How did you decide to go in the core profile considering that coding and data are usually in vogue and are most talked about?
I had explored coding in my second year. I was not able to understand some of the core subjects in the 3rd sem and had contacted one of my seniors for funda in coding. I started, continued for about two months or so, but could not develop interest. In the 4th sem, I gained interest in some of the core courses and wanted to give it a shot. I pursued it, studied thoroughly, and then things became clearer for me. Basically, you have to explore as many options as you can. Only then you can eliminate options as well.
What was the general interview process for the companies that you aimed for?
I will talk about the internship procedure. In core EC companies, there are mainly three rounds: the test, the PI, and the HR round. HR round of a core company is just a 2 min walk, so you don’t need to worry about that. Some companies like Nvidia don’t conduct any tests. They shortlist on the basis of CGPA. As far as Texas Instruments is concerned, it is crucial to score good marks in the test because the shortlist comes on that basis only, and you will be called for PI in that order. And it is very beneficial if you are among the first few students to appear in the PI (comparatively easier questions!)
Many of us have heard that one should aim for going into the core sector only when your CG is high. Would you like to comment on that statement?
If you want to pursue higher studies, then you definitely need to maintain a high CGPA. But if you are looking to go into industry, then it does not matter that much. I have known people who are pursuing core but don’t have that high CGPA. Scoring good marks in an exam is a different skill, and this skill is not required in the industry. If you have an interest in the core, you should definitely give it a try. Obviously, you need to clear the cut-off of the companies. Anything near 8 is good enough.
Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? Eg- any additionals you took, online courses, etc.
I had stayed in KGP during the summers of my 2nd year. I had attended the VLSI workshop organized by Prof Mrigank Sharad. Nowadays, he has stopped organizing the workshop due to some reasons, I think. Though it did not directly influence my internship preparation, we learned a lot of new things, tried our hands-on simulation, and he was able to increase my interest in the topic, despite the scorching heat here during the summers.
What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds? How was the interview process?
In EC core, only two companies (TI and Nvidia) come on day 2. The next is Qualcomm, which comes in the 3rd/4th week. To be honest, I had no idea what I would have done if I had not gotten the TI offer. I had only prepared for the analog profile. But I think, since the core companies come at some intervals, one should prepare entirely based on the respective company. As far as TI analog is concerned, it is necessary and sufficient to read Razavi. It covers all topics which may be asked in the test/interview in some detail. Razavi even helped me during the internship. I had contacted a senior regarding the type of questions that are usually asked in PI. They usually check the basics. Questions from RLC circuits, amplifiers, negative feedback, and basic Fourier transform are their favorites. The company even gives a list of topics that the student is expected to know.
What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?
Stick to a particular book for a particular profile. Try to understand the smallest details. Keep your basics very clear. Reach out to your seniors.
What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?
This place has a lot to give. Make memories. Be kind.