Career path as an Analog Design Engineer

Jun 19 54 Comments

I am a new grad with MS and I recently joined TI as an analog design engineer(<6 months). Looking at all the posts on Blind and people talking about switching over to SWE I wanted to know what a career in Analog IC design looks like in terms of WLB and compensation 5-10years down the line.
I currently make a 120k TC in the bay area which is way lower than new grad SWEs. Is it worth pursuing Analog Design or should I switch over to SWE? Or are there any other hardware roles that I can look into? I wouldn't say I am super passionate about analog design.

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TOP 54 Comments
  • Google wFatDuck2
    These views on jumping ship from hardware to software are short sighted and only makes sense under the assumption that the market for swe will remain as it is now (it won't supply will increase), in the long run salaries are determined by barriers to entry (it's why docs get paid so much). Barrier for entry level swe is leetcode, not the case for analog design. Do what you like, that is a better recipe for success and contentment..
    Jun 21 9
    • Berkeley Lab paba
      It sounds right, but when you have twice or three times difference in TC for HW and SW overall, when wlb are much better for swe in general, living in a high cost of living area, your choices are tight. I see very smart people work in hw, making less than 150k between the age of 30 to 40. Can’t afford a house, or can’t afford the 4 hour daily commute.
      Jun 21
    • Oracle strong20
      Not exactly. The reason swe salaries are so high is not because there aren't enough swe's. If that was the case google would not be harder to get into than Harvard. It's actually the low barrier to entry for new companies. Look at how many options a swe has in terms of companies they can work for versus an analog ic designer.
      Jun 21
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      You think hardware docs are paying much? Do you know that many offers from flag for ms are much higher than hardware docs? These hardware docs are all from Berkeley, Stanford and other top universities which needs 4-6yrs of research experience and publication on top journal. Swe ms only takes 1-2 years!!! Why smart young engineers still doing hardware if they know the difference?
      Jun 22
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      I encourage young people to jump the ship. The need for software will always much higher than hardware in see-able future. Also many hardware mangers got to their position after hard time. So they will not give high pay or bonus to you easily. You need to prove that you are better or close to their level and give you some rewards. Looking at your boss’s level, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
      Jun 22
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      BTW I am in hardware and still paid well because it is apple. But the effort need to spend on work is much more compared with swe. With similar effort, I would easily make extra 30-40% compared with my current pay. But I am not at the age that can easy jump the ship. Another reason is that I am good at what I am doing which kinds traps me into hardware. If my performance is poor from beginning, I would have switched the boat a few years ago.
      Jun 22
    • Berkeley Lab paba
      @jkapsfz, Very good inputs. How old are you? >40?
      Jun 22
    • Berkeley Lab paba
      I feel like the managers or even directors I see in hw are not the smartest guys though, but very well experienced folks.
      Jun 22
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      Less than 40 but it is still too late to switch and be very good at it. If it is purely engineering work, I prefer to stay. If I need to jump, I would go to system level and start up company. Swe doesn’t make much difference for me considering the efforts needed for switching. The original post is from a TI guy I assume. His current pay is ok but will stay the same for a while. So switching to swe is very good choice if he/she doesn’t have very clear picture in hardware.
      Jun 22
    • Google wFatDuck2
      Docs as in medical doctors! Not PhDs, doctors get paid well cause the barrier to entry to medicine is long/high (4+5 or whatever). Whereas for most (non surgical or emergency medicine docs) their job is easy as fuck. Easily replaceable by AI in the next couple of decades, there is no special skill just hard work and memorization. But starting salaries are 200k+.

      My point was thinking the status quo with current salary disparities will remain is short sighted. It will likely lessen, instead of predicting or gambling on that, doing what one likes and is good at it will work Much better in my opinion.
      Jun 22
  • Microsoft wndws
    Much difficult if you are on VISA. Lately VISAs are being rejected of your profession doesn’t match up your masters degree.
    Jun 20 4
    • OP
      Will VISA be a problem even if I have an Electrical and Computer Engineering Masters and a few courses in CE? And I'm on OPT so that shouldn't be a problem right?
      Jun 20
    • Marvell Engeneer
      True. I mean VISA will be a problem.
      Jun 20
    • Berkeley Lab paba
      How come in OPT it is not a problem? You still need to prove what you are doing is relevant in green card application.
      Jun 20
    • Microsoft wndws
      These days i hear ppl getting RFE for opt extension too asking to explain - if you manage to show some relevant course work to current job then you are good. A civil engineering masters degree being a SWE is definitely an issue
      Jun 20
  • Microsoft vCuU53
    When I got my first job as SWE out of college in Bay Area, my base salary was less than 100k and TC less than 110k. In my opinion, blind posts can be misleading and make it look as if all SWE jobs pay well.
    Jun 23 2
    • Google wFatDuck2
      Thank you! Some more good sense. Blind posts about comp take with a table spoon of salt
      Jun 23
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      Thanks for sharing your real data. It is another proof that swe being paid more. You know how much hardware engineer get from college? They either get no real hardware job or something like 90k. After two or three years, you should be able to find 150-200k+ with stock included if joining flag. But hwe with undergraduate degree will stay at their pay level for very long time. Also analog designer usually doesn’t take undergraduate or even ms nowadays. The pay I am talking about is for undergraduate from top universities.
      Jun 23
  • Broadcom Ltd. VYSC68
    Analog industry is pretty mature in general. And it depends on opportunity to learn some insights.
    I would suggest you talk to some very senior people in SW industry and select a topic which has relative high bar. If a job can be taken by 6 month leecode, I would say it is low job security.
    Jun 20 2
    • OP
      From what I have seen it looks like it could be years before I become a worthy individual contributor. Is this true?
      Jun 20
    • Broadcom Ltd. VYSC68
      5-6 years
      Jun 21
  • Intel / Eng BigRoach
    Over the long run, the type of work that makes you happy will outweigh any TC. But here is the catch, you need to taste multiple plates before you know what you love
    Jun 20 2
    • Intel / Eng p2p jitter
      I totally agree. 120k is kind of low in the Bay Area. Maybe jumping back and forth in a few years
      Jun 20
    • Apple lithiumbat
      I thought my 80k was low...
      Jun 24
  • TI drz.pm
    Jump ship mate! Get out of TI as soon as you can -- go be an IC designer or other hardware role at a FANG company and start studying for the coding interviews right away. Then make the switch to SWE as soon as you're ready. Or stay at TI earning less while you prepare for the coding interviews. Your call how you approach it, move on!

    TI has been moving in a direction to reduce the tools and assistance available to engineers, making them do more of the work that other companies take care of you so that you can focus on your job (technician work, project management/scheduling, purchasing, shipping stuff, etc.). If you have the skillset and will enjoy SWE, move in that direction.

    I've been at TI 12 years, 6 in the Bay Area.
    Jun 23 1
  • Apple onepunch
    We still need people that make hardware!
    Jun 21 1
    • Apple Jkapsfz
      True statement: we need more hardware engineers asking for lower pay.
      Jun 22
  • Google / Creative ludiclif
    I’ve been trying to be a Design Engineer and/or Creative Technologist. The spots are few and far between, most are temporary contract work. I wish I had just gone SWE.
    Jun 20 0
  • Microsoft huop61
    I had 6 year of experience in Analog design and finally desired to move to SWE. If you are planning to move do as early as possible. Yes SWE earn more than analog design engineer. WLB is better in SWE
    Jun 20 4
    • Marvell Engeneer
      How are you transitioning? Doing Masters again or some course? Do they consider applicants who did some course?
      Jun 20
    • Microsoft huop61
      Did some courses related data science
      Jun 20
    • Marvell Engeneer
      Oh okay nice.. Do they consider?
      Jun 20
    • Microsoft wndws
      Wouldn’t they treat you pretty much like a new grad though ?
      Jun 20
  • Marvell Engeneer
    What's your degree?
    Jun 20 4
    • OP
      MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering
      Jun 20
    • Marvell Engeneer
      Oh.. Okay.. Your major will be considered as electrical I guess although you have done in computer engineering. But you can show that you got skills as you said with your course work and some extra courses
      Jun 20
    • OP
      But I know a number of guys from my major who now work as SWEs in FANG. They all got their H1Bs.
      Jun 20
    • Apple waitingame
      If you have computer in your degree name, that’s sufficient for SWE h1B.
      Jun 21
  • Apple Jkapsfz
    Move to SWE when you are still so young now!!! You will never regret this decision in your whole life.
    Jun 20 1
  • Apple / Eng JonyCook
    120k is a joke. I was an analog IC designer like you, but after I switched my job my TC doubles
    Jun 22 3
    • Analog Devices oIsp73
      Do you still do IC design at Apple ?
      Jun 23
    • Apple / Eng JonyCook
      nope
      Jun 23
    • Analog Devices oIsp73
      What role did you move to that doubled your TC ? SW role ?
      Jun 23
  • Apple public2.
    Can you break down your TC? 120k as base seems about right for new grad in Bay Area.
    Jun 21 3
    • OP
      120k is not the base. 100k base +20k profit sharing
      Jun 22
    • Apple public2.
      How much RSU did you get? 80k?
      Jun 24
    • OP
      No RSUs
      Jun 24
  • OP
    How about opportunities in Hardware Accelerators like FPGA engineers in HFT and similar roles? How could I equip myself for those kinds of roles and what does the growth and future look like?
    Jun 20 1
    • Apple waitingame
      If either TC or WLB matter to you, get out now.
      Jun 21
  • Google bittrtwtrr
    Go work on hardware at FANG. Doesn't have to be design..could be pm, pgm, ops supply chain...swes don't seem to be taught shit about hw or physics these days so their is value here
    Jun 23 0
  • Berkeley Lab paba
    Wlb can be rough, or TC is very low in HW. Switch fast or wait until you really think you want to.
    Jun 19 0
  • Oracle strong20
    TC is lower and wlb is generally worse as well.
    Jun 19 0