Switching from Back-end ASIC to Performance modeling/Computer Architecture/System level design.

Intel eidC20
Jun 21 26 Comments

I am currently working on Physical design/Physical design methodology. Over the last couple of weeks these few points are bothering me :
1. Disparity between SW and HW engineers TC.
2. Long term future of being a HW ASIC engineer.
3. Intel as a company not looking promising.

I am considering switching to a new role and want to take this opportunity and step in the right direction. I have the following questions :

1. Is moving to performance modeling/computer architecture domain be good move as a stepping stone to move into SW.
2. How difficult is it to switch to computer architecture domain internally.
2. What is the future of physical design engineers? Answer will me decide whether is worth to switch from my 3 years of Physical design expertise.

Experience : 3 years post Master's.
I had taken a couple of courses on Architecture in grad school. With correct preparations I would be able to crack the interviews.

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TOP 26 Comments
  • Apple sopq
    Im switching to swe directly. Been leetcoding for 3 months. Ill be ready in another 2 and ill never come back to this shitty semiconductor industry.
    Jun 21 0
  • Xilinx beinghumor
    Switch to software directly if that’s your end goal!
    Jun 21 1
    • Intel SUKB47
      I was hoping to use the HW expertise and transition to architecture level role first and then depending on how I like it , move to a pure SW role?

      Why do you suggest to move to Software directly ?
      Jun 21
  • Google anononly
    End of Moore’s law indicates customization is the solution to get perf. This is what David Patterson (ACM Turing recipient) told me when I was in grad school, and had a 1:1 chat in a conference. Few years later, he and his team at Google introduced TPU.
    Jun 21 5
    • Intel SUKB47
      I am sorry, what does that imply?
      Jun 21
    • I think he means more customized architecture will emerge and and hence more architecture jobs
      Jun 21
    • Google anononly
      ^ yes, exactly.
      Jun 21
    • Intel zink
      For every architect that designs a new architecture, there will be 10 swe's that program that architecture.
      Jun 22
    • Google anononly
      I agree; indeed I am SWE. But mastering skill sets in domain like compiler, ML framework take time. Often those require a PhD. Areas like architectural simulator, firmware or runtime are relatively easier to land IMHO.
      Jun 22
  • Lyft skewtree
    Why not just switch to software directly
    Jun 21 1
    • Intel SUKB47
      I was hoping to use the HW expertise and transition to architecture level role first and then depending on how I like it , move to a pure SW role?

      Why do you suggest to move to Software directly ?
      Jun 21
  • Apple tsrvbae
    At Apple the Platform Architecture team is one of most important HW teams to Apple. They designed the A series chips, the security T chip and now the Neural Engine. This team is very close to the SVP Johny Srouji and has good TC as compared to rest of HW at Apple. Looking at those folks I feel Apple has super smart HW engineers, they also have an Apple Fellow in that team. So this group at Apple could be a good place to work on next generation architecture as well as get good TC.
    Jun 22 0
  • Intel / Eng mr_pleb
    Move to software and cut the loses earlier. I don't see how doing a different hw job would help you.
    Jun 22 0
  • Nvidia tronp
    Architecture over SW any day. Processor architecture, Systems architecture is the cream. Run of the mill SW may not be in demand in the future when even high schoolers can code.
    Jun 21 2
    • Intel / Eng mr_pleb
      By that time you'll have AI that generates hardware. Facebook already published a paper with a network that adapts to the hardware it runs on.
      Jun 22
    • Intel fm5
      Lol listen to Nvidia and get locked in to tier 3 TC forever.

      Unless you can't code, there's no reason not to switch to SW and get paid 2-3x. Who knows what future holds, you can jump again in 10 yrs if SW fades out
      Jun 22
  • AMD qevbwn
    Dm me..I can guide you a bit
    Jun 21 0
  • Google dhtjfnc
    Started as a computer architect, three years of nowhere, then successful as SWE over next four years. Do the SWE thing directly.
    Jun 22 0
  • Intel Emu01
    Following up here
    Jun 21 0
  • Synopsys / R&D
    icared

    Synopsys R&D

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    MediaTek
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    Jun 21 1
    • Apple magikarp16
      There is a dedicated button on top to do this.
      Jun 24
  • Western Digital Seagate
    Switch to software directly, hardware is facing problem because of development risk and timespan. Company would rather pay for more units of standardized hardware and lose efficiency than risk going out of business on a dud.

    Software may get commoditized and pay cheapened too, but hardware is moving to China, Taiwan and S Korea and never coming back
    Jun 22 0
  • Broadcom Ltd. Tock Han
    I thought the experiment you build over the time will get you to architectural role. There is no shortcut to it
    Jun 22 0
  • Synopsys batm@N1
    Following
    Jun 21 0
  • Intel AwK@11
    I would like to know the answer to that as well. im in a similar position. Am not sure if moving to sw is ok as far as visa and greencard are concerned.
    Jun 21 0
  • Microsoft / Eng
    NPVCD

    Microsoft Eng

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    Just curious
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    Jun 21 0