Socionext Europe GmbH

SNEU in our Employees’ Own Words

Antoine Morineau – Junior IC Design Engineer (based in the UK):

Antoine Morineau

What was the main reason you chose to work at SNEU?

Is there only one reason why I chose this job? Well … perhaps. I’ve always been passionate about electronics, so my choice of studies was obvious. I worked on different aspects within the field of electronics, such as analogue, digital and RF electronics, but I also took classes in programming and applied mathematics. I discovered a real love of the analogue domain. I spent some time in Sweden, completing specialist training in IC design. I really enjoyed my work over there and decided to find a job that matches these interests  Socionext offered me a position as an Analogue IC Design Engineer. They wanted me to work on an ADC with a very high sample rate. That was the topic of my master’s thesis, so I knew I would enjoy working with them on this kind of device.  

What kind of support did you receive when starting here?

My arrival at Socionext went like clockwork. First, I spent one month in training at the company. A Senior Engineer worked with me and showed me the process ropes, so to speak. It was a very good transition from the student perspective to the approach taken to professional design work. I learned new things I’d not encountered in classes and was able to really boost my efficiency during this first month. I also became familiar with the tools we use here.

As I’d arrived from France, Socionext helped me with accommodation for the first month and made it easier for me to find my feet in the UK. I really appreciated the company’s tremendous level of support, since relocation to a new country is always an adventure.
Last but not least, I also received a warm welcome from all of the teams. Everyone is friendly and easy to talk to. Whatever the subject, they’re ready to help and to share their experience. I felt I had become part of the company in no time at all.

What have you learnt here?

Since it’s engineering work, you learn something new almost every day. I’d summarize these skills into three categories. First, I improved my design skills. As we’re aiming to achieve the most efficient circuit, most of the cells are custom-made.  So I discovered new ways to design circuits and create great layouts while reducing all the parasitic effects as far as possible. Second, we’re also working with cutting-edge technology. This means things work differently to the ways we were taught in college. It is very interesting to see the difference between theory and real-world practice. Finally, I’ve also been working on the project since the beginning. So I can see how a major project like this is managed to ensure it completes within schedule.

What’s so special about working for SNEU?

Unlike other companies, SNEU doesn’t restrict you to designing a circuit at the schematic level or at the layout level. I’m actually doing both. It means you’re responsible for your circuit from the beginning to the final check before it goes to the chip. It’s an efficient process, since you know your circuits pretty well and know which signals are relevant for testing. During the design process, you also have to be a good team player – to ensure what you’re designing actually fits with the surrounding cells.

What’s more, as the chip is designed and tested in the same unit, I have direct contact with the other engineers who will use my circuits. Whether they’re using it to implement some software or to run tests once produced, it’s very easy for me to provide this information while also getting feedback.

Last but not least, the organisational culture is very pleasant. Our schedule is easily manageable and it’s very easy to have a chat with the other employees or management. Even if we do work internationally, efforts are made to keep staying in touch as simple as possible.

And, from an even more personal point of view, I truly believe that the perfect job is one where you do what you want and are happy doing it. For me, that’s SNEU.

What are the prospects like for your future at SNEU?

I spent an amazing first year at SNEU. As a young engineer, I want to stay on the technical side and continue designing chips. With more experience, I’d be looking to take on more responsibility and maybe become a Principal Engineer. This is a role I’d like to achieve, since your work is based on your design experience and you are in charge of a small team. This means you need a good top-down view of the chip to develop the most efficient circuits and satisfy customer requests. You also have to be able to manage the people you are working with, to end up with a uniform block where the different cells all work well together. Right now, that’s how I see my career developing over the next few years.

Lijuan Zhou – Application Engineer (based in Langen)

Lijuan Zhou

What was the main reason you chose to work at SNEU?

There is a Chinese idiom “gao zhan yuan zhu”, which literally means “stand high and see far”.

SNEU is a truly global company, which provides each employee with the ‘altitude’ necessary to develop his or her career from the right starting position.

Working in an advanced technical field as I do and cooperating with different teams around the world, my current job is both interesting and full of challenges.

It expands my horizons not only terms of my working methods but also in terms of the way I think. After 12 years of working in China and Japan, what SNEU provides is exactly what I want.

What kind of support did you receive when starting here?

During my induction period, my supervisor and senior employees both helped me a great deal. My supervisor in particular, who has several decades of experience in the field of semiconductors, set out a clear career path for me and helped me settle on my preferred direction.

Besides this, SNEU HR provided me with a wealth of help and advice for two particular everyday difficulties – looking for proper accommodation and learning the local culture. One-on-one language study is also very helpful for me as I settle down in Germany.

What have you learned here?

I’ve learned that good time management is crucial when you are leading heterogeneous, globally-distributed teams. Equally important as the management of cross-cultural issues and the creation of an effective methodology.

What’s so special about working for SNEU?

SNEU has many advantages in terms of business and management. One example is problem-solving. In my former jobs in China and Japan, the biggest challenge when solving a problem was not finding the solution but increasing motivation among the employees contributing to this solution. SNEU, on the other hand, is a company with long experience in providing customers with right-sized solutions, so it works to harness the synergistic effects between different teams, thus keeping motivation high among individual employees.

What are the prospects like for your future at SNEU?

With the help of SNEU, I hope to be able to achieve a high level of expertise in my current field, thus ensuring the success both of my customer’s business and of my team.

Karl-Heinz Mundt – Marketing Manager (based in Braunschweig):

Karl-Heinz Mundt

What was the main reason you chose to work at SNEU?

I don’t think there was just the one reason. What attracted me was the whole package. And not just the financial side – which was important, but not decisive – but rather a combination of the position I was offered and the people. Some of these people I’d already met in the past and some I met during the interview phase, where I appreciated their friendly, straightforward approach. I also like the working environment, the receptive workplace culture and the pragmatic management style.

What kind of support did you receive when starting here?

People were very supportive, always approachable and willing to help. Despite the fact that we started as a whole new site I never saw any reservations, scepticism or fear of competition expressed by long-standing employees. Of course, there was all the usual induction training and stuff like that, but I was more impressed by the level of individual support offered.

What have you learnt here?

Over the last seven months, I’ve learned a lot– about the organization, our business, the people, our suppliers and customers, and, of course, how I can contribute to our success.

What’s so special about working for SNEU?

A difficult question. I’ve noticed a lot of different “specials” so far. At the time I joined, I’d just finished a long stint at a US-centric semiconductor company, where you’ll find both the management style and culture to be quite a bit different. But it wasn’t hard to adjust to the more Japanese style of management, however.  In fact, while our company is Japanese, one of its special features is the high degree of autonomy it enjoys within Europe, with Europeans filling all of the board-level management positions.