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How does a recent grad find a job doing hardware design?

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catseye:
Hi, I'm about to graduate from TU Dresden with a master's in electronics engineering.

My main focus was wireless communication systems, which turned out to be a lot of software and little hardware.
I do have an interest in hardware design though as it was what got me into EE In the first place. I do know a couple of programming languages and my 6 month internship was more on the continuous integration infrastructure / investigation of some OFDM extensions for 5G.

I've started to look for jobs recently and I'm facing the problem that most hardware design jobs want 5+ years relevant experience which makes me wonder how a recent grad gets into a hardware design job in the first place? It's a chicken and egg problem.
I didn't really get that much experience with expensive tools (Altium, VNAs, Specans etc.) that just aren't  available to the hobbyist/students. The Professors and PhDs at University won't let you touch the equipment because they're afraid you'll break their 100k+ VNA.

Is the 5+ years experience just a scare tactic? Otherwise I really don't see any recent grad positions that aren't software jobs.

Finally, if you know of some companies in the Berlin area that are hiring? The only one I'm really aware of is Tesla in Grünheide.

tszaboo:
They ask for 5 year experience, because they want someone who can do a project from start to finish. Meaning that they expect you to know what to do, and concentrate on the engineering. It is possible at smaller companies that you would be the only EE, with zero help or oversight. It's not just routing the boards, there are a lot of experience in component selection, negotiating with suppliers, maintaining a version control system, legal documentation or certifying the product to some standard (and nobody will tell you which one you actually need)
They are clearly not a junior position. If I see a junior apply to a more senior position, I throw that CV away.

Go for a company with a larger engineering team. If they have 3-4 EE people, some maybe in their 40s thats usually OK. These companies often times dont advertise their jobs, but they employ head hunters for the job position. Or they have HR looking for jobs. Or they hire from university directly, job fare for example. Maybe ask around in the alumni as well.

You can get a student Altium license.

And yes, there is an buttload of software jobs nowadays. As an alternative tactic, you can start as a FW engineer, and then go into a HW job. Maybe within the company, or you accumulate some experience so they dont immediately send you away. Hardware takes more knowledge than software (some people will disagree but whatever).

catseye:
Thank you for the reply.


--- Quote from: NANDBlog on March 13, 2021, 06:53:08 pm ---They ask for 5 year experience, because they want someone who can do a project from start to finish. Meaning that they expect you to know what to do, and concentrate on the engineering. It is possible at smaller companies that you would be the only EE, with zero help or oversight.

--- End quote ---

That sounds fair enough, still the question is, at some point a newbie has to get started somewhere. The positions I've been looking at also were bigger companies in the automotive sector so not a one-man engineering team type of shop.

tggzzz:
This kind of thing is often duscussed. My thoughts have included
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/equipment-for-ee-studentbeginner-hobbyist/msg692069/#msg692069
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/the-love-for-electronics-***********/msg1250648/#msg1250648
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/changing-career-from-it-to-electronics-at-24/msg929675/#msg929675
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/any-place-for-a-kid-in-an-electronics-job/msg620575/#msg620575

tszaboo:

--- Quote from: catseye on March 13, 2021, 08:03:50 pm ---Thank you for the reply.


--- Quote from: NANDBlog on March 13, 2021, 06:53:08 pm ---They ask for 5 year experience, because they want someone who can do a project from start to finish. Meaning that they expect you to know what to do, and concentrate on the engineering. It is possible at smaller companies that you would be the only EE, with zero help or oversight.

--- End quote ---

That sounds fair enough, still the question is, at some point a newbie has to get started somewhere. The positions I've been looking at also were bigger companies in the automotive sector so not a one-man engineering team type of shop.

--- End quote ---
I never worked at an automotive company, and I dont think I want to. I had a job interview with Bosch. They wanted to place me into a group of engineers, their 3 year project was making a 12V BMS with CAN. Measures the voltage and current and all that.

I probably could draw something on the spot that would do the job. But for them this is a huge job with thousands of man hours to do. There will be like a months spend by a poor guy trying to optimize out a resistor. Because they sell 10 million of them, and the resistor costs 1 cent, so it is worth them to spend months trying to remove that resistor. It's not my kind of work, that is where creativity goes to die.

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