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HomeElectronics Engineer ‣ Interviews: Amit Chavan

Amit Chavan : Electronics Engineer

Amit Chavan is an electronics engineer specializing in electronic product design. His work revolves around analog/ digital circuits, design calculations and components selection, hardware testing & more. He explains in detail other aspects of his job profile:

Q
What is your current position, career focus and total years of experience?
A

I am an Electronics Hardware Design Engineer in Eaton Technologies, Pune. I have 5 years of experience in electronic product design and development from concept level. You may wonder, what electronic product design is. Well, a tractor, an airplane, a ship or any household equipment will have some electronics in it. What electronic product design does is to basically make a computer according to application and build peripheral electronics around it like a motor, indication light or a display etc. My work revolves around designing electronic products which meet the functional requirements and also different standards around the world.

My career goal is to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in electronics product design and I will always choose the technical path throughout my career. I would like to spend my time in the lab where we test our designs or on a computer where we simulate circuits before we built them. It’s all quite exciting for me.

Q
How did you get started in your career? What motivated you to get into this career?
A

My first company was KPIT Technologies which I joined shortly after my final year exam as a campus hire. I straight away got the opportunity to work on R&D and design development projects wherein we designed power electronics converters and battery management systems that was the perfect start to my career.

I have been completely fascinated by electronics from my childhood and I am always curious about how things work in electronics. Even though I design much more complex electronics than a smartphone (as far as electronics is concerned) but I'm still amazed by the revolution that a smartphone has brought to everyday lives, this motivates me and keeps me on my toes to try and see new things and explore more in this field.

This is also an exciting time to be an electronics engineer in India as we will be witnessing the unexplored and hidden potential for electronics hardware design and manufacturing that will soon be converted into a booming industry. While designing any electronic product you have to be innovative and cost effective to get an edge over competitors. This makes my job challenging and fun.

Q
What is this career like?
A

Electronics is a very vast field with two major sections in terms of career path: embedded software and hardware. As is the case with the Indian IT industry, the embedded software electronics path has more jobs and opportunities but getting into a good core hardware electronics company is not as easy as getting into IT or embedded software. Although the multinational companies who have embedded software development centres in India do make hardware electronics as well, but due to lack of resources and infrastructure, the opportunities are less. After 4 years of graduation and 2 years of masters in electronics, many talented electronics engineers end up as Java programmers because no one as of now wants to try and succeed in core electronics.

But things are changing in India - now you will get more and more opportunities in core electronics since those multinational companies which were hesitant to bring electronics hardware product design and development to India are slowly entering the country. This current situation is ideal for any electronics engineer who wants to be at the top of this revolution. When it reaches its peak, this will give be a bright career option with rewarding opportunities.

Q
What is a normal work day in the life of an electronics engineer?
A

My day starts right from where I leave it the previous day! Of course there is a lot of management, vendor communication and documentation involved, but in the mornings I directly open my circuit diagram design calculation sheet and simulation because this field is so interesting that the first thing you want to do is to cross-check whether the ideas that you have thought of are possible or not.

As I mentioned, my job also includes other stuff like very exciting technical discussions with my peers or communicating with various vendors who supply you with components or software and other stuff; making sure PCB are manufactured on time, components are assembled correctly, the product meets the various global standards like EMI/EMC compliances etc. And the most important task is to satisfy your customer's requirements to such extent that he is convinced (rather, delighted) that he is receiving the best possible design.

Q
How was your journey from your first job till the current one? Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
A

Right after graduation I joined KPIT Technologies where I got to work on power electronics and battery management projects which was a really good experience for me. I remember we used to sit for long hours to get the desired output and in the process we burnt a lot of ICs and electronic components but since it was a learning phase, I did improve on my basics a lot and made great progress. Later on, I worked on automotive electronics especially Engine Control Units. Making specification sheets for ECUs was a great experience that taught me how to capture every bit of technical detail in design before starting the actual design phase. This ensures that we don't miss anything. After that, I worked on a couple of power electronics project and currently I am exploring system level simulation technologies for electronics products.

In the next 5-10 years I see myself as an electronics engineer whom people rely on to design and develop the right electronic product at the very first attempt, so that it can be quickly marketed to gain a competitive edge over others.

Q
What specialized training and education did you choose to succeed in this field? What inspired you to build the skills?
A

To succeed in the electronics industry, get your basics right. For that you need not read big books but refer articles specific to the topics and that highlight the fundamental physics related to electronics.

My inspiration to build my skills comes from the day to day needs that my job demands and the improvement that I always seek to produce quality work, and sometimes the fact that I don’t know something that the other person knows.

Q
Which skills have you found most helpful, and which ones will be most important in the future?
A

"Learn fast" - I know in some way it’s not a skill but it can be molded as a skill by using tools that are at your disposal in this internet era. To learn fast, learn to get information efficiently and quickly from the internet.

Doing "detailed analysis" of everything is a skill that I would like everybody to follow - it helps you keep track of your achievements or mistakes and their implications.

Both these skills will help you in future - a future that will allow only smarter, faster and agile people to grow in their career.

Q
What have been your best experiences and challenges while working in this field?
A

My best experience is that I've got a job in a field that I love. And specifically the way I got opportunities to work on things that shaped my career in the right way required for this field. Learning various technologies and communicating with people from different backgrounds in electronics improved my knowledge. Things like working on power supply firmware and software, designing power supply with different topologies, working on electronics product level simulation for functionality and radiated or conducted emissions was an awesome experience.

The challenges faced were similar to every engineer from any engineering college in India - the disconnect between what was taught in college and what I was supposed to do! But if your basics are strong you can quickly adjust and improve.

Q
What recommendation would you give to prospective students who want to advance in this field? What education & skills do they need to focus on, over others?
A

First of all you need to be an electronics/ E&TC or electrical engineer i.e. technical skills are a must. For technical skills, I would recommend improving the basics of electronics. Learn simulation software like PSpice, LTSpice etc. Simulation software are becoming more capable and a handy tool to save time while designing and verifying electronics. Also software like MatLab and Mathcad which help implement analytical and statistical methods easily. Having good embedded programming skills is also important, so learn the basics of programming and IDEs like CCS, KEIL etc. apart from having a good knowledge of electronic components and its specification.

Soft skills - try to improve your communication skills and negotiating skills. Having in-depth knowledge about anything is useless unless you're able to communicate it clearly.

Q
Do you have any other 'words of wisdom' that you would like to pass on?
A

Basics, basics, basics! Make your basics strong and that will become the foundation on which you can build a fantastic career. Work smart and work hard only when it’s necessary. Sometimes getting into the habit of working hard deteriorates your ability to think. Become your own teacher. Don’t think too far - make short-term goals. Enjoy life and enjoy your work and sometime if you are not able to enjoy either of them then it's time to bring in some changes!

Amit can also reached at his LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/amit-chavan/21/13/a78