I will be graduating this May with BSEE and have some analog background. I like to work on mixed-signal IC design but have found that most of the semiconductor companies want someone with an MS degree and experience. I have found a job at Analog Devices as a test engineer and will be working on mixed-signal ICs. I am planning to do a part-time MS at a nearby school, but it does not have good IC design program and it would take me four years to get the masters. I have a few concerns. If I work as a test engineer, will I have any chances to do IC design later in my career? Or should I work for a year or so and then continue full time on the MS if I really want to do IC design.
A mentor replies:
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Well, while I personally think all design engineers should have to spend a year or two in test . . .the fact of the matter is that it is hard to get people to work in test (due to perception that test is for the less capable, and the fact that most of us want to do design work), so once you're in test, you'll probably notice that you get shunted to other test jobs at job fairs, etc. (read, "been there, done that").
The other thing is, once you've had a taste of freedom from the academic grind (and a little money to play with), it's psychologically a lot harder to go back for the MS (especially after putting in full days at your job).
I guess my point is, if you want a Masters, get it now.