Many companies today are trying to hire the perfect candidate, which we all know can take months to find. Is it wise to say that if a candidate has a majority of the skill sets you deem essential, that training properly can lead to a stronger more dedicated candidate?

Jim McCanny… Until recently due to our size we preferred to wait for the perfect candidate. As we grow that becomes harder to find plus our rate of hiring needs to increase to keep pace with the rate our business growth. In the future I expect to do more internal training of a candidate with a good base set of skills but for certain jobs we will still try to find as near as perfect match as possible.

Anonymous… I think in the long run you have to grow your talent and invest in new people out of school, creating a balance of seasoned and new blood in these companies. This is good for the industry, the technology and as stated, good for the relationship between company and employees.

Jens Anderson… That depends, we have been both ways, the old dog with a lot of knowledge can be hard to retrain, as well as the younger semi talented individuals can cost the opportunities, especially in the younger EDA companies. I believe a strong engineer can easily influence and correct the younger engineers, so a mix of both will continue to be required. Energy is a higher priority and willingness to learn, leads to a good recipe.

Prakash Narain… You will never find THE perfect candidate. So, if there is a need, move forward with a high quality candidate.

Lauro Rizzatti … Yes, in principle.

Anonymous… More important to hire an “athlete” than a specialist. Much prefer candidates with little experience that can be molded into the employee that best contributes to the overall goals of the company.

Michiel Ligthart … yes.
Andreas Ripp… It is always a trade-off of personal skills, personal fit to the company and the job description itself. Mostly people are flexible to learn or get trained in new application fields or skills. But this you should absolutely expect from such highly educated people and engineers, that work in the EDA industry.

Anonymous… It depends. We hire both the experienced and junior engineers. The nature of our business dictates that they have to adapt to customer needs and our own team dynamics. Therefore, rather than finding a candidate who has a majority of the skill sets, we prefer to find someone who has great learning and delivery capability demonstrated in his/her prior jobs or school environment.

Greg Lebsack… The real question is what skills is the candidate missing? It depends upon the organization as to whether they can on-board a candidate who has a “majority of the skill sets”, and train them properly allowing them to become successful. In many fast-paced environments, it is a sink or swim mentality, and ultimately both the candidate and the employer suffer if the candidate cannot get above water.

Do you think EDA will continue to grow as geometries change, and if so what changes need to happen for both the “Big Guys” and “Start-ups” to grow and become increasingly healthier?

Lauro Rizzatti … How about making room for startups without total control of the big three? How about merging one of the big three with another one …

Jim McCanny… For startups its necessary to work on niche markets that have the potential to become mainstream. It takes 3-4 years to get a product to market and establish a market presence and customer base that is defendable from attack from the bigger players. Niche markets are typically created by a change in either design methodology (e.g low power) or process technology (e.g. signal integrity) or via utilizing new computing paradigms (parallel processing on low cost linux farms, cloud computing etc) to radically reduce the cost or improve the efficiency of existing tools. For the big players they need to extract more dollars from their customers by selling software collections that have high value rather than all-you-can eat buffets. i.e somewhere between point-tools and “platforms” and leave the filler tools to internal groups or start-ups.

Prakash Narain… EDA is stuck because of the way big companies do business.

Anonymous… Business models have to change and companies need to expand into adjacent market such as software. The issue here is not about technologies its abut the business model – its fundamentally flawed to serve a matured market.

Jens Anderson… I believe the EDA software market has hit its potential. As the process nodes shrink, the designs are getting fewer but larger, there will still be a lot of designs and re-spins etc, but with the large designs the monopoly will continue to dominate and EDA in general will suffer, which is a shame as the big EDA houses depends on the smaller startups technology ideas/development. Thus it comes back to a good combination of IP and EDA supporting software to scale the EDA solutions.

Anonymous… I actually believe EDA may shrink unless more investment in the technology increases and the business model changes. If there were any indication that the market would grow, you would see more interest from the VC community.

Greg Lebsack… Recent history has shown this is very difficult. Shrinking geometries creates opportunities for EDA. However, the increasing R&D costs limits the sources of innovation. New business models will be necessary to fund the required R&D. Andreas Ripp… EDA is important for the semiconductor industry but often it is tough for all companies, the big ones and the small ones, really to transfer this importance into real benefits. This is because the industry since some years back is used to large discounts based on some large package deals that they receive from their preferred vendors. Furthermore it seems with many customers there is an ongoing tendency to reduce the cost for EDA – and therefore also for EDA innovation – from year to year. This is a tendency that makes it more difficult to establish new EDA players in the market. But at the end, as a result the customers will probably not get anymore of the innovative solutions they need and therefore have to make proprietary EDA investments in-house again. Not sure if this will be the right way. Driver for more EDA will be always the semiconductor companies. No doubt.

Anonymous… EDA will mostly stay as a stable business that offers wonderful job opportunities for semiconductor innovations that semiconductor companies and foundries alone won't make. We are part of the ecosystem. Overall EDA will continue to grow steadily, and among the industry, some start-ups (including ours) will continue to spark the innovations to contribute to the ecosystem. We enjoy the process and deliver significant values to customers, employees and shareholders.

Lastly, what changes are coming down the pike that will impact EDA, and what are your thoughts for the next year or two for our industry, including hiring?

Jim McCanny… The continued emergence of China and other lower cost countries as major design centers who force all EDA companies (big and small) to have a local infrastructure to support them. Consequently a lot of hiring will occur in these areas of raw yet inexperienced talent . This new talent pool will be very dynamic so retention will be as much of a challenge as hiring. In the US there will be an osmosis of experience people from the larger EDA firms to smaller and medium sized startups as the larger firms staff up overseas and the smaller firms grow their expertise to tackle niche markets.

Prakash Narain… New and smaller EDA companies will need to formulate an insightful business model to be successful. The big companies have their own problems because of the way they do business.

Lauro Rizzatti … We are looking forward to continuing our growth by introducing new emulation systems with more capabilities sold at lower cost than before. The demand is there.

Greg Lebsack… Short-term, I think the industry will continue to struggle. Consolidation and downward pricing pressures will continue the difficult environment. Medium to long-term, innovation needs to be the driver.

Andreas Ripp… Probably EDA will also feel what e.g. the automotive systems industry is already through, the demand from customer side to provide whole systems on silicon that leads to much more complex applications. I hope this will at the end also lead to more jobs in EDA, but not sure about it.

Jens Anderson… If collaboration truly continues to evolve from the big foundries and design houses, there will be a lot more opportunities coming our way as most EDA companies will get a fair share of coverage and access to the larger pool of fabless companies. I think the EDA industry has hit a couple of status quos with "yet another P&R solution" and in order to improve with complimentary solutions, the large designs will force a new direction of pre-developed/configurable IP with the need for supporting EDA tools to integrate efficiently. Cloud is another change that could make a boom in our industry. I certainly see that as a huge potential going forward.

Anonymous… EDA has a long-term issue in its business model and customers have been accustom to these current practices –so change will be slow. New products even killer products alone will not change the dynamics. The fundamental business model is flawed. Tier pricing models for new products versus “maintenance products” would be helpful in allowing companies to recover development cost but that is much easier to say than to do. There will be fewer start ups, even more pricing pressure as EDA consumers become even more concentrated – a new model will have to emerge to services the ever changing technology landscape. I could even envision a roll back to larger companies being more aggressive in developing their own tools if this model is not changed.

Anonymous… Changes in chip technology that will change the physical aspects of timing and electrical characteristics will impact EDA. I also believe that Japan Inc. is in big trouble and could cause a major reduction in the overall EDA market. Hiring will remain as is with a possible dip.

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