Ajay Dinesh is a final year student pursuing a Bachelors’s in Engineering Physics. He talks to Meghna from Chennai 36 about his experience as an intern at Texas Instruments.
Please, tell us a bit about yourself.
Sure, I am Ajay and I am entering my final year of Engineering Physics. I am from Kerala- Kannur to be exact. As for my hobbies, pretty general- I game a lot, watch TV series and I play most of the sports.
Could you give us a brief introduction to Texas Instruments, and why it’s your choice?
Texas Instruments is a semiconductor company based in the US- Dallas, Texas. And it’s something I have been hearing about ever since the time I joined insti. Whenever the topic of a job in the electrical area was brought up, people kept talking about Texas Instruments. So that’s how I heard about Texas Instruments. As to why it’s my choice, well, the work culture here is very good, but of course, I didn’t know about this before coming here. And honestly, there are very few options in EP on the electrical side, and Texas Instruments is one of the very few that are considered the really good options.
What is your work profile there? Also, the location of your internship.
Texas Instruments has only one office in India and that is in Bangalore, and they have only two offices in the world- the US and India It is a very big complex. And my profile is not actually much on the electrical side of things. I had to create a tool to analyze simulation data, and some kind of uploads into data sheets- and such kind of stuff. And as to the location, my brother is in Bangalore, so that took care of my accommodation.
How does a normal day of your internship go?
I stay quite a little far, so I have to take a bus. The good thing about this place is that it’s in a tech park- Bagmane Tech Park. It has its own bus service and I stay about 15km away, so I wake up at 7, take a bus at 7:45 (or at 8:30). It takes about an hour to reach my office, and once I do, I take some 15 minutes to eat or drink or have breakfast if I’m hungry. One good thing about this is that there are no restrictions here as to when you need to do something- like no fixed time that you have to be in the office. There is nothing like that, it is all according to your comfort and what your team wants. It is generally appreciated if you are in the office during the core work hours, i.e., 10-4. That is when people mostly schedule meetings and all. There are people who come early and leave early, and people who come late, leave late. And I work from 9 till 6:30, or sometimes 7:30. That’s when the two buses back home leave.
How does one go about applying and being selected for this internship?
They came through the Campus Internships itself, probably around the end of August. That would be the third week, I believe. They have four profiles- one is Signal Processing, one is Digitals one is Research and Development, that’s basically Analogs, and the last one is Software. Each of these would need different topics to be done, of course. For each of these, you would need to write separate tests. As for me, they registered on the portal in the night, and we had to upload our resumes the next day itself, and the next day we had our tests. And the interview was the day after that. So, it was over in three days. And the test includes whatever you have learned in your first two years. It definitely helps if you have taken any electives in the area you choose. In the Signal Processing side, they ask a bit more advanced questions. It, of course, helps if you have learned more than what you were taught. The interview had one round of technical. My panel had three people. Rather than going into the depth of things, they test how you’re thinking. They give you basic things and ask you how you approach these- that is, if you have the intuition to solve the problems and not just the brute force of calculation. So, there are multiple methods of solving questions- there’s the purely hardcore mathematical method, and you can definitely solve any question using math, but that’s not what they are looking for, because a good engineer needs intuition, especially in Electrical. That’s what they will be looking for in the interview. Knowing the basics is of the utmost importance. And mine was mostly based on my resume. They go over the resume and try to link whatever courses you’ve taken to the questions they ask. After that, they have a very relaxed HR interview. It was pretty chill, I was basically walking around with the person around the internship office. They asked how my life in insti was, and such.
What do you think stood out in your profile? Are there any particular criteria like specific PoRs, high CGPA, previous work experience, and such that helped you with the selection? Also, are these necessary to get selected for this internship?
I don’t think there was anything that could have really stood out in my profile. I think only my performance in the interview actually mattered because my CGPA is modest, I didn’t have many projects to write about. One project was the course project of a course that I had done. But that is something done by everyone- a common course for Electrical and EP students. At the time, I had been doing a project under a professor from the Physics department. Maybe that might have helped because they could have thought something different was being done. It was related to second-order circuits and such. But I still do think it was because of the interview. And so, no these criteria are really not necessary to get selected. I think they probably had a CGPA cut off for the resume shortlisting initially. But after that, nothing. You can obviously write these things in your resume if you have these qualifications so that you could drive the interview according to this. In this way, it will always be useful to have these, and hence control your interview. And the PoRs, they wouldn’t care because it is a core company. Unless it is something like a CFI Electronics club or something of that sort, it wouldn’t be of much use.
Are there any relevant courses you took that helped you, and will help others applying?
All the relevant courses were all in the two years’ curriculum itself for EP students, and that helped me definitely with all the entire process.
Could you share some fun experiences from your internship?
So most of the fun experiences were going to play. The company has a place called the Texins. It has a tennis court, a volleyball court, an indoor court for basketball, football and badminton together, pool tables and all that. It is a very good recreation space. We would go there every afternoon after lunch and play. So these were very fun experiences. And we would also hang out in the breakroom meeting new people. These are all everyday fun experiences, not specific incidents as such.
Could you tell about the experiences from which you have learned a lot?
Before coming here, I had no idea as to how the industry worked. On my first day, they gave us an orientation on the manufacturing process. Starting from the consumer demand to finishing the design process, manufacturing and then releasing it to the customer. They explained every step of the process and how everything is done. After this, I could understand how what I am doing fits in there I didn’t know what all were used to design and all that, and after this, I could learn those things. There are some tools like — of which the use and application are usually taught in the MS level courses in insti, but here, I could learn those and about the various corporate tools used to analyze data and many powerful tools used. Also, the people here were very friendly. I could always go and ask them anything. TI has its own tutorial videos to help you learn, and these were very helpful as well during the internship.
Do you think this internship gave you some clarity on the kind of work you’d want to do in the future?
Though I don’t completely understand most of the things they discussed, I now kind of know how they work, and how the work has to be done. So, yes I have gained a lot of clarity about the work. But, I haven’t decided particularly on a future career path as such. I am still very interested in electrical. But I am confused between higher studies immediately and going to work immediately. Right now, I know I want to go for higher studies, but probably after a few years of working. I haven’t made up my mind about the specific as of now. But I do kind of know-how the industry works now, and have a basic idea you can get as an intern. The work is pretty good, and I got to know how corporate life is.
Any final message for the students who are planning on applying?
Well, I’d say make sure you don’t write anything on your resume that you aren’t confident about. Another thing would be to revise the basics properly, know how to solve and approach. They won’t ask in-depth questions, and sometimes you won’t even have to complete the answer. Once they see how you began, they would say, ‘okay, that’s fine.’ So getting the basics should be more than enough for the technical round. But of course, the test would need you to know more advanced solutions, and solve them completely. So, yes, these would be my tips for anyone who’s applying.
Author – Meghna, HS’23