Meet a FPGA Engineer

Meet a FPGA Engineer

What inspired you to choose this career path?

I took a VLSI class in college and loved learning about the low-level details of chip design. The following semester I took an FPGA class and loved (even more) that I could implement my really low-level computer architecture ideas quickly by writing code for relatively inexpensive development boards. I like being able to see the results of my changes sooner than would otherwise be possible with a more ASIC-design focused approach. I also enjoy programming in higher level languages like C++ and C#, which I might not have as much time for if I were focused on ASIC design.

Tell us about a typical day in your life.

I leave my house at 7:45 and I’m at my desk by 8. I grab coffee and breakfast and catch up on email. I usually have a few dozen console prompts open with different projects in-progress. Throughout the day, I might be writing code for a new pipeline, trying to adjust existing code to improve timing, or lab testing a new build. Often times I’ll grab a conference room with a colleague to sketch out some ideas on a whiteboard while one or the other of us is trying to solve a problem.

What do you like best about working here?

There are a lot of smart people that I can count on and learn from. It’s very fast-paced and we use the latest technology. There’s a lot of willingness to try out new ideas and then enough people and infrastructure in place to take that idea to production and support it. Project execution is very pragmatic; there’s a good balance between project planning and just getting things done.