Ericsson is going to recruit a large number of IT specialists in various roles to develop the technology of the future. As part of this, more people with expertise in ASIC and SoC are required. An important part of Ericsson’s work involves developing the chips used in base stations which turn 5G into a reality.
Ericsson is a world leader in 5G, AI and IoT, and is a driving force for innovation in Sweden. In addition, Gartner has named the company as the leader in the Magic Quadrant 2021 for 5G network infrastructure for communication service providers.
It has, of course, achieved this position through its extensive development work aimed at producing innovative technical solutions.
Several departments at Ericsson work on what is called ”system on a chip” (SoC) or software for circuits, which is sometimes called “firmware.” This involves writing the code for the chips Ericsson develops to make 5G a reality, which are used, for example, in base stations and radios.
Ericsson will hire several hundred IT specialists in various roles throughout Sweden this year and next year. This will include, for instance, people with hardware-related development experience in SoC, who can help develop the mobile standards of the future.
Many developers certainly wonder whether you need to be an electrical engineer to be able to work in chip development.
Joakim Fjäder is Manager for ASIC & FPGA IP Design at Ericsson in Kista.
”There are different types of roles among our developers. If you work as a designer, it is important to understand how the code you write is translated for hardware, in which case an electronics background is a definite advantage, though not a requirement. If you work, for example, on verification of the design, it is more important that you are a good programmer and have good analytical abilities as our aim is to deliver a bug-free design,” explains Joakim Fjäder, who manages a team of 14 people, including some contract consultants, at Ericsson in Kista, Stockholm.
More specifically, the focus is on writing code for ASIC chips (tailored to specific tasks) and FPGA (configurable after manufacture).
Good development opportunities
With a total workforce of around 13,000, Ericsson is already one of Sweden’s biggest employers overall in the ICT sector. A large corporation like this needs different types of people. Two characteristics which go hand in hand are innovation and a technical drive.
“A wide range of people are needed and there is every opportunity to take on responsibility, change roles or become a manager.”
There is a clear focus on lifelong learning within the group. Active efforts are made to offer a stimulating and nurturing work environment where managers encourage employees to develop further. The great advantage Ericsson has in its quest for talent, compared to most other employers, is the considerable flexibility offered in terms of tasks and roles. There are plenty of different options available and opportunities to change direction.
Molan Li is Program Manager, Digital ASIC & FPGA at Ericsson in Kista.
“My boss told me that there was a vacant managerial position being recruited towards. I thought he was joking with me. I had no plans to be a manager. I was also quite young. But after he encouraged me several times and explained why he thought it would be good for me, I tried out a managerial role,” says Molan Li, who has a background in chip development at Ericsson in Kista.
She has now had the opportunity to take on several different types of managerial roles and says she is really enjoying it.
Since Ericsson is a large company, there are great opportunities to find a role that suits you, including a chance to work abroad if you want.
Flexible developer organisation
This inspiring and nurturing culture has created a good sense of well-being, which means that many staff stay at the Ericsson Group for a long time.
“A wide range of people are needed and there is every opportunity to take on responsibility, change roles or become a manager. I feel that the managers here are good communicators and care about and listen to people,” says Molan Li.
She also adds you don’t need to know everything about chips to work on ”systems on a chip” at Ericsson:
“You need to have some understanding of how chips work, but not always such in-depth knowledge. However, you need to be very well-versed in computer architecture and programming,” she says.
“The hard part is not coding, but understanding what the project you’re working on will be when it’s finished.”
Developers use a variety of specialist programming languages and tools. But there is also room for generic languages like C++ when it comes to modelling features, such as performance and interfaces. Since major projects are involved, a flexible developer organisation is required. Occasionally, around 20 teams may be working on different parts of the same product.
”Each team owns its part of a design, or often several parts. The teams consist of six to ten people and work in blocks of three or four weeks. Each team has a person with a role similar to a scrum master, someone with technical responsibility and someone who is responsible for verification,” explains Joakim Fjäder.
And there will certainly be plenty of verification as it is often the largest single activity in a project.
“The way I see it, the hard part is not coding, but understanding what the project you’re working on will be when it’s fully verified,” remarks Joakim Fjäder.
These accounts from Molan Li and Joakim Fjäder show that working at Ericsson offers an exciting chance to get involved in designing technical solutions of the future. Now that Ericsson is recruiting several hundred IT specialists in various roles, opportunities are being created for more people to work in a world-leading, innovative company with great resources, at the cutting edge of technology.