Moving from ASIC to SW

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TKJO53

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Feb 12, 2018 11 Comments

I’ve been working in hardware/software for ASIC for 5 years, in the startup realm. My time is split between writing C++ for drivers and performance models and Verilog for chip design. Graduated from a top 5 CS/EE school.

I enjoy the C++ a lot more, and want to move into a pure software role but am having trouble getting interviews. Any tips? Thanks in advance.

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TOP 11 Comments
  • Google Zm7bHj
    It’s pretty hard to say why you’re not seeing interviews without seeing your resume but I’ve found that having a relatively pretty resume can make a huge difference on the SW side compared the resumes I’ve seen from Hardware people. No clue why that appears to be the case. Seems dumb but idk
    Feb 12, 2018 4
    • Google Zm7bHj
      Have you tried applying to roles closer to what you’re currently doing at larger companies then transferring ladders/roles?
      Feb 12, 2018
    • New / Eng
      TKJO53

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      OP
      Is it worth changing my title on the resume? Currently it says “hardware engineer” because that’s my internal title, although I work on low level software most of the time.
      Feb 12, 2018
    • Rally Health AQdI40
      I almost always tweak Job titles on my resume to suit the job when I'm applying
      Feb 12, 2018
    • Uber wrist
      I did the same move pretty early in my career, from ASIC -> Mobile SW (now settled on iOS). I set the headline on my resume to Hardware/Software Engineer and really emphasized the software work I did: writing kernel drivers, embedded C, python scripts, bash scripts, SystemC models, misc. tooling, before sending it around. I also did some small-time web dev on the side so that might have helped. Try to highlight the impact your software had, and throw in some software-friendly terms like git, mysql etc if you have had any experience with these.

      I also didn’t move immediately into a top tier software company, so learnt my chops at a second tier company before starting my own software startup, and ultimately ending up where I am now (~6 year journey). Some recruiters and interviewers really appreciate the varied background and the perspective it brings, but you still need to have strong CS fundamentals. Good luck!!
      Feb 12, 2018
  • Microsoft kng
    Go for embedded positions. They'll love your background
    Feb 13, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      TKJO53

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      OP
      Thanks for the suggestion. That’s something I’d be interested in, I think.
      Feb 13, 2018
  • Valve xyxV88
    Perhaps your resume is just nonstandard enough to fail to pass the first mechanical recruitment filters? The problems I've seen with people with your profile is no experience with large, complex userland projects. Even the definitions of complexity may sometimes be completely different between the two worlds. It's fairly different set of skills to architect(I'm assuming you're shooting for a senior role) pure software compared to writing drivers. Its possible and I think even normal to be very senior in one and, without realizing it, relatively junior in the other. Make sure to spend some time figuring out how to communicate your unique skills and talents and years of experience and how it can benefit your employer of choice, even though it may not fit their cookie cutter interview process. It may mean skipping the junior recruiters and going mainly for personal referrals, for example.
    Feb 12, 2018 0
  • Facebook
    alterego

    Facebook

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    Microsoft
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    alteregomore
    Or deep kernel level programming
    Feb 13, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      TKJO53

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      OP
      What are some good companies to get into that? I assume FANG have groups dedicated to that. I’m financially secure and don’t mind taking a pay cut or level cut to make a switch in career.
      Feb 13, 2018
  • New / Eng
    TKJO53

    New Eng

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    OP
    Funny story : my current role was supposed to be 100% software, but that didn’t happen once I started because of “resource constraints”. Large company might be a better idea, their roles are more siloed, versus the startup “do whatever you are asked to do “ mentality.
    Feb 12, 2018 0