I have been thinking for a long time whether I should
send this email to you to share with you my viewpoints
on career planning. I have kept the email for weeks and
now decide to share it with you all.
If you think it may help you, I would encourage you to
read and digest it once, twice, many times, until
you really understand what I meant. As this email is long,
please read it only when you have time or are more relaxing.
The reason for this email is mainly because I have sadly
seen many of our bright colleagues leave SynTest without
good career planning. Often they don’t know what they are
doing but simply driven by higher pay from another company.
After 18+ years of watching the performance of these former
SynTest employees in industry, I can kind of conclude that
those who continue to choose DFT as their
career have excelled much better than those don’t.
Worsely, a majority of them who switched to
other fields have lost or get buried in the sea now!
This statistics is quite discouraging, but there are good
reasons behind. I can give two reasons below:
1. Everyone has his/her own best talents which are best
trained and developed on their first job. As time passes by,
we are becoming less focused and creative
in other fields. Combined with our lack of solid training
in the past, our performance in other fields
won’t be as good as in the DFT field. Thus, we can easily
disappoint our future bosses and employers, when they
compare us with those solely trained in the new field.
2. Switching field the first time is acceptable in industry, but
switching field the second time will become a disaster. The main
reason is no companies or people would trust this person any more.
Bear it in mind that trust is the only ingredient on which
people can rely to be your friends or colleagues.
Switching field during career move more than once sends a very
bad signal to people that the person is highly unstable or incapable
in the DFT field. The worst ever would be – people think
the person is no longer dependable and trustworthy.
This would also scare your good friends away as they may not
believe you would be a good business partner in the future.
This was why I always get very upset when I heard our bright
colleagues would leave SynTest to pursue a career in other fields.
I always wonder why they cannot see the bright future working on
DFT and why they are willing to gamble so much working on a field
in which they have no technical skills at all. Why do they assume
their new bosses and future companies would not find their
weakness out and lose trust in them afterwards?
So, I am writing to show you the DFT paths you can follow
if you have doubt or questions now.
1. Technical Path
This path is the simplest. For example, if you prefer to
work on engineering, then you can choose the following path:
engineer -> senior engineer -> staff engineer
-> principle engineer -> fellow
Your eventual goal might be to publish influential IEEE/ACM
conference and journal papers, become an IEEE/ACM fellow, or
even return to academia as a professor when you get old.
2. Management Path
This path is only for those who have management interest and
feel that life would be more interesting if they can help
grow young engineers’ careers.
engineer -> senior engineer -> manager -> director -> VP
Your eventual goal might be to become an influential VP
who can put together a team to build a best-in-class
product that can make significant impact on the company,
society, and industry. Then, all glories will come after you!
3. Entrepreneurship Path
This path will be for those people who want to assume profit
and loss responsibility and become a general manager,
a president, a CEO, or an entrepreneur in the future.
This person must have interdisciplinary skills across departments.
SynTest training would be for the person (either an R&D engineer,
a corporate AE [CAE], a QA engineer, or a marketing manager)
to go through the FAE (field AE) path. For example,
R&D -> CAE -> FAE -> General Manager (this is the path I took)
QA -> CAE -> FAE -> General Manager
Admin/Marketing -> FAE -> General Manager
Your eventual goal might be to lead (1) the company to where it becomes
a power house in the world and (2) your colleagues to where they all
become technical competent and financially independent.
In general, any company is willing to pay high price to an exceptional
FAE because he or she can help the company win new customers. To win
new customers, the FAE must have pleasant personality and communication
skills to work with the prospects, the R&D department,
the AE/QA department, and the sales/marketing department, and
complete the task per the deadline.
Also, the FAE must be bright enough because right decisions
may have to be made instantly in front of the prospects.
As these FAEs are so crucial to any company success,
there is no point for the company not to do whatever it takes
to keep them. They are becoming the treasures and the next successors
of the company! Similar reasoning applies to exceptional engineers
So, if you really wanted to succeed in your career with better living
and respect from people, you must at least prove to yourself and
your bosses that you are an exceptional engineer, manager,
or FAE whom the company can trust. Without proving yourself, good
opportunities won’t fall into you and money will always run faster
than you can catch!
You can judge where you are now and see which career path you
want to be. Having been working at SynTest for years,
you may have found SynTest is one of the very few companies that
is willing to train you, pave the path you are choosing,
and sincerely wants to help you grow to reach your goals.
So, why not set a career goal you want to reach in the DFT field
and let your colleagues, Susan, and me help you out before you
are becoming more competent and capable on DFT?
God Bless You!