University: University of Southampton
Degree Course: MEng Electronic Engineering with AI
What appeals to you about Electronics?
Electronics provides me with freedom and flexibility as well as a never-ending source of new knowledge waiting to be acquired. The fact that it has such variety of applications means there is a complete freedom to choose a specific area and later on transfer to another – after all the underlying skills are the same: hard work, curiosity, and a desire to learn and create. By choosing to pursue electronics I knew I will never get bored and will always be able to find a new challenge to tackle.
Why did you want a scholarship with Synopsys?
At University we were given an IC design project that created more questions than answers for me, and made me want to learn a lot more about the IC design industry. When I was applying for placements, Moortec (now acquired by Synopsys) stood out to me as a semiconductor company working on in-chip monitoring and sensing at each stage of a chip’s lifecycle. For me, this meant all my questions about the IC industry could be answered by experts in the field.
What also interested me was the fact that they were a relatively small company so this could allow me to work on a variety of projects with a wide range of teams, and thus expose me to the inner workings and structures of a business. I didn’t expect to receive so much more than I was looking for. I got to work in a company with a brilliant culture encouraging work to life balance and being a well-rounded individual within an organisation with a clear vision. I worked with a friendly team of knowledgeable experts on an innovative product that helped Moortec to be acquired by Synopsys halfway through my placement.
The acquisition was the highlight of my placement, allowing me to experience working for both a small company and a large corporation that is at the forefront of innovation.
What type of work have you been involved with during your placement?
Maybe the biggest lesson I received during my placement was what happens during and after an acquisition. Before the acquisition, I was not aware of how often this happens during the career life of the average engineer, and I did not realise the tremendous work that goes into creating a smooth transition. Being able to experience my first instance of working for a company that is being bought by another in the safe position of an intern allowed me to observe the process more rationally and critically. During my placement, I was involved in variety of projects, ranging from hardware circuit prototyping to writing scripts and System Verilog code to aid with various tasks related to the transition from one company to the other. Due to the acquisition, I got the opportunity to use different types of version control systems, automation tools, and simulation software from different vendors I might have otherwise not gotten the exposure to.
What are your interests outside of work?
I like keeping myself busy and entertained and love trying new hobbies all the time. Every year I join a new club at university and so far, have taken up surfing, kitesurfing, breakdancing, basketball, climbing, skateboarding, powerlifting, and rowing to name just a few. I love spending my free time travelling and taking photos of my trips. My favourite trips involve getting lost in the mountains and wild camping with mates.
When at home, I like sketching and listening to rap. I am also currently trying to learn French and looking to start studying Norwegian after.
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Ben is a Physical Design Engineer at Graphcore and in 2021 won the RAEng Young Engineer of the Year. Here he shares his journey so far, and tells us why he chose to pursue Electronic Engineering: