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Embedded Systems / VLSI Design / Electronic Design and Automation

Embedded systems are computers (microprocessors) that are enclosed (embedded) in customized hardware. Examples of embedded systems are portable medical equipment, cellular phones, or consumer electronics items. The global demand for semiconductors is expected to remain robust in 2006 due to an increase in demand for consumer electronics. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the worldwide semiconductor sales set a new record of 227.5 billion in 2005. This rapid growth has opened a range of career opportunities in the embedded design industry. There are over 130 chip design firms present in India—the vast pool of talent and growing domestic market has helped the country emerge as an important centre for chip design. Last year, the industry witnessed major investments in the country in R&D, an indicator of India’s potential with respect to the talent available. A country traditionally acknowledged for its software development capabilities is now exhibiting its competency in the chip design industry. This booming semiconductor industry promises 3.5 million jobs by 2015, according to a report by the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) and global consulting company Frost & Sullivan. Indian engineers have carved a niche for themselves by making significant contributions to the development of cutting-edge technology. India, with capabilities in very large scale integration (VLSI) design and software development, has potentially captured a larger share of the market by focusing on these markets. It is no wonder that almost all of the top 10 semiconductor vendors have established design centers in India. This has also contributed to the growth of the electronic design automation (EDA) industry in India. Leading Indian IT companies are also setting up product engineering and design services, partnering with global chip majors. Today’s engineers, therefore, have immense opportunities in hardware and embedded design, developing integrated circuits (ICs); field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and systems-on-chips (SoCs), apart from typical software development opportunities.

Embedded systems market, which is one of the key drivers of Indian R&D offshoring and is currently pegged at around US$ 25 billion globally, growing at a 16% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).A NASSCOM-Mckinsey study states that the domestic embedded systems market for India is gearedto generate U.S. $9.5 billion and exports worth U.S. $ 10 billion by the year 2008. This being a niche field, companies are increasingly looking for professionals with hands-on experience in digital application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design, physical design, mixed signal IC design, verilog, VHDL or VHSIC, VLSI design, circuit design and simulations, micro-controllers, digital PCB design and routing. Expansion plans of various MNCs and recent efforts by NASSCOM to play up India’s product development skills suggest that embedded software would be India’s next sunrise sector. However the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) estimates that engineering colleges are meeting only 20 per cent of the industry demand for chip design engineers. Organisations spend a year and a half shaping young graduates even as the courses in our educational institutions are outdated. Both industry and academia would benefit if institutes introduce a competent courseware and the industry gets involved in imparting professional training in institutes.

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Last updated  May 10, 2007