I have been fortunate to work for several major companies in my field.
My manager at NI was Ron Kubena. NI makes intrumentation products like boards to acquire signals from deectors at very high time resolution. Their products are often used in research and the manufacturing industry to monitor assembly lines. I think their most famous product is LabVIEW, a graphical programming language. I had widely used NI products even before I joined NI in my projects at the UT Center for Space Research (described in my reseaarch section). During the internship, I worked on digital and timing input/output devices. My initial assignment was to evaluate the infrastructure which was in place to test the products before shipment. The assignment later transformed into developing new tests and dealing with customer RMA issues. I also got the opportunity to work with design engineers who were doing custom ASIC design for our products. This was the first time I worked in the tech industry. The experience was invaluable. All my assignments required me to collaborate with design and test engineers/technicians on the manufacturing floor. The technical knowledge I gained from those interactions is an asset. In addition to all the technical knowledge, I also got a flavor of dealing with customers which is rare for most engineers.
I strongly believe that my experience with product testing at National Instruments earned me this internship at Oasis. My title was Product and Test Intern . While the job profile resembled that at NI, this experience was very different. Oasis had only 50 employees in Austin and almost everyone was expected to know everything. It got me the opportunity to get my hands dirty with real hardware. A typical day involved analyzing customer returns (RMA). Just for clarification, these are the parts returned by customers because they failed. I followed a flow for the RMA analysis. First, I tested RMAs on the very expensive high frequency testing equipment, the same we used for product testing. I had to get formal and informal training on how to program/use them. If the RMA failed the product test, Ix would try to find out what caused the product to fail. We got it decapped, i.e. got the silicon out of the package, and veiwed it under a microscope. If the RMA passed the product test, then I would test it manually on the bench using an oscilloscope. Mostly I did not find any errors. But in the rare case I did, we had to investiage why the product testing equiment didn't catch it. So in short, the job was a lot of investigating, debugging, and sometimes designing new tests. It was all very hands-on. The last part of the flow was to write a report for the customer. This is the part where I learned the most. This was my first experience with what I call sensitive writing. The language, choice of words, formatting, everything had to be perfect. I sincrely thank my manager David Owmby for being patient with me and teaching me the important of details. My interaction with our OEM customers were not limited to reports. It often involved emails/phone meetings/ and sometime in-person discussions. It was all a very enriching experience. Plus, since Oasis was a fabless company, I gained a lot of insights into how such companies operate and the kind of challenges they face. By the way, Oasis has now been acquired SMSC.
Work in progress.
Work in progress.