Tag Archives: Infineon

My Funny Trainride

Work at Infineon requires me to go places. As a product architect I need to interact both with customers all around the globe and development teams at five different sites across Austria and Germany. To be able to tend to my inner music nerd while on the road, I got myself a small music keyboard with 128 sounds that fits into my backpack.

Here’s a version of “My Funny Valentine” that I did on that keyboard while on the train to Villach yesterday night. I call it “My Funny Trainride”.

Chicken or Pasta Dilemma

When I look outside the window, I see the sun setting. It is setting faster than usual. That’s because it’s the window of an airplane and we are flying east.

This morning, before getting to the airport, I was woken up by the sound of my phone’s alarm. I turned it off and went ahead with bad habit: I checked the news. The headline: “Limiting temperature increase to 1.5 °C unrealistic, is global worming unstoppable?”

There you go, my dilemma in two short episodes. I am surrounded by information about global warming and still I rock an off-the-charts-carbon-footprint lifestyle. Travel is just so much fun and too affordable. Plus my job requires me to go places. Actually most of my carbon footprint comes from work related travel. Would quieting my job be the right thing to do? Wouldn’t just somebody else take my position and do the same traveling instead? Should I stop going on vacation too-far-away at all? What’s too far? Is there a way to compensate for what I am doing to our planet? When I’ll look back at this dilemma in a couple of years, will I hate myself for not being more decisive on the issue? Will it still be there, or will we have found ways to deal with it? Will regulators have come up with smart solutions?

And most importantly: Chicken or Pasta? Uh, dinner is about to be served. What a welcome distraction, let’s just postpone dealing with the issue.

Airplane Sunset

HR – follow up

I’ve started writing about it so I should finish it.

Where we left off: I had a job interview last week and I was expecting an offer in the next couple of weeks. Guess what: I received an offer today. And it did not come via a professional employer organization. No: Infineon made a valid, legit offer that truly is worth a thought.

In terms of money the offer is neither particularly good nor exceptionally bad.

Knowing what kind of salary to expect is one of the hardest things. Nobody in Austria really talks about their salary so you mostly rely on what friends tell you, internet research and what public research institutions pay (which has to be made public, because of transparency). Here are some examples of how I evaluated Infineon’s offer.

I have friends (also PhDs) working at Siemens VAI who earn about 5% more without the all-in option that Infineon has in all its contracts. The all-in option in Austrian contracts means that overtime will not be paid, as the salary is said to cover any overtime already. You would have to fight really hard to get rid of that option and accept a reduction in salary of about 15%. As 5% is not that much, it really comes down to the question of how much overtime you are expected to do. -> Neither good nor bad.

The post-doc position that my friend Reinhard has at university comes with exactly the same salary (according to the collective contract of the Austrian university system). My adviser also offered me a position as post doc, but I don’t think that the university landscape is for me. At any rate: -> Neither good nor bad.

Some information about what PhD graduates earned in Germany in 2012 can be found at http://www.ingenieurkarriere.de/_library/content/download/obj2407_Einstiegsgehaelter_fuer_Ingenieure_2012.pdf – Being  just a little below what was the 50% mean tells me: -> Neither good nor bad.

It comes down to this: I will not sign that contract right away (as I would have if the offer were really outstanding) but I am also not going to turn it down. Starting in mid-March I will start looking for other options and when I have a range of offers, I will sit down to do my pros and cons list. The fact that I could put to use my knowledge in the probably most efficient way will be on the pros side and the salary will not be everything as long as it is above my personal limit of … well I am not going to share that number.

Actually I will not share any other information about my job search on this blog from now on. With HR being good at googleing these days, I guess it is safer that way. I am still glad I blogged about this first job application as it helped me bring order to my thoughts, realize what is important to me and define what my limits are.

HR

All names in this post have been changed.

Recently I blogged about jobs at Infineon. I was eventually pushed to submit a job application by an engineering manager – let’s call him John. John is a great guy. He and I had a couple of discussions before and what I have been doing at uni for the past 5 years is exactly what he’s looking for. – Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it.

If only I wouldn’t have to finish my PhD first, do all the things my adviser still wants me to do and engage in a serious search for a job. Guilty as charged, I have submitted the job application because John asked me to and not because I am really looking for a job – not before May 2014. His argument was that they would take the position away from him if nobody applied and that the whole thing going through HR would take a couple of months anyway. – I was invited for an interview by HR a day after I had submitted my job application, which was today.

On the bright side I’ve only had one interview so far, so I considered it good practice! The one I’ve had before was at age 16 and they totally screwed me: paying me minimal wage for programming php and mySQL. Fun fact: the HR head of that big company told me they can not pay more because I have no formal qualification. I do now realize that me knowing php, mySQL and HTML was a qualification that nobody at that big company had in 2000, so they really needed me. I was not aware of that and apparently negotiation skills were not one of my strengths at age 16. Actually my boss back then proposed a pay-rise later, without me even asking for one.

So here I was again: age 30, another HR interview, biased and suspicious. There was limited time to prepare myself: I watched youtube videos and read some articles about job interviews, but nothing can replace the real thing.

My verdict: Turns out HR interviews are still a pain in the ass. On one hand they try to make you a little insecure and on the other hand it feels like brainwashing.

The interview started off with Ms. Johnston mentioning that she had had interviews for that one position all day. – Good for her, still I don’t buy it that there were many applicants better suited for the job than myself. You might call me presumptuous, but my job for the past 5 years mostly was about building and analyzing radar systems using THEIR chips, which are only available to exclusive customers and us as research lab co-funded by them.

Obviously the interview continued with the standard questions. “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years from now”. “What would your current boss say about you”. “Name 3 of your strengths and 3 of your weaknesses”.

One of my current colleagues who is quitting his PhD, lets call him Dave, had his interview in the morning, so I knew exactly what was going to come. When Ms. Johnston asked the “boss question” I answered: “I was waiting for this one, because I’ve heard about it from Dave”. “Oh … ah … that’s not on purpose … interviews are usually tailored individually”. I didn’t say it: “Yeah, right”. I went on to analyze what my boss would probably say based on tasks and responsibilities he would transfer to me + the awards that I have received. I ended with: “If you’d really like to learn about what other people say about me you have the unique opportunity to go and talk to people within this company such as Steve, Ann, Donald, … who I have already worked with and who know me for years now”. To which she responded “Oh, really … well … I did not really want to know what other people say about you, but what you think that other people might think, which indicates what you think … “. Again, I didn’t say it:  “Yeah, right”

The whole interview triggered questions: How honest should you be? What should you say? What should you rather avoid? On one hand everybody has blind spots and they are not the things that you want companies to know about. On the other hand do you really have to be honest about questions like “How many applications have you submitted?” Or one of her first questions: “Why did you apply?” – “Because John asked me to” which I of course replaced by “Because I’d like to put to use the knowledge I gained during my PhD in an optimal way, and because you could offer me exactly that + you could benefit from that! – A potential classical win-win”. Should you share your family plans?

The second part of the interview was what some of my friends describe as brainwashing, with mostly Ms. Johnston talking. Of course they offer great benefits, like day care or an international school for their international employees and so on. If you dig a little bit you will find out that most of them are only available on their main campus in Villach (=about 3 hours drive from Linz) as it would not pay off to install them for the 90 employees in Linz. They have a global salary system which is called the “Infineon Global Scale”. Ms. Johnston also spent about 5-10 minutes explaining possible career paths at Infineon and that they have successfully copy-and-pasted the IBM system (of course that’s not the way she put it) with “senior engineers”, “distinguished engineers”, “Infineon fellows” … Good for them.

The meeting concluded with Ms. Johnston telling me that in case of an offer I will hear from them via e-mail in the next couple of weeks.

My best guess is that there will be an offer that is well below what I stated as expected salary. In addition to that they may try to employ me through a professional employer organization, which is what they told Dave in the morning. This is where the real negotiations will start.

At any rate I will apply for more jobs and have more interviews before I sign any contract. For now I am thankful for the experience that I gained through this interview. While job interviews are not fun, they are required and the more used you get to them, the better.

Looking for a Job

Ok, I’ll finally talk about my job. I am a PhD student and I am employed by the Johannes Kepler University Linz. However I am not involved in the teaching side of university apart from supervising Bachelor and Master Theses. I am a research assistant, I don’t TA and my research is (mostly) paid for by a company called Infineon.

To be a little bit more specific: I am doing research in the field of mm-wave radar systems. I’ve had quite a good time as PhD student. Lots of interesting conferences, research directions, research questions + great researchers around me. However (hopefully) I am going to graduate soon. Which brings me to the title of this post: I am going to be looking for a new job soon (May/June)!

I can’t help it, I have to make this yet another pleading for getting an engineering degree. One of the reasons: If you were flexible regarding the exact location, getting a job as an engineer has never been a problem during the last 20 years. To give you an example: As of today I haven’t applied for a single job, but I have received 6 job offers during the last year.

Today I was invited to yet another “job interview” at Infineon. – If you believe what some people say about a major Japanese customer awarding Infineon with a design win regarding automotive radar, you could image that they’d have a few of job openings in that field, such as

http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=35378&Lang=Deutsch
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=35376&Lang=Deutsch
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/students/show_job.php?ID=12913&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/students/show_job.php?ID=12915&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=35124&Lang=Deutsch
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34982&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34981&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34970&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34833&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34638&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34495&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34494&Lang=Deutsch
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=34493&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=33469&Lang=English
http://www.infineon-jobs.com/jobs/show_job.php?ID=32760&Lang=English.

Actually it was less of an interview, because they know about my background. At any rate it was an interesting discussion and they are definitely on the list of addresses when I am going to start sending out job applications in April.

If you are a talented engineer, are looking for a job, would like to shape tomorrow’s driver-assistance system or maybe even self-driving transportation systems (aka cars), and are willing to move to a nice and dynamic city, I do highly recommend taking a look at the job offers above. Please apply even if you don’t think you’re the perfect fit!