Andrew Kinane

Design Engineer, CréVinn

Job Design Engineer
Employer CréVinn, Dublin
Education Bachelor of Engineering Electronic Engineering (2002), PhD in Low Power Electronics for Multimedia Devices, Dublin City University (2006)

Toward the end of my PhD at DCU, a lecturer advised me of a potential vacancy at a silicon design and specification specialist in Dublin, so I sent in my CV. I had two interviews – one in Dublin and one in Galway – before being offered my job.

I've been working as a design engineer at CréVinn for around two years. At the moment I'm working in a team of three on a large verification project, which involves implementing a big test bench to test a standard. A test bench is typically a big suite of software that is used to verify the correctness of a specific implementation of a standard. We use the latest in electronic design automation (EDA) tools and methodologies to create and run these tests. We’re just coming to the end of the modelling stage on this project, so the next few months will be all about writing tests for features.

The tools and languages that I learned during my PhD are the ones I use in my work – EDA tools such as those provided by Synopsys and Mentor, and languages including System Verilog and C++. When I started my job I began at a level of experience and pay equal to four years of professional experience, so my PhD has proved invaluable in many ways.

There is usually a suite of tests that I kick off overnight – random tests to stress what we've already designed – and in the morning there’ll be a report waiting for me in my inbox. I'll start my day by going through it and working out what areas need fixing. Any time left over is spent on other projects, for example implementing some specific feature in the test bench by coding up a model in a programming language.

We're a small company – there are only six of us in Dublin and another seven in Galway. Working for a small business means that I get really varied experience. On the flip side, sometimes I won't get to finish projects because I'm needed on something else, but I'm never pigeonholed in one particular task as I might be in a bigger organisation.

Advice for graduates

There is always a demand for good graduates in this industry, even if companies aren't actively advertising. Get your CV out there and get talking to people.