Becoming an analog circuit/IC designer. What path to follow, friends?

Discussion in 'Analog & Mixed-Signal Design' started by AnalogDigitalDesigner, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. AnalogDigitalDesigner

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2018
    Hello friends,

    My deepest desire is to become a good analog circuit designer. I don't have much experience yet and I am on a master's degree programme in microelectronics where we learn basic MOSFET chip design and lots of verilog.

    I am very confused about what path to really follow. I think what I want is to become an analog IC designer, although I also like analog circuit design in general using readymade IC's.

    When I look at the vast database of available circuits and knowledge I feel overwhelmed. It seems there is so much to learn. So much has already been done. It feels like a huge vocabulary of small circuits and building blocks I need to learn.

    I feel lost as to how to really learn electronics. Should I try to memorize and understand the maximum number of circuits that I can ? Or should I stick to a textbook like Grey & Meyer and follow it to the end ?

    I am lost here friends and I would thank you for your kind advice.
  2. danadak

    Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2018
    Constant reading and bench testing whenever you can, especially what you read.

    Experiment with all sorts of analog chips, circuits.

    Like most fields you do a few then the principals and knowledge span the rest.

    I dare say most of us have never gone thru the proof that 1 + 1 = 2, several hundred pages
    long, but everyday we use it.

    Regards, Dana.
  3. AnalogDigitalDesigner

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2018
    Best Regards
  4. tindel

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    IC designers are a special breed. You must be the best at electrical engineering to land the job. Period. You will be weeded out very quickly if you aren't the best. Expect any interviews for an IC design role to be highly technical, and to span the course of an entire day. Know C*dv/dt backwards and forwards. Know all of your basic digital (flip-flops, oscillators, transistor logic, etc) and analog circuit building blocks (transistor amps, opamp configurations, stability, etc). Know your op-amp building blocks. Know the difference between an op-amp and a comparator at the transistor level. That will get you the job. Of course their are varying levels of how much you need to know based on if you are a junior engineer vs a fellow within the company. Don't be afraid to let them know you don't know something, but show them you can at least breakdown a circuit a bit to get in the right ballpark.

    Getting the interview is tougher than the interview in some respects. IC designers are very proud of their company and their designs, and the IC design jobs are few (as far as I can tell) and very competitive. I would specifically target the IC manufacture you like the most. Why? Because you are most familiar with their products! You will be able to speak some of their language the moment you walk in the door. I would do what I could to meet people that work there so that you have an "in" with the company when that perfect job comes up. Get creative here.

    Once you get the job be meticulous. Look at as many corner cases as possible and understand why everything is working in a particular way. Is there more jitter than expected on a certain signal? Examine why and determine root cause. Your next design will thank you, the spec's will be better, and you will sell more product. Let data guide your path regarding what to do next. Take as much data as possible. Remember... hopefully you're churning out millions of your part. You have to make sure your yields are good and you don't want something biting you in the butt later down the road.

    Finally, good luck. IC design is a great field to get into right now. Most companies award top talent with top salary. You won't want to leave nor will you be able to (double edge sword). But the work is fun, highly technical, cutting edge, and you get to 'geek-out' all day with other people that like to 'geek-out' as well. It's really a lot of fun.

    The masters degree will help - it's getting to be a minimum requirement in this field - for any engineering job.