Please tell us about yourself and your internship

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. Avantika is pursuing Electronics & Communication engineering and shares her wonderful experience of internship days.

I am an ever-evolving & ever-transforming idiot currently pursuing MSc in Integrated Circuit Design programme jointly offered by Nanyang Technological University(NTU), Singapore and Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany & I can proudly claim that 90% of my education does NOT come from classroom. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree from Birla Institute of Technology in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

This one is to commemorate my Research stint with Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), one of the world’s leading application oriented research institution for microelectronic and IT system solutions and services, not to forget also, the registered MP3 patent holders. Indeed blessed to have got such an opportunity to pursue my Master Thesis with the esteemed Integrated Circuits and Systems Department at Fraunhofer IIS. The experience was one of a kind and is certainly one for an entire lifetime.

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Something I will cherish and be proud of throughout my life is this particular internship. Infact, I am indeed blessed to have secured my internship with high speed communication and analog circuit design research group at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) Erlangen, Germany which was no less than a stepping stone towards my long term objective. And I truly believe if I can do it without any prior semiconductor knowledge or work experience, anyone can.

My skype interview lasted for an hour with some out of the blue circuits being shown on the computer screen with a specific question at the bottom. I was supposed to give not only the final answer but was expected to throw some light over my approach and thinking in terms of how the signal is travelling from input node to output node. It was a different interview experience altogether. But I cannot forget that particular moment at the end when the interviewer’s final remark was “Ms Singh, let me tell you, you are one of the best applicant I have interviewed so far.” It is always difficult to face the moment when your fate is being sealed and mine was no different.

How was the experience at Fraunhofer?

Well, I joined Fraunhofer IIS (Erlangen, Germany) on 8th July 2015 and will be completing my internship period by 30th September 2015 after which I will continue for next 6 months for my master thesis. It’s a totally different work environment and work ethics here. Enormous facilities have been provided to all employees including student interns.

My supervisor a senior engineer with more than 7 yrs of experience in ASIC design for high speed communication is my role model here. He is a speedster (in terms of simultaneously handling and disposing many projects). I fondly call him the FLASH. He is never found being slow in his activities including research work, walking or talking. Just because he might get slowed down with his working pace he stands and works for the entire 8 hours at institute. That is really inspiring.

It was really difficult to match his superfast intellectual abilities and his extraordinarily fast English with German accent. So I started to record our interactive sessions so that I don’t miss out any of his instructions. It took me a month to match my frequency with his. But now that I think I am on track, I am learning more and more each day in terms of my skill set. I am equally passionate about the research work I am doing under him. It’s a potential patent project with a Non Disclosure Agreements(NDA) signed up, due to which I cannot risk talking about the challenges of my project. However, I can just say it is something new which might be used in circuit design products soon.

My entire experience sharing will not be worth without mention of my friends, two in my research group and one in a different group in Fraunhofer IIS itself. We are the fantastic 4 who jump onto research ideas, task implementations and on weekends enjoy hard. The Germans are extremely efficient with their work pace and output and I am trying my best to meet to their expectations. However, I feel jealous of them in the sense that how can they be so organized and perfectionist and concrete with concepts and implementation. I hope my jealousy pushes me hard to imbibe their qualities and turn me into a better professional.

I will describe my internship experience in close congruence with a time varying sinusoidal wave. At one instant it is at the crest and the very next it can get to the trough. I am floating because I am paddling hard each day. The point I stop paddling hard I might just sink with the challenging work. Nonetheless, I am evolving each day into an enhanced technology freak who is getting more and more passionate about scientific research.