Professions of a Silicon Valley Double-E
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
  On the State of Job Search
Recent discussions about the dire shortage of technical experts on the part of the industry, which werefueled by the government's failure to pass the recent immigration bill, started a discussion on the IEEEUSA - CWPC corresponding members email list about how to get the message out about the OVERSUPPLY of engineering talent, and how to cut back on the "production" of new engineers by the Academic industry.

Not wanting to deal with this highly controversial issue lightly, I got to thinking about what economists would call a "lack of transparency" in the current engineering employment marketplace. Given the internet and "instantaneous" job search, the fact that many Scholarly papers (often with contact info) are accessible by way of Google scholar and IEEE xplore, why is it so difficult to connect the right (local?) talent with the right employers?

Does the IEEE need to do something different to help our members land those jobs that are out there? Is there some better way to address this need?

To satisfy a Side interest in the state of Analog HDL in the IC design process, and "test" the IEEE job site, I tried some of the Search engines to compare the number of jobs needing Analog HDL expertise, to the total number of (open) Jobs in Analog IC design.

I used some typical search terms that I would use If I were actually looking to see what is out there, "Analog IC Design Mixed-Signal".. to see the fractions of jobs that might require more of my expertise, I added "Verilog-A" or "verification" for a total of 3 searches on each site. (limited to the USA)

Here are the results: Analog IC Design Mixed-Signal +Verilog-A +verification
  1. IEEE job site 2 0 2
  2. Hotjobs 195 3 52
  3. Linked-In (exclusive) 3 0 0
  4. Linked-In - simplyhired 680 97 167
  5. Monster 145 17 31
  6. CareerBuilder 56 0 16
I think its a good sign when the description the recruiter provides matches a company you KNOW is trying to hire. And to that end, Linked-IN provides a really nice way to connect thru friends and friends of friends to the people who are hiring to do your homework first.

The IEEE job site? - maybe it works better for Academia, or the power industry outside of Silicon Valley, but it seems NO one in silicon valley is posting their jobs there, in the hope that someone like me will see it. (the 2 jobs that it found were both out of state for me).

If it were up to me, I'd kill it, and partner with Linked-In/simplyhired.
If I were really looking, I doubt I'd even update the resume I uploaded there many years ago.

An idea rattling around in my mind is that maybe we need Agents. Like the Actors in Hollywood. Rather than recruiters, who get paid, a good fee, once when someone walks in the door.. the agent would be paid by me, based on how much he could get for my services... a fixed percentage over the life of the contract, and he'd be negotiating for increases based on who else was interested in my work.

Of course this would start to entail product based accounting, IP-reuse residuals and all similar features of the film industry which by some stories, mainly feeds the accountants and lawyers.

The payment ratio between the stars and the extras is also too big.

Then I think to the number of recruiters who call me, and the number of my friends who DON'T get called, maybe we are already in a similar boat?
I used to hate getting picked last for softball games at recess.
If you want to connect with someone like me, don't call me and ask if I can help you find someone ("heh, heh, maybe even yourself!"). After all, I am not really an Agent. Either have the name of someone I respect who told you to call me, or better yet, skip the recruiter all-together, write me an email, and let me know why my expertise intrigued you.

A call from someone who knows of, and can fully appreciate prior work will get a lot more attention than a cold call from a recuiter.

If you are still looking for work. Take heart. There are many people hiring these days.
If you are hiring, maybe its time to take a chance on someone with the right skills, and a good attitude, but not quite perfect experience.

We'll leave actually improving the job market to another day.
- Jonathan

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Ruminations about the Electrical Engineering profession as practiced in Silicon Valley by an IEEE Senior Member. Disclaimer: All Posts here are official IEEE business in that they are messages about IEEE activities from an IEEE volunteer. These messages do not constitute official records of R6-PACE activities, nor official IEEE or IEEE-USA policy statements. Website:

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Location: San Jose, California, United States

When he is not working on IEEE stuff, Jonathan does Mixed Signal Design Verification at Qualcomm. Senior Member IEEE. Founder IEEE-SCV-SSC (the first Solid State Circuits chapter). Past Section Chair, Santa Clara Valley Section - the Largest Section. Co-founder IEEE-SCV-CAS. IEEE-SSCS Membership chair 2001-2003. IEEE SSCS chapters Committee member. IEEE-SCV-PACE committee member 2001- IEEE-SCV-PACE Chair 2006-2007. IEEE R6 PACE coordinator.


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