Nita originally hails from India and moved to the UK to study electronics engineering. She loves that in the semiconductor industry you’re forever fostering innovation and thinking creatively to keep up with the market’s demands.
What’s your name?
I am 27 years old.
Where do you work?
I work at Nujira, a global wireless chip company, based in Cambridge, UK that pioneered the use of envelope tracking (ET) technology, which reduces power consumption and extends battery life in mobile and WiFi devices.
What's your job title?
I work as an integrated circuit (IC) design engineer.
How long have you been doing that?
I have been in the IC design field for the approximately four years.
How did you get there?
I’m originally from India and in 2007 I was awarded a British Council, Commonwealth and IET women’s scholarship, which enabled me to pursue a four-year degree in electronics engineering at the University of Surrey, UK as an international student.
Having realised the benefits of undertaking an internship while pursuing a practical degree like engineering, I undertook a 13-month placement within Intel and worked as an analogue design engineer. After finishing my degree with first class honours in 2011, I re-joined Intel UK as a mixed signal design engineer where I spent three years working on multiple designs within Intel system on chip blocks.
I was looking for a fresh challenge so earlier this year I joined Nujira, with the aim of further expanding my knowledge and undertaking varied challenges in the vast field of IC design. I’m excited to be part of the company’s expert design team working develop revolutionary energy saving solutions for 4G mobile handsets.
What's the day-to-day work like?
As an IC design engineer I am responsible for design and optimisation, verification, evaluation and testing of mixed signal IP blocks. We ensure that the circuit design meets the challenging requirements of power, performance and area whilst meeting the customer needs.
Day-to-day work also involves participation in further research and development including developing patents, research papers and participating in conferences. As well as problem solving and involvement in team development activities such as mentoring and supporting future generation of young engineers.
As a working engineer I lead a very busy life, which I thoroughly enjoy. My days are filled with professional commitments that require you to be very versatile, dynamic and adaptable to the sudden spikes that may come alongside your planned schedule and tasks.
In order to maintain a work life balance and to unwind I get involved in creative art activities which includes various types of painting and hand crafts. I enjoy teaching kids at art and craft summer camps organised by the local town church and participate in charity work, which includes fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
What's the best thing about the job?
The thing that makes me really excited and fascinated about working in the semiconductor industry is that you are forever fostering innovation and thinking creatively to keep up with the demands of the competitive market. You learn continuously and evolve to embrace changes, solve real-world issues and drive yourself towards undertaking tougher challenges and risks for the development of energy efficient, smaller, faster and cheaper products.
It’s always a proud moment when I think about the fact that designs I’ve created power the electronic devices of millions of people all around the world.
And the worst?
It’s hard to think of any. Occasionally I forget to leave work in the office although I try to! And you end up thinking why did that circuit not work properly in the middle of your dinner!
What standout things have you got involved in so far?
In the last three years I’ve had the opportunity to work on numerous designs in multiple deep sub-micron process technologies. The applications have varied from design and evaluation for dual cable tuner chip (RFIC) catering for set-top boxes, to designs for high-performance high-speed and low power blocks within clocking and memory modules.
As a STEM ambassador and member of the IET I have undertaken multiple opportunities within the industry to connect with students of various ages from local schools and support them during their work experience in industry. Parallel to interactive career talks conducted at universities I also participate in discussions in the form of interviews for projects focussing on women working in male dominated industries, highlighting why I chose engineering, the challenges faced and how the current situation for women in the industry could be improved.
I regularly return to India on holiday and I often conduct painting and craft exhibitions to raise money to support and promote a small unit of cottage industry in my home town Khadi Gram Udyog. This provides employment and a livelihood to the rural women and more vulnerable sections of society by allowing them to use their skills in making traditional handicrafts. I have a passion for supporting people in my home country through education and I have partnered with the British Council and "Save the girl child campaign" to provide support including funding for books for the primary school education of orphan girls.
Aside from my degree and the recognition I receive from customers and colleagues, being nominated as a finalist for the Young Engineer of the Year award both by British Engineering Excellence (BEE) and the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI) during 2013 is something I would recall as one among the key career highlights I have had so far.
Did anything surprise you when you moved from education to the workplace?
As a student I had a very naive overview about the pragmatic side of electronics engineering. However it was my internship that gave me a real insight into the practical world of engineering and allowed me to put technical skills and knowledge learned at university into real practice.
During the first few months of my job I was surprised to realise that regular work is not driven by a predefined set of rules and that there is always a need to think outside the box and be agile. Every day you are thrown into new set of challenging situations and questions that require you to be continuously prepared to take risks, evolve and flexibly adapt to these compelling situations.
Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?
Taking risks and challenging myself has given me the opportunity to follow my passion. With sincerity, hard work and determination, positivity and deep interest towards the discipline any daunting task can be made possible and rewarding.
If you keep yourself open to learning, constant feedback and improvement, you will continue to rise from every fall, step up the learning curve and grow as a good engineer. The world needs talented young engineers like you all.
What do you think you'll do next?
I aim to climb up the technical ladder by further expanding my knowledge and contributing towards all aspects of design life cycle from concept design through manufacturing and leading into testing and final delivery.
Eventually I would also like to undertake a part-time research project (Phd) in the development of low power circuit designs for biomedical applications.
I want to continue steering young and fresh talent towards sciences and engineering and give them the required support and motivation that will allow them to follow their passion, develop the right skills and show that the goal of becoming an engineer is truly attainable by “someone like them".