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Date: 06-01-15

VLSI design training: not "all is well"

B.E./B.Tech Electronics engineering students in India are having enough time and resources during their four-year study period to learn and complete VLSI design course deep and wide enough to get a decent job in semiconductor chip design industry. But yet you see many of these fresh engineers after graduation still opting for another course in VLSI design training in private training institutes. Why is this?

Is the syllabus in their curriculum does not cover enough? If you look at the syllabus of electronics and communication engineering branch in engineering colleges in Karnataka, it includes VLSI specific subjects such as C programming, analog electronic circuits, logic design, and analog electronics lab, logic design lab, fundamentals of HDL, linear ICs, HDL lab, fundamentals of CMOS VLSI design and VLSI lab. Along with these compulsory subjects, there is also option for the students to choose subjects such as analog and mixed signal VLSI design, low-power VLSI design, verilog, CAD/EDA for VLSI, RF ICs as electives. The syllabus is very good enough covering most of the aspects of VLSI design. The only subject missing is material science focusing on electronic components and semiconductor manufacturing.

By looking into the subjects what they study, it is easy to assume the fresh electronics engineer is capable enough to design a VLSI chip without much training.

India with around 5000+ engineering colleges, creating more than quarter million of electronics and telecommunication engineers every year. Even if you consider 10% of this are talented enough for immediate employment, they constitute around 25,000 engineers every year.

Though India has so many electronics engineers with VLSI knowledge, there is media reports where industry experts who have attended VLSI 2015 conference in Bangalore complaining about short supply of VLSI design talent. Is VLSI design industry in India hiring more than 25,000 or even the 10% of the best electronics engineering graduates in India are not really industry ready in chip design domain?
We can look this problem in two ways, Are these VLSI companies are expecting Vinod Dham ( an Indian engineer who was key brain behind development of Intel's Pentium processor) kind of chip designer in every engineer, or the Indian VLSI design talent really poor in talent. Whatever may be the case there are unfilled positions and also unemployed electronic engineers. So there is both demand and excess supply, that means basically the quality issue. The lack of practically trained faculty in engineering colleges in India is a reason for poor quality in electronics engineering education. In India teaching is a last option for bright engineers, which results in not so industry-verse faculty in engineering colleges, except IITs. With such faculty, the students are trained in theoretical aspects and more prepared for scoring marks in the examination.

Expecting to rise to the level of employer's requirement, unemployed engineers opting for paid training by joining short term courses in mushrooming VLSI training institutes in Bangalore and such places.

It seems these training institutes such as RV-VLSI, Maven,IIVDT, CVC, and Sandeepani and so many other such profit focused institutes have not impressed much of the unemployed EEs. They have not met expectations of lot of engineers, who have joined these institutes dreaming a VLSI job. These institutes also conduct written test before they train. But it looks the placement opportunities in these institutes or not as much as they promise before joining. By utilising social communication channels, many of the trainees in these institutes able to express their opinion on the institutes. On overall the satisfaction level is not impressive.

One of good sample posting with title
"bogus institutes and websites maven silicon,iivdt,sandeepani,rv-vlsi,cvc,and www.edaboard.com" can be found at url

The Long-term solution here is to have industry trained faculty and other is to have experts from the industry conducting practical tests along with local faculty in the practical examination part of the course. So a employability score given by multiple companies who come from a campus interview can become part of the marks-sheet. The student should be given the option to withdraw and write exam again.

For those students who have already completed their graduation. The VLSI design industry in India can collaborate with the industry body Institute of electronics and telecommunication engineers (IETE) which is already providing short-term courses in VLSI design at affordable prices. IETE is India's oldest and one of the largest industry body with the infrastructure to handle short-term courses all over India.

The U.S.-based electronic engineering body IEEE also can partner with IETE by providing education material at a cost suitable for Indian students.

Finally these private VLSI training institutes need to be monitored for any false promises.

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