CQ_Core_Combat | Seelam Shiva Surya | Western Digital | EE

Seelam Shiva Surya
Placed at Western Digital

Interviewed By: Sadhvika

Hello Surya! This is Sadhvika from Communiqué. Heartiest congratulations on being placed at Western Digital. Should we begin our discussion?

Thank you Sadhvika! Yeah, sure, let’s have a discussion. Please go ahead.

How did you decide to go in the core profile, considering that coding and data are the most discussed?

The answer to your question; I did prepare for the coding interview, mostly algorithms part, but most of my seniors and friends were into core profiles, so I didn’t prefer coding. My profile included coding in core profiles. So I had prepared for both of them.

What was the general interview process (number of rounds, questions asked, topics they questioned about in each round, etc.) for the companies that you aimed for?

I mainly aimed for core profiles only, especially the embedded core electronics profiles. I was shortlisted for two companies; Enphase Solar Energy PVT LTD and Western Digital. Western Digital had the prerequisite of a CGPA above 7.5 to appear for their exam. They considered our performance in their exam interview only. They verified all that was relevant in my CV in the interview itself. I had completed an online course on Verilog, which is very useful for embedded core electronics, especially for FPGA and IC designing. They had asked me questions regarding this as it was relevant to their company. On the other hand, Enphase focused more on the CV. I went through four rounds for Western Digital, where they ask basic digital electronics questions. For this, you should be thorough with the things taught in your courses and Verilog coding. The second round was the Analog profiles, where I was asked questions taught in class, and also, you should be updated on the new technologies in Analog. Reading some research papers would do good. The third round was with the Director, where they asked some HR questions and some theory questions. Here they verified all that was mentioned on your CV. The final round was the HR round. In Enphase, I got shortlisted for an embedded core electronics profile. I had two rounds of interviews. The first one was software-based, and the second one was based on core electronics and HR round. In the first round, they asked questions on the much-talked topic; the Internet of Things.

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?

The cutoff for core profiles is very high, around 8–8.5. Some companies like Nvidia have their cutoff above 9. So to qualify for their written exams, you need a high CGPA. The most important thing for core profiles is that you must be thorough with all your concepts. The questions asked are very similar to the ones asked in college vivas. A CGPA of about above eight is considered good enough.

Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? E.g.- any additional subjects you took, online courses, books etc.

It is highly recommended to do some additional work apart from your course. For example, we have two courses; Analog electronics and digital electronics. Apart from that, I advise students to take up the course in semiconductor physics for the second year and the course for VLSI engineering in the third year in the EC department. Usually, students from the electrical engineering department won’t have these courses, but I advise them to take these courses as additionals or electives. One more course by Professor Ashish Maity called Analog Signal Processing in the autumn semester and Mixed-Signal Processing in the spring semester. The topics discussed in these courses are directly related to the placement interviews. There is another course called SMPC, which is for power electronics profile that could prove very helpful.

What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?

Yes, the profiles are completely different, so we have to change our strategy for preparation. For Western Digital, I revised Verilog from the online course I did and for Enphase power electronic notes. As I mentioned earlier, you also need to be updated with the latest technologies. So for that, you can follow the companies on LinkedIn or browse the companies webpages. Companies update their feed with their latest technologies. Like if you subscribe to Texas Instruments, you’ll receive mail from them informing you about the latest technologies regularly. Referring to a research paper is optional, but subscribing to such companies would provide you with a good source if you wish to do so.

It is generally said that there are fewer opportunities in the core sector than non-core sector. Is this the case, and is if so, what are the options we should look out for and focus on?

Opportunities in core profiles are indeed minimal. I did my internships in software profile with Samsung. So I advise not to rely entirely on core profiles but also prepare for software profiles too. In software, knowledge about data structures and algorithms would be enough. This helps you in case you don’t get placed in a core profile. It would help if you also kept in touch with your seniors so that you are also able to apply off-campus.

What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?

The only advice I would give is that be thorough with whatever your professors teach you. I have observed a lot of the juniors to be worried about placements. I would tell them that there are a lot of opportunities ahead. Even if you don’t get placed in campus interviews, you can always apply for off-campus ones, appear for the GATE exam, etc. You focus on what you need to do right now, and you’ll get what you wish for.

What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?

For the time being, they should take care of themselves from COVID. Also, keep improving your interpersonal skills by engaging in hall activities. For getting experience, contact a professor and take up a project under them. You have to mail the professors and talk to them to take up a project. And there are no criteria whatsoever for taking up a project. Professors do not consider your CGPA to give you an assignment. You have to keep your concepts clear to complete the project. This would give you a significant advantage as you’ll learn a lot in these activities. There will be many people learning data and programming around you, but I never really took much interest in it. I took up a project under a professor at the starting of the third year and learned everything from there.

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