Alumni Interview with Nishit Sheth, Senior Wireless Design and Integration Engineer at Apple Inc.

Nishit Sheth has been working with Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California for the past 4 years as a Senior Wireless Design and Integration engineer and had a brief stint with Qualcomm prior to that in San Diego. He is really passionate about innovation and being a driving force behind the change he wants to see in the future of the wireless industry. He takes challenges head on and does not shy away from any problems thrown at him. His thoughts for new students are: "There is always a better way to do things in every aspect of life... find it!"

1.     TSAN: You have worked with Verisign, TeleworX, Qualcomm and Apple. Could you shed some light on your role at these reputed organizations and what expectations do these companies have from an aspiring Wireless Engineer?

Nishit: My role in Verisign was of WebServices Architect Intern. I was involved with our University’s Information Policy and Access center as an RA and worked on building a database and a location based app. My role as an intern in Verisign was similar and I wrote a wrapper API around their main DNS tool. I was exploring different work areas during that time(apart from wireless/RF), only to realize that I wanted to focus on wireless industry and leverage the valuable knowledge gained through our fantastic ENTS course in the wireless/RF domain.

At TeleworX, I was an RF drive test intern in TeleworX. It gave me a very good insight on the industry and how things work in real life.

At Qualcomm, I worked as a Systems Engineer in Modem Systems Test (MST) dept., working on functional testing of their new modems. Working from bring-up to delivery, end to end testing of modems, learning new technologies, test methodologies.

At Apple I work as a Wireless Systems Design and Integration engineer, convoluting all my experience and knowledge and putting it to use as a whole. I test HW as well as SW for all wireless products. I cannot divulge more details than that due to our privacy policies.

As for new grads, the expectation is to be sincere and honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Gather as much knowledge as you can, while you are studying and keep updated about the industry trends. Lot of things change very quickly and being on top of things is your own responsibility. Learn to speak openly and freely in public. At the end of the day your knowledge alone will not help you bag a job in a big fortune 100 company, it is a combination of knowledge, confidence and interpersonal skills. 

2.     TSAN: What are the wireless courses at ENTS that you think are most relevant to industry requirements and could help in securing a job at good company?

Nishit: I can understand as new students you want to simply pick the best courses, you can eventually cash on, on your resume to get a job. But as boring and as stereotypical it may sound, the truth is you really have to understand what you really like, to excel in that course.

For starters, make a list of your dream companies, go to their job section and look at the job listings relevant to you. See the requirements of the industry and sort your coursework accordingly.

3.    TSAN: How much software knowledge is relevant to wireless engineers and which software language would you recommend to the students to learn?

Nishit: If you are aiming for a protocol engineer dev role, you will need to be thorough is SW and different positions would have different requirements in terms of which language

If you are in QA/Testing role, scripting knowledge can come in handy

4.     TSAN: There is lot of buzz around IOT, Cloud, SDN/NFV and wireless security, how much are these technologies relevant to a wireless engineer and would taking courses in these fields help in getting jobs in wireless field?

Nishit: Wireless is a very vast field (HW designing, SW modem testing, antenna, RF, Protocol, Firmware, network side, OEM side, etc).

IOT, cloud, SDN/NFV, cyber security are all different job positions and different companies pursue it. If you find yourself drawn towards these, feel free to make these your forte and apply jobs in these areas

5.     TSAN: What does a Wireless System Integration Engineer work upon on a daily basis? Does this position require programming on a daily basis and which programming language is used most?

Nishit: No it does not so far (but you never know). My team works on designing and testing front end (HW side) and performance testing (SW and HW both). We write test plans based on different features, so in depth technical knowledge about LTE and all other RATs is a must. Scripting knowledge comes in handy as mentioned earlier (perl, python, etc)

6.     TSAN: What industry certifications and technical skills should an aspiring wireless engineer acquire to prepare for companies like Qualcomm and Apple?

Nishit: There are a bunch of different roles that these companies offer. It is almost impossible to make a common stencil of skills to fit all roles. The best way is to make your own database of likes and dislikes from what is available out there (refer to job sections of companies to get this info) and then choose your coursework accordingly.

7.     TSAN: Where is the wireless industry headed in general?

Nishit: IOT, 5G, new 802.11 WiFi standards for now. But things move around really fast.

8.     TSAN: Could you please tell us how do you prepare for interviews at such reputed organizations? What special care do you take apart from studying about skills mentioned in the job description?

Nishit: Key is to be honest, positive, confident and know what you are talking about. You want to connect to the person interviewing you and show him that you will be a fantastic addition to the team on all levels.

Don’t even hesitate to mention some sport you are really good at if the topic comes up and how you would be excited to organize occasional weekend games for the team!

9.     TSAN: What general advice would you want to give to students who are seeking a full-time job as a Wireless Engineer?

Nishit: Try to make a profile (coursework, internship, other work experience, projects, etc) to line up for the job you are applying to.

If you have SW dev experience on your resume and you are applying for a Wireless QA/ test engineer positon, it is only a waste of space on the resume.

Try to tailor your resume per job application to show the hiring manager how you are a perfect fit for the job. 

10.  TSAN: In your opinion, with self-organizing networks and test automations on the rise, which wireless jobs would soon be redundant?

Nishit: It is difficult to comment on what can get redundant, but nothing is going away, except GSM!

Try to have a broad view of the industry rather than focusing on only 1-2 job areas. The wireless industry is huge and has tremendous opportunity, you just need to find your niche and work towards getting a job in that field. Having a broader view of the whole industry will make you understand where you see yourself being fit in.

11.  TSAN: Apart from technical expertise, which skills do you deem most important for climbing the career ladder?

Nishit: Be a person everyone likes to be around. That’s the key!