Around February 2019, there was an email floated by Qualcomm Bangalore on the IIT D webmail, for an offer to work with their research unit as an intern. Although it was directed towards PG students, I mailed them my resume and requested for an interview. In the email, I assured them that I knew about topics like HDL programming, FPGA and scripting in Perl/Python, which was also what they were looking for and guess what, they replied in the positive! What helped me in the interview was that I had done a course project that was based on FPGA in the digital electronics course. In the interview, they asked me about my Data Structures assignments and some tricky questions from digital electronics. For future applicants, any work in digital electronics/analog, FPGA, HDL like VHDL/Verilog and a good understanding of the projects you have done (mainly COL 106 assignments), helps.
The timings were really flexible. They needed me to stay between 10 AM to 5 PM, which was when all the meetings took place, so as long as I was there during these timings and finished my work, I could come and go whenever I liked. I also used to work from home sometimes.
Every intern was assigned a department and the manager was our supervisor. He introduced me to my project and his expectations. My project comprised of many sub-projects which included scripting, FPGA, pipelining etc. The first two days were actually quite disappointing. I expected my project to start on the first day itself but it turned out to be really boring (orientation about guidelines, security features). They had me set up my environment on the third day and gave me some code and research papers to study. The first week was mainly about understanding computer networks and FPGA.
The Work Culture:
The people around me were really great. Where I worked, they encouraged a lot of conversation and discussion and were always open to learning things from me, as well as teaching me. Within IIT, I find that the professors are not easy to communicate with, but there we could freely talk to anyone. Many employees were also IIT Delhi alumni, so I answered some questions like “Who won the GC last year” and also about the Inter IIT meet. XD. They also took us out for two parties and to a trip to Wonder La which was really amazing.
There are a lot of sports-cum-break time facilities and a great thing I found at Qualcomm is that they don’t keep a check on when you are working and when you are not so I could take a break whenever I wanted to.
I got to interact with many employees including the VP of Qualcomm India. I also socialised with other interns there. During the whole period, we were given a serviced apartment and food facilities. So, I didn’t really have problems with housing and food. I also visited many places around Bangalore like Hogenakkal falls and a weekend trekking tour to Coorg.
While I was there, I got the opportunity to publish a paper, but as with many, due to lack of time, I wasn’t able to capitalize on this opportunity. I wish I had worked a little harder and maybe could have completed little earlier. In the end, I was awarded ‘Qualstar’ by the company for my contribution.
Corporate vs Research Intern:
A corporate internship is about getting to understand how teams work and their inter-relationship, apart from the research and I feel that it provides a good starting point. I was also not in favour of taking out a lot of time for emailing professors, so this opportunity was a really good option for me. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. 10/10 would recommend.