Really too few. It is hard to find them. Everyone likes to make apps and websites because investors love them. You get those big valuations and fast exits in months and not years. Also, analog seems hard for modern students. The fact you cannot automate it makes it not cool. So, we are not filing the pipelines well and as the legends retire, we may have challenges in the industry.
Sorry, I don't buy most of this. I remember being really annoyed early on in my career, when I heard managers over-specifying the skill set that diffrent types of engineers have. It's not right, it doesn't or shouldn't work that way, so forgive me for not seeing the problem here, except for one being created by the hiring managers themselves.
Ultimately, engineers have to mold themselves into whatever job they do. And more than that, any engineer who has worked for more than a handful of years MUST have noticed that even if they haven't changed jobs, their own work has changed over time.
Ultimately, analog design is part of digital design, for engineers actually involved in designing the circuits, even if in silicon. I can't see a problem here. Even if an engineer worked only with discrete components previously, why this urge to pigeon-hole? You simply update your skills, and the company shouldn't assume otherwise.
I hope the answer is too few... I'm a student concentrating in analog and started working in the semiconductor industry concurrently a few months ago. A lot of my coworkers recall when the industry was booming... YEARS ago! Someone even told me "I don't recommend becoming a design engineer. There's too many of them and they're the first to get laid off." Yikes.
@kcarreon You're in an ideal situation, suck up as much knowledge as you can from those experienced analog designers and keep in mind the guys who can make $50 to $250k doing a design in advanced materials. And I think "artisinal circuits" are the next big trend.
My last supervisor is a world class power supply designer (along with lots of basic analog knowledge). 5 years ago (at age 67) he left our place to retire. Since then he has been working two jobs, making far more than he ever made with us and loving every minute. He could have as many projects as he can handle.
I don't see lot of design work in Analog. Most of it now is modifications. Plus the analog IP reduce the need of too many analog designers. No body designs a new RF chip now. Only when a new standard comes. But getting good analog designers is difficult. The real desiign engineers. Otherwise there are many.
Agreed, re: reuse of IP and no one designing a new RF chip. Look at last week's announcement of Broadcom planning to exit the baseband industry. That means fewer RF and mixed-signal jobs in the industry.
At the last company I was with the analog designers were afraid of a "super" A/D that just samples the antenna and does everything else with DSP. I'm not sure how feasible it is power-wise, but people definitely want it, since digital scales with Moore's law and analog doesn't.
There will be some hotspots where people make lots of money, but nothing to make a 30 year career out of.
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