Careers in the electronics industry often mix opportunities and pitfalls. The opportunities are endless, perhaps even including the chance to create and lead a world-class technology organization. But the cyclical nature of the industry creates many pitfalls, including being laid off from your favorite job and not being able to find another like it.
One way to avoid the pitfalls and prepare for the opportunities is to work for a company that’s recognized as a top employer. Thus, we present our second annual list ranking the top 50 employers overall (pulled from a list of the top 98 companies; see “The Methodology Behind Our Choices” at www.electronicdesign.com, Drill Deeper 19019) (Table 1). We also compiled a list of all the employers from the electronics OEM sector that made it into the top 98 (Table 2).
Last year’s leader, Apple Inc., prevailed again. After that, the list bears little resemblance our 2007 tally. Some companies moved up the list dramatically, while others dropped down. Yet all 50 companies are standouts in the industry and worth a look if you want to validate your own position or consider new possibilities. In fact, if you know of any engineering students who are about to enter the workforce, you may want to pass this article along.
All of the companies on this list are public companies. That’s because we relied on financial data for our calculations. Public companies make all of their financial information available via annual reports and other sources, whereas private companies usually don’t.
We also focused on public companies since it’s often hard to know what you’re getting into when you hook your career wagon to a private company, whether it’s an established firm or a hot startup. Furthermore, we omitted other possible employers like universities and government agencies, since their non-profit nature excludes them from many of our criteria. Still, the top 10 companies are all familiar names that offer plenty of opportunities.
The iPod. The iPhone. The iMac. Our top employer is i-everywhere (Fig. 1). Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Apple designs, manufactures, and sells personal computers, portable digital music players, and mobile communication devices, as well as related software, services, peripherals, and networking solutions worldwide.
Its success is indisputable, with $7.51 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2008. Apple also posted a net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion for the quarter, or $1.16 per diluted share. It shipped 2,289,000 Macintosh computers and sold 10,644,000 iPods as well. And don’t forget the 1,703,000 iPhones it moved, too.
Apple hires seasoned pros as well as college or grad school graduates in all of its departments, including Mac hardware engineering, software engineering, applications, and even iPod engineering. According to the company, you’ll find a career there both challenging and inspiring. And why not, with charismatic CEO Steve Jobs at the helm? You can start your job search at www.apple.com/jobs/us/index.html.
By bringing its systems, software, services, and solutions together, EMC helps its customers design, build, and manage intelligent, flexible, and secure information infrastructures. Its broad line of tiered storage platforms and technologies provides a comprehensive range of performance, scalability, functionality, and connectivity options. Also, its robust line of information infrastructure software addresses archiving, backup and recovery, business continuity and availability, collaboration, content management, data mobility and migration, resource management, and virtualization.
EMC ranks among the 10 most valuable technology companies, and it needs a diverse, driven team of talented employees. The job search for designers begins at www.emc.com/about/jobs/index.htm, with opportunities for students and recent grads as well. EMC’s world headquarters is in Hopkinton, Mass.
JUNIPER NETWORKS INC.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Juniper Networks designs, develops, and sells network infrastructure products and services, with an emphasis on information routing and data security. These products accelerate the deployment of services and applications over a single IP-based (Internet Protocol) network. Juniper operates in three segments: infrastructure, service layer technologies (SLTs), and service.
Job opportunities can be found at www.juniper.net/jobs/index.html. Juniper was also among the top five movers on our list, vaulting from 65th place last year to number three this year, thanks to the hot telecommunications market as consumers demand faster and more powerful technologies. You can read more about how Juniper achieved this improvement in “Three Companies Make 2007 A Real Leap Year” at Drill Deeper 19020.
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ROCKWELL COLLINS INC.
Rockwell Collins, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, designs, produces, and supports communications and aviation electronics systems worldwide (Fig. 2). Operating in both the government and commercial sectors, available jobs can be found at www.rockwellcollins.com/careers/index.html. New graduates are welcome to apply to its workforce, which numbers about 20,000 worldwide.
On the government side, Rockwell’s products and systems include communication, navigation, and integrated systems for airborne, ground, and shipboard applications. On the commercial side, the company designs next-generation information and flight display systems that enhance flight crew performance as well as in-flight entertainment systems, including live, multiregion airborne TV, audio/video-on-demand, moving maps, real-time e-mail, and Internet access.
As well known as any company can be, Microsoft rules desktop computer operating systems and application software. But it also offers opportunities to work on embedded systems software, such as Windows CE, and a variety of consumer hardware, like the wildly popular Xbox 360 game console.
Headquartered in Redmond, Wash., Microsoft has offices and development centers worldwide (Fig. 3). Bill Gates is set to retire in July, but his legacy lives on. Explore, dream big, and learn more about what the company he and Paul Allen started can offer at www.microsoft.com/careers.
CISCO SYSTEMS INC.
Based in San Jose, Calif., Cisco Systems may seem to be first and foremost a router company. But it’s also adept at building other technologies, such as world-class telepresence systems (see “High- Def Video Brings Telepresence Into Focus,” ED Online 18244).
Since the company’s inception, Cisco engineers have been leaders in the development of IP-based networking technologies. Today, with more than 63,050 employees worldwide, Cisco creates industry-leading products and solutions in its core development areas of routing and switching, as well as in advanced technologies such as security, video, and storage networking.
Cisco sees a future where the network is the platform, advancing from a transaction-only system to real-time collaboration anytime and anywhere. Positions are available at www.cisco.com/web/about/ac40/about_cisco_careers_home.html, with programs available for interns and graduates.
A leading aerospace company dating back to the earliest days of flight, Boeing manufactures both commercial jetliners and military aircraft. In addition, the company designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles, and advanced information and communication systems. As a major service provider to NASA, Boeing operates the Space Shuttle and International Space Station as well.
Headquartered in Chicago, Ill., Boeing employs more than 160,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries. As the company states, by working at Boeing, you’ll not only be producing technological marvels, you’ll be making tomorrow better. You can check out the opportunities at www.boeing.com/employment, with interns and grads also welcome to apply.
Harris, an international communications and information technology company, serves government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Fla., it employs nearly 7000 engineers and scientists dedicated to developing best-in-class ensured communications products, systems, and services.
A job search begins at www.harris.com/harris/careers/default.asp. “Our people have the freedom to explore new ideas and work with cutting-edge technology,” the company says. “Harris is where individual ideas revolutionize industries. And where you can, too.”
It’s a classic American story. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, classmates at Stanford University, founded their eponymous company in 1939 in Palo Alto, Calif., with an audio oscillator they built in a garage. Still headquartered in Palo Alto, HP now operates in more than 170 countries around the world with business in personal systems, imaging and printing, and technology solutions.
Despite its cherished history, which includes efforts to restore that fabled garage, HP is looking at a future where three technologies will play a key role— the next-generation data center, always-on and always-connected mobile computing, and ubiquitous printing and imaging. If you’re interested in taking part in forging these new technologies, go to http://h10055.www1.hp.com/jobsathp/.
Last year was very good for KLA-Tencor, which surged from number 87 in 2006 to number 10 in 2007. It produces process-control and yield-management solutions for the semiconductor and related microelectronics industries, with an increased focus on the rapidly expanding data-storage arena. It now commands more than 50% of the market in process diagnostic and control equipment.
Based in San Jose and Milpitas, Calif., KLA-Tencor (Fig. 4) has combined revenues of $2.7 billion and a global workforce that totals more than 6000 employees, including sales and applications engineers, customer and field-service engineers, and yield-management consultants. To find out more about joining this team, go to https://ktcareers.kla-tencor.com/ps/welcome.html.
For profiles of key EOEMs, go to www.electronicdesign.com and enter the appropriate Drill Deeper number.
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