We just have to remember why we got into this in the first place, and bring that energy and excitement – and relevance – to the fore.

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  • Magillem's IPO in November 2009 April 06, 2011
    Reviewed by 'Gary Dare'
    Mark, Apache would not be the only EDA IPO since Magma, a decade ago. If we take a global perspective, Magillem Design Services (Paris, France) had an IPO in late November 2009, and they trade on EuroNext. I felt that was the most underreported, even unreported story, in EDA that year.

      10 of 13 found this review helpful.
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  • EDA as a career isn't an option in the US April 28, 2011
    Reviewed by 'Ben There'
    Mr. Gilbert suggests that it's EDA's image that's led engineers to leave the field and keeps new college grads from choosing EDA as a career.
    I was an EDA software engineer for several years in a Semiconductor company, then in a small EDA company that got bought by one of the Big Three and finally with another of the Big Three. I love EDA development - the technical challenges are engaging. The problems being solved are important.
    However, I did not leave EDA by choice. That choice was made for me. My job and several others around me were sent overseas to (supposedly) save a little $$. Our jobs aren't coming back to the US - the bean counters at EDA companies have made that decision. So some of the best, most challenging EDA jobs are no longer in the US. And from what I hear from friends who are still employed in EDA, more and more EDA jobs are being sent overseas.
    For the first six months or so after the layoff I had the idea that I would just get another EDA job. But they just weren't there. So I moved over to web development because opportunities abundant there and now I've got headhunters calling or emailing me 2 or 3 times per week - at least. The fact is there are very few jobs in the US in EDA (unless, perhaps you are willing to relocate to Silicon Valley, which I am not willing to do at this point ). So a lot of us have moved on to develop web or mobile apps which don't seem nearly as important (though, I have to admit, web development is more challenging than I thought it was from the outside) - but if you like being able to make the mortgage payment and eat, well, there's not a whole lot of choice.
    Believe me, I'd live to move back to EDA software development, but realistically, that isn't happening. Best to move on.

      7 of 7 found this review helpful.
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