Sometimes pool may appear smaller when analog enthusiast in pool ignored due to lack of experience.
One way to get experience is PhD, but then research guy finds professorship to be much better option than industry where his design delivery time will always be compared to faster design cycle in digital
Other option is start from digital hoping for switch later. But once in digital domain, they get attached to aura of working on leading edge node & ease of autmated design.
@kfield: Really speaking even I am finding answer to that question. But better to start career in something instead waiting for exact match for analog "transistor level design". One poosible field to later morph into I see is high-speed interfaces, memory control circuitry, etc.
Perhaps our friend here is fortunate enough to not have experienced what many others have.
Here in Canada I have worked for BIG internationals and small start ups. The BIG organizations keep you in the "pigeon" hole by force, implied or direct. Any attempt to cross train (your own time or company time) is considered insubordination and a sign of unrest. These are the same companies that pay lip service to the language of, "training", "professional development", and another big one is, "think outside of the box", but reality is very different. What they really mean is, keep doing your work; don't think so far outside of the box that you burst the wall of the box; you can push a little, but only VERY little on that wall. Movement within the organization or suggesting small reshuffling of responsibilities amongst your colleagues is also highly dangerous. Don't think, don't ask questions, just stay put (in your box) and deliver what is needed. NO discussion.
Secondly, if you are over about 35 years of age, you are finished. By that time you have either been over worked, and thus burned out, or, you are now perceived as a threat because you have energy left and they have discovered that you actually can think for yourself (not being a blind company man) and thus you do understand how the company (system) works. In either case you are no longer malleable (as a freshly minted graduate would be) and original thought is deemed dangerous to the company.
The small companies do want you to conduct, "professional development", but not on their time, and not in the portion of the day that they demand as overtime.
In either case, learning new ways of working (developing yourself) must be done quietly, on your own time.
Then comes the issue of applying what you have learned once you have gained some proficiency. How do you show on a resume legitimate work experience if you can't apply it where you presently work? The ONLY thing is to start your own business on the side. Lets face it, how often do you tell yourself that you may not develop professionally and apply it when it benefits your own bottom line?
So, with regard to the the question of too few or too many analog engineers; my experience is, plenty are willing, but only the young malleable few a tolerated for a while.
@@k@sh: "Other option is start from digital hoping for switch later" - analog engineers, is that possible that you could start with digital and morph into analog later?
It happened that way in my career to some extent. I was never hoping for the transition, but circumstances have moved me into more analog design. I would certainly not put down "analog engineer" on any job application, but I have seen some success on small analog projects and often have this overlap between analog and digital.
Typically I am an analog app-note designer. I start with an app note and move on from there.
I had considered making the transition but didn't pursue it. From a technical perspective, it's possible. The problem is that if you're paid as a senior digital engineer, you need to start from the bottom as a junior analog engineer -- no one wants to pay you at a senior level. There are some logical transition paths: do mixed signal verification or digital calibration circuits. The bigger question is if you actually want to do this. (I didn't -- while interesting, the semi sector sucks as an employee!)
By the way, having a digital background could be useful. Analog designers tend to have no ability to program or script which could make a designer much more productive. And, they could expand the solution domain to include small calibration circuits which are trivial for digital designers to implement.
@antedeluvian Thanks for your response. I think one of the big challenges in clustering all analog engineers into one big group as the focus and knowledge is incredibly varied. For example., while some people believe that the job market for basic circuit designers has shrunk considereably there is huge demand for analog engineers who know power. My next article should look not just at the field overall, but what skill sets are actually in demand (or not).
@cd2012 Thanks for pointing out the salary issue--so I think this raises the question of how engineers (and others in a huge swath of professions) can expand their skill set as they progress in their career without having to go back to Square 1. I saw in the publishing industry some people who were completely stuck in print - the companies still needed people to put out the print magazine, while everyone else was moving onto digital, incuding new hires.
IBM told me designs of RF front ends are getting increasingly complex thanks to the number of bands 4G LTE and WiFi keep adding on. Just wait until 5G and millimeter wave services. We definitely need those analog engineers!
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