careers in cpu engineering?

tipoo

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ok so i'm in highschool and i am still pretty directionless in terms of my future. i do, however, have a keen interest in hardware specifications, particularly cpu/gpu, and i have been wondering if this may take me anywhere? the things i am concerned about are job availability (i live in canada) and the requirements to get into these sorts of programs. i get along in math, but i am not a super-genious in it, will that be a problem?
 

fletch420

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hi- if you want to enter into the semiconductor engineering field you have to choose from a short list of disciplines. The main ones are electrical and chemical engineering. If you want to work in R&D you will need a Phd in material science or a closley related discipline. I work for intel logic r-n-d and while VERY stressful it can be somewhat rewarding. If you are looking more at device design there are some other things to look at as well but since I work on the fab/process development side that is what I know more a bout.

cheers and good luck
 

cyprod

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I can tell you one thing, if you go into any kind of engineering, chemical or electrical, expect a fair bit of math. I had to go through diff eq for my BS in computer engineering. And I'll tell you this, though I studied chip design, AMD and Intel didn't offer anything in those areas unless you had at least a masters.
 

tipoo

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I can tell you one thing, if you go into any kind of engineering, chemical or electrical, expect a fair bit of math. I had to go through diff eq for my BS in computer engineering. And I'll tell you this, though I studied chip design, AMD and Intel didn't offer anything in those areas unless you had at least a masters.
well, i dont have to jump straight to them... are there many other jobs i could get with this type of education before i get a masters?
 

darkangelism

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the specifications are not just created its all based on what can be achieved at a price point with the technology available. Its not like they just say 3.0Ghz sounds like a good number and put out a chip at that speed. I would look at a math degree, computer or electrical engineering and a masters or doctorate in one or more of those areas. Then you would be the ones finding the limits of what can be done, or maybe an industrial engineering degree which would handle more of the manufacteruring side. But regardless your looking at a lot of math.
 

ATIisGhostlyblue

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try to work on your physical appearance so do look like a damn bill ny the science guy like every engineer ive ever met; i mean its ok to leave the pocket protector at home
 

InteliotInside

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During high school you'll definitely need to study Physics, Chemistry and maybe even Calculus (or at least Applicable). From there, you should contact Intel/AMD on what paths to take during Uni.

Good luck.
 

PCKid777

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Hey, I'm actually considering the same route as you. I've been accepted to UC Berkeley where I'm already planning to earn my degree in electrical engineering.

Otherwise, I am just about as "clueless/uninformed" about where to go from there...
 

Julian33

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I'd have loved to go into this field. I might have stood a chance of getting into it having a masters in computer science with some low level background, but unfortunately I'd have to move from the UK which I'm not willing to do :(

My best chance I guess is to try and get into ARM.... their R&D centre is in the UK I think. Don't think I can stick doing my current job (generic high level software development) for the rest of my life :p
 

cyprod

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well, i dont have to jump straight to them... are there many other jobs i could get with this type of education before i get a masters?
So you're going my method then. I'm hardly an expert in the area, I only graduated back in May. I would agree with what's been said before, ask the companies you're interested in what they want from a new hire. I know some guys who worked as interns for Intel, that's always a huge help getting in the door, though don't fool yourself into thinking just because you've got an internship with them that they'll actually hire you. Only about 50% of my friends actually got hired onto the companies they had internships with.

As another word of advice, make sure you learn how to program as a fall back option. There's not a lot of jobs in hardware, and it's been said many times over that software is where the real money is anymore. Within my company there's been a huge reversal of outsourcing of software jobs due to problems with India and China not getting stuff done on time and to a decent level of quality. I'm a hardware engineer by study but working as a software engineer, which places me as being extremely valuable in my company because though I primarily program, if somebody needs some hardware built or diagnosed, they can come to me.

Another bit of advice, don't be afraid to study stuff that you don't see the point of if it sounds interesting. I never saw the point of systems and signals, but then I got a job with Ericsson, now I'm damn glad I've got a background with systems and signals.
 

tipoo

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thanks for all the replys guys.

so exacly what kind of math will a hardware engineer have to do? will i need pre-cal in highschool?
as for software, i'm not so sure. maybe its just t.v and movies, but software engineering is made out to be realy boring and repetative. is this true?
 

fletch420

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a couple more things to consider guys.

First off you will need a masters/PhD for ANY of the larger companies to work in R&D at any real level of input these days.

second- plan where you want to go by research- some companies...like Intel for example will NOT hire ANY R&D engineers with experience. They only hire RCG's at this level. The purpose of this is to mold them the intel way and work the hell out of them and get the most out of their young energetic years and burnout is VERY high (5-7yrs). This may sound harsh but thats the price you pay for getting to the bleeding edge and if any of you fanboi's claim intel's not the bleeding edge you are kidding yourselves.

I applaud you for this path but be forewarned it stressful and demanding--yet somewhat rewarding.

cheers
 

NMDante

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As an MT, I will agree with the stress levels and the burnout. That's why we get sabbaticals every 7 years. It's not a job for someone who is easily rattled, that's for sure. I've seen a few pretty good engineers just burn out pretty quickly, and leave.

Now, I'm just a FAB grunt, but we do see a lot of the effects of pressure, and we get the stuff that rolls downhill mostly, but those engineers aren't just sitting around, believe me. No matter how much I jab them about not doing much, they are some of the smartest people I've ever met.
 

MU_Engineer

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Don't worry about getting a job if you end up getting an engineering degree. Engineering degrees are not all that easy to get compared to other degrees and employers know that. But also don't be surprised if you aim to go into a job in one engineering field and end up somewhere totally different. That's what happened to most of my fellow classmates as they've graduated. With the exception of the other folks who went to graduate or professional school like me, I think maybe two people out of 30 every year end up working in exactly what they started school for. I'm a biological engineer, which is basically a catch-all for people who want to do engineering but don't exactly know what kind of engineering. Technically most people like to do medically-related things when they're a BE but we take pretty much a little bit of everything, ranging from the basic MAE classes to all of the biochem and organic, process/industrial engineering classes, fluids and some civil stuff, as well as more-than-basic programming and some EE stuff. I personally like it a bunch as I get to have my hands in a little bit of everything and get a broad knowledge of a lot of different engineering fields. The credits are a little high- I'll have something like 150 when I graduate as I didn't try to squeeze out some of the not-actually-but-technically-optional classes.

But to tell the truth, it does not matter what you do as long as you at least minimally enjoy it. I had a guy in my classes that was like the other 98% of my classmates and wanted to go into medical device design because that's the "new and hip thing" and also quite lucrative. He's now designing bridges and sewer lines instead of bone scaffolds and stents. But he couldn't be happier as for the most part, engineering is engineering. Lots of engineers also never do a day of actual engineering in their lives. I know several pretty well that got hired on to supervise engineers and other workers. They simply became managers and worked their way up the corporate ladder like any other business-school grad did. The big difference is that somebody with a BBA doesn't get paid nearly as well as somebody with an engineering degree, probably because the engineer can go out and get another job that does pay more while business-school grads tend to have to work their way up the ladder a bit more before they can command much of a salary. Pay their dues, so to speak, because most don't pay nearly as much of those in college as hard science students do.

If you decide that you don't want to do engineering after you're done, then you still have good prospects. Any graduate or professional school, especially those in sciences, will be happy to take on an engineer as most engineers that would be less than hard workers have been weeded out by the second semester of undergrad. The grad or professional schools will even go as far to let engineering students in who have a little lower grades than other majors simply because the curriculum really is hard. A 3.5 GPA in engineering and As and Bs in science classes will make for a good application for medical school, whereas a biology major with only a 3.5 GPA will likely get their app placed in the circular file.
 

dragonsprayer

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how to mess up your computer engineering degree 101:

first let the ceramic engineer head talk u into ceramic engineer since its the basis of most parts in a computer and all electronics. now called material engineering

second, not transferring to electrical engineering as planned

third, getting a job designing high temperature exotic concrete

forth, have field virtually eliminated by global competition and illegal trade wars sanctioned by your own USA government

last, build computers for fun then try to make a living at it!

stay tuned for 201 section - how to loose money and work 7 days a week in the computer business!

world economics 301 - the WTO or world trade organization is the world vs. usa - how to dump anything in the usa and get away with it.

global trade 401 - ....

economics for the rich and privileged - how to buy the usa government to benefit 1% of the population.......


Does any realize if ever make $200 grand you pay more taxs then millionaire down the street. yes the amt top tax rate peaks around $200k
welcome usa -government for business by business
 

-xyzak-

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If You consider Yourself smart (and score within the best 10% percent of Your mates in biology/physics/chemistry/maths) go for materials/electrical engeneering and try getting a second degree in 'management', even from a less known institution. I know it sounds drastic and like a big sacrifice (which it really is) but that broad education can actually set your price in gold per pound of flesh.

Anyway - don't listen to me - try calling headhunting agencies which work closely with the semiconductor business and ask them about the education actually in demand. Those people will be more than happy to provide You with the information and assure You that they are 'teh best' and 'whatnot' (You would not believe the insane premiums on placements).

Good luck with Your education. I fucked up my choice and went the easy way with a masters in marketing and now am slowly worming my way into IT, and btw. I'm starting tomorrow at Reuters 8)
 

ryman554

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If you want to *lead* and be impactive, you've gotta put your time in somewhere. Either:

a) get your PhD in anything scientific. It doesn't much matter what as long as you keep the big picture in mind. PhDs (engineering in particular) are notorious for knowing a single thing well, but nothing else. Try Physics/Chemistry/Materials instead of pure engineering. Make an effort to stay interdisciplinary and you'll do fine. The key is in not being an expert in what you're doing. It's being able to converse in what everybody else is doing, too, and to see where your project fits into the grand plan.

b) get a BS and work in a start-up. You'll learn all you need to (or want to) on the front lines.

In both cases, life is hell for 6+ years until the payoff.

But, let's step back -- to get there, you need to get into a good college (again, good, not necessarily top notch if you do some real research and interactions with professors while you're there. Not TAs.) Work hard in school. Don't be afraid to ask questions or for help. Builds necessary networking skills, if nothing else. While in college, refuse to be a memorizer; understand the why over the how.

To get into a "good school".. take the hard classes in high school (as much science and math as you can). Take some community college courses if they let you. Use your english/history classes to learn how to write an essay and to critically think. Pick a single extra-curricular (sports team, government, club) and be able to show leadership there.

And then have faith. Have confidence (not arrogance) that you can do anything you set your mind to... with that background, you can.
 

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