SOURCE: Obsidian


November 15, 2010 12:14 ET

Obsidian Software: Job Creation in Processor Design Industry Hints of Recovery

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - November 15, 2010) - Could processor design be the driving force to accelerate the semiconductor industry's economic rebound? Many top executives in the processor industry are now taking the leap and staffing up for a new round of chip designs in 2011 that could give the industry a much needed shot in the arm.

It's no secret that for some time now, tech companies have been reluctant to hire, although it's not for lack of cash. According to a recent EE Times article, lots of semiconductor companies are sitting on large amounts of capital but are reluctant to staff more engineers and expand operations.i Trepidation of the overall market has kept these companies running on skeleton crews while waiting for solid evidence of increased consumer demand before beginning new projects.

Ironically, consumers are in a similar position -- waiting on high paying jobs to return before they begin spending. However, this circular dilemma may soon be coming to an end as processor giants begin new projects that will create thousands of jobs across the broader semiconductor industry.

The processor industry is now seeing an across-the-board increase in job creation. Denise Vasquez, a senior recruiter at ARM, was quoted as saying, "ARM is actively hiring for multiple positions related to processor design, and we expect to continue doing so well into 2011." ARM is joined by at least 10 other semiconductor companiesii who plan to implement new processor cores next year.

One such company is MediaTek, an SoC core design company, which specializes in wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions. According to Thomas Tomazin, Director of Design Engineering at the company's Austin design center, "MediaTek recognizes the strength of IC design talent in Austin and has chosen Austin as a strategic growth site. In particular, we are currently aggressively expanding our DSP core design and microprocessor implementation teams. The strength of the technology talent based in Austin keeps MediaTek focused on opportunities to invest in innovation for the future of the wireless industry."

Many in the processor industry have even begun discussing the difficulties of finding well-qualified candidates to interview. Some organizations are getting more creative about how they find talent. Obsidian Software, an Austin company focused on verifying processor designs, is finding it necessary to seed the industry through initiatives such as a scholarship program and internship assistance for students. "In this global economy, the best and brightest talent will need incentives to solve the difficult problems involved with designing new processors," said Eric Hennenhoefer, President of Obsidian Software. "A strong and competitive talent pool helps the entire industry to succeed and helps keep much needed jobs from going overseas."

But will those jobs created by the next round of processor designs be enough to revitalize other parts of the industry? With the influx of Samsung's new design center in Austin and additional processor designs in the works by Qualcomm, Oracle, Freescale, Mediatek, Texas Instruments, AMD and Intel, it seems hopeful, but the situation remains complex with several political and economic policies emerging.

i Leopold, George. "Flush Tech Companies Slow to Hire. Why?" EE Times Online. EE Times Group, 5 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.

ii Garrison, Jodie "Processor Design Companies are Hiring" DVClub Blog Design Verification Club, 10 Oct. 2010. Web 17 Oct. 2010

About Obsidian Software

Obsidian Software, a privately held company, has been providing processor verification products, verification consulting and training services to processor designers and semiconductor fabs since 1997. Obsidian's RAVEN software has been used to successfully verify dozens of processor implementations by many of the world's leading semiconductor companies. Obsidian has been recognized as part of the INC500, Austin Heavy Hitters, and Austin Fast 50.

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