Electronic Design

Go To DAC, For Your Career's Sake . . .

In order to have a long and successful career in the electronic design industry—whether you are a designer, engineering manager, or executive–there are three essential activities that you should do. First, enhance your skills and knowledge. Secondly, network with your peers. And last, monitor market trends. Unfortunately for many of us today these are the very activities that get postponed indefinitely while we take care of the immediate deadlines and crises of our workdays. The 45th Design Automation Conference (DAC), held June 8-13 in Anaheim, CA, provides the entire electronic design community with an invaluable opportunity to work on all three key areas for our careers, and as a result, make ourselves better able to contribute to the long-term success of our employers as well.

In electronic design, more so than other fields, we are challenged to stay abreast of the latest developments in our own special areas of focus, much less the related ones. Attending DAC is a great way to get access to this information to enhance your own knowledge. DAC offers one of the world’s most prestigious technical conferences. This year’s technical program features 138 papers, selected from 639 submissions. The resulting 36 technical sessions organized into six tracks including multi-core, system-level design, design for manufacturability (DFM), and verification—so whatever your area of interest, it’s covered here. In addition to the technical conference, DAC attendees can choose from the 14 workshops, six full-day tutorials, and six vendor-presented hands-on tutorials offered during DAC for more in-depth, concentrated learning opportunities.

For design engineering managers, this year DAC’s Management Day will be an excellent opportunity for learning and networking. The sessions will feature presentations from seven notable leaders of major fabless companies and independent device manufacturers (IDMs) sharing some of their own trade-off analysis and decision criteria in dealing with issues such as the move to new technology nodes, optimizing for high-volume production, and addressing power constraints.

Attending DAC is one of the most efficient ways to accomplish my second recommended activity for career success: networking with your peers in the industry. By participating in conference sessions, attending panel discussions and visiting the exhibit floor you will be mingling with the thousands of leaders from assorted markets, technical areas, businesses, and idea founders come together at DAC. Whether meeting with former colleagues, potential partners or customers, or new contacts, DAC attendees make invaluable connections with those who share their interests.

Developing networking as a business skill is part of the agenda for the 13th Workshop for Women in Design Automation (WWINDA), held June 9 at DAC. This year the popular half-day session will address “Networking, Negotiation and Nonsense: Achieving Career Balance in an Unbalanced World,” to provide attendees with information and insights on how to successfully and happily navigate their careers. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Mar Hershenson, vice president of product development, Custom Design Business Unit, Magma Design Automation.

My third recommendation for career success, monitoring market trends, is something that some engineers might not think of as important for their roles, yet I would argue it’s as critical as maintaining current technology knowledge. With close to 250 companies represented, the DAC exhibit floor is a snapshot of the entire electronics industry. Visiting the booths and attending the DAC Exhibitor Forum will allow attendees to get a sense of the current trends in the electronics landscape and may lead to valuable insights that inform business and career decisions.

So do something good for your career and your company and visit DAC this year to maintain your technology knowledge, build your network and gain market insights—all in one place. I look forward to seeing you all in Anaheim.

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