Hi all, Hi Kirk
I'm a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo's EE program. I've spent a great deal of time in upper year deciding whether to go into RF or Software. Though I have a great deal of passion for both fields, after much deliberation (not wanting to give up on EE), I've decided that RF is the right
career path for me
Unfortunately my co-op experiences (6 terms in total, 2 years worth) are largely in software. This is partially because serious RF courses didn't start until fourth year (when you've got all the basics). and I felt cheated out of my degree because just as I was starting to learn something interesting they gave me a piece of paper. I worked at QUALCOMM as an applications engineer for my last workterm. It was still software, and though they offered me a job I declined because i knew if i took it I'll be stuck in software/app eng forever. QUALCOMM was a great company, and my dream job would be QUALCOMM's RFIC designer
As a result I've decided to go for masters and I'm applying for them right now, giving me a year of free time to do something about my career
I know how difficult to it is to get that first job in the RF design, and without practical experience even with a master it'd be VERY difficult. I dont want to be stuck in the same place, without relevent experience, after my master.
So I propose the following 3 possible things I can do during my year of free time.
1. Go back to taiwan (where I immigrated from), and try to get a design job (still unlikely) in RF, OR try to get a testing job in RF (very likely given my foreign degree). I know the hours will be very bad because they always work you like a horse. Work/Life balance is non-existent there. Therefore if I have a testing job I will not have any chance to read up on RF textbook, do problems, or play around with ADS/Momemtum, Cadence, or any design tool. However I'll have something to show on my resume, and learn about RF testing (IP3, 1-db compression, s parameters measurement and the likes, which i imagine would get boring quickly, please tell me if this helps future career path as designer)
2. Use the year to familiarize myself with the design tools. Read up a lot of RF (do problems in Pozar, and other RF books), tutorials at www.rfic.co.uk
etc. and review digital/analog circuit theory, etc etc. Basically try to teach myself design. I'd put personal projects on resume. I dont know how much this will count since I'm not really working for anyone and just playing around. I imagine I'd learn a lot this way. But is it advisable? Is it better to start in testing?
3. Try to contact a prof@waterloo and work for them if possible. This could be a mix of design/testing. But this also is uncertain and may not be possible. However I'd have someone to mentor me and answer my questions. Unlike option 2 where I might get stuck or go off in a tangent
Please advise me on what you would do, looking back at your career. I'm 22 right now and I know RF is not an easy field. I love it for the challenge, the engineering, the math, the thrill of understanding. I love how it has communication, control, circuits, software, all embedded
Thank you and I greatly appreciate you time and advice.