Getting into IIT and working in`a Forbes fortune 200 company sounds like the ideal Indian dream, and it isn’t merely a dream anymore for Anirudh Vijay, a third year electrical dual degree student. Qualcomm has always provided us with the grooviest smartphones, and customer trust isn’t just another item on a to-do list for them anymore. They nurture innovation in India, and we get to hear about a summer in Qualcomm from one of our own. Here’s what Anirudh has to say about his experience.

What kind of work do you do at qualcomm.

I work at the modem systems team at Qualcomm. This team has a lot of research and development work, and it intertwines with the work done by other teams, causing a good amount of exposure to a wide range of topics. My work revolves around communications, but I can’t really tell you exactly what I do, since I signed an NDA. There are no other interns in my project. They made sure that there were not more that 2 interns in every project.

Tell me about the application procedure?

The first step of the application was a test in one among hardware, software and signal processing, as per your choice. I selected hardware. The people selected in this round went on to the interview round, where they told us that we can also sit in on a signal processing interview, instead of sticking to our sub-department. I’m guessing they wanted more interns in signal processing. It was a very technical interview, kinda difficult but they don’t expect you to know anything outside your course. There was also a probability question for aptitude testing. Digital signal processing, networks and system are the only things I knew and they didn’t ask me anything apart from this. I have a good CGPA, and I’m guessing that their opinion was biased by that to some extent. They didn’t ask me about my PoRs or projects, however the interviewer had my resume, so it might have made a difference. In my hr round they asked me very general questions about my character. When it comes to core profiling in electrical engineering they don’t really care about PoRs, they care only about the interview and test. I don’t think it was completely cg based because they barely looked at my resume when they were interviewing me. They cared more about how I answered the questions.

How was the acceptance rate?

From day 1 they’ve been talking about how most of the interns are converted to full time employees after college-the approximate probability of a PPO would be 80%. They took around 10 interns from electrical and computer science departments from 3rd year, and I know that a lot of people from electrical department applied. Many cleared the test too.

What made you choose Qualcomm?

I still am not sure what I would like to do in my life, and I thought I should have had both research and industry experiences in parallel. However the application process for industry starts far before research. My two options were Qualcomm and Texas Instruments in the corporate side. On getting Qualcomm I decided to drop research for this year, maybe try it out next year. It would be nice to go abroad next year and do a research internship, however the dual degree project starts in the 4th year summer. I think the only way I can do an internship and the project will be if the two were related conceptually. Qualcomm was a completely random decision but it was a good one.

What advantages would you say an industrial internship holds over a research one.

A research internship is more for yourself-it satisfies a personal thirst for learning and creating. You need to have the depth and of understanding in your chosen topic. For an industrial internship the company pushes you to work, giving you deadlines and making sure there are 10 other people working with you. It helps nurture the feeling of team spirit in you, and makes sure you learn that.

Tell me about the perks.

Qualcomm arranges a very comfortable service apartment for us. The stipend is technically 30k, however in hand we only get 21k, since the remaining is taken by Qualcomm for food and accommodation.

If you’re in a company as big as Qualcomm you have to learn a few things before you join the company.

How much work did you have to do pre-internship?

One drawback of this internship would be that they didn’t let us choose the project. I didn’t know what my job profile would be till the very end and couldn’t prepare for the internship. If you’re in a company as big as Qualcomm you have to learn a few things before you join the company. In your third year it feels like you’ve barely learnt anything, and I think I studied 2 months worth, about half a course, in my first two weeks of my internship to understand the technical specifications of my project. This is one of the best parts, since you learn things really fast and you get to know what current work is going on in engineering around the world. For example Qualcomm is working a lot on AI, ML, 4G and 5G, and if you want to start planning your career from now then you should take more courses in those fields. There are no fixed hours, It’s a huge company and no one is going to make sure you’re working 8 hours a day. If you finish your work early then the mentor is happy and you can slack off for the entire day. This gives you a lot of insight into today’s corporate scenario.

Do you suggest people to learn things outside their course, to get a corporate job.

Even if you do that, I’m not sure if it’ll give an edge in the selection procedure. I didn’t do many CFI projects but they didn’t really care much about that. Outside your course, you can do more communication courses before you get into 3rd year, but that’s just for the profile that I’m working on for myself. In the current scenario, learning machine learning and AI would help you a lot in general I suppose.

The work I am doing is not mechanical, it involves a lot of thinking and sometimes the mentors call team members  to brainstorm.

How was the company atmosphere?

The mentors are well qualified and efficient. The work I am doing is not mechanical, it involves a lot of thinking and sometimes the mentors call team members  to brainstorm. The people here like their work a lot and seldom slack off.  There is a plethora of work going on around you, and this is unique to Qualcomm India. A crucial reason why a lot of people go out of India to work is that a lot of companies don’t have major operations going on in India. They do the innovation in their head office and send work like testing or writing code to India. Qualcomm makes core chips in India and it handles the entire operation from designing to testing. Qualcomm India makes a huge chunk of the  chips produced by the company, which makes it very important on a whole.  I think that people should think about this to some level before taking an internship or a job at some company.

Authors: Rishbha Jain (DD-ME ’21) & Vineet Gopakumar (BT-CH ’19)

This article is part of the series – The Intern Guru. For more such articles follow us on Facebook by clicking here