Going into this internship, I already knew that it was in a field that I was interested in, engineering. For me, I believe that this internship in terms of the "long run" offered some of the worries I was having about the engineering world go away. I always wondered if I would be able to handle working in a cubicle all day long and staring at a computer screen. From this, I learned that as long as I am working on something that interested, I can handle the cubicle/office lifestyle. I was also surprised how interested I was in meeting people through meetings and in communal workplaces. I also now feel a little more comfortable entering an Engineering field regarding electronics. I think that so far I have been making the right strides to pursuing a field in engineering. I think that if anything, I need to focus more on physics next year because everyone who has been doing engineering internships(including me) are surprised how important the physics is turning out to be.
9. College and Career connections - Due Thursday, June 9th How has this experience (the internship) made you consider your college path that will ultimately lead to your career?
You also need to comment on two other students' blog posts.
For my internship project, I used Physics of Failure to make a lifetime prediction on a two board part: The G-12 ACU:
For more on what that means, I must explain what a few things are:
- Physics of Failure is a Reliability Engineering technique that uses information on the processes of mechanisms and components to predict reliability on a specific part. This focuses on the interaction between component stressors and the components themselves.
- The G-12 is a Satellite Antenna System that receives and sends signals: Picture Below of VR-12, a previous generation SATCOM
- ACU stands for Antenna Control System. So the G-12 ACU is the System that controls the positioning and functioning of the G-12 SATCOM.
In order to do Physics of Failure on the G-12 ACU, I utilized a computer program known as Sherlock Automated Design Analysis. Sherlock offers a platform to import a BOM and turn it into a Parts list, update and edit the various parts from the BOM, and set certain conditions for the operational usage. From there, it allows you to run analysis tasks such as CAF Failure, Failure Rate, ICT Analysis, Mechanical Shock, Natural Frequency, PTH Fatigue, Random Vibe, Solder Fatigue and Thermal Derating. Running the tasks that the user chooses, you are able to form the data into a single PCB/CCA life prediction.
The time working on the project was spread between debugging the solder pad sizes, adding mount points and assemblies, and creating data to analyze and draw conclusions from. The process of doing my project and making my analysis can be found from my photo journal in the post above. Unlike many other interns from HTHNC, my final product is not a concrete object, item, or artifact. As a whole, my final product from my project consisted of life predictions of the two CCA's in the ACU, as well as my suggestions for increasing the life. I found this to be a very good representation of how things work in the real world because data is not always handed to you. A lot of times you have to go out and find it. Below are the slides from my on-site POL. In this POL, I presented my findings from my project as well as my personal experience.
I was able to make a meaningful contribution to my workplace by making my project something that they actually needed to get done. I found it important to be able to learn while doing actual work because it not only gave me experience on the topic, but because it was a real project, it gave me experience working on a project that is needed from your company. The work I did was significant beyond school and my specific internship site because it helped give information on a new satellite antenna system and offered suggested changes. This satellite antenna system will be used by many, and can help bring broadband connection to people such as me and other civilians. I think my internship influenced the direction of my life by helping calm down some of my worries of engineering. I was afraid that I would be bored sitting in an office all day, but it turns out when you have something interesting to work on, the day goes by in a flash. Everyone around me at ViaSat did not only know what they talked about, but they sounded like they knew what they were talking about. I find it quite admiral when someone is able to be confident in their abilities even when someone is yelling at them. I hope that as I advance in my education, I become more confident in what I know so that I can stand behind EVERYTHING that I say. Also, the collaborations I had at work with fellow coworkers help me realize that I should be appreciative of the people I have in my life now. Some of my fellow co-workers recently moved here, and are working to find new friends. While that coworker is friendly and is having no trouble finding people to hang around with, I need to realize that I am lucky now to have people supporting me, and I need to prepare for when I leave and need to create new relationships.
For my Photo Essay Project, I am going to outline the steps I go through to do Physics of Failure Analysis on Sherlock
Here is the opening screen to Sherlock Automated Design Analysis. Sherlock is used to make Life Predictions on PCB's based on Solder Analysis, Mechanical Shocks, PTH fatigue, and other environmental stresses.
When a new project is uploaded, a BOM is imported from your project files. This BOM extracts into a Parts list. This parts list is what is used to produce the Physics of Failure analysis.
When first running the Analysis tasks, in this case the Solder Fatigue Analysis, there are many errors and parts requiring attention. These errors and parts requiring attention is caused my input errors. This is what I must fix before coming up with final numbers to summarize the PCB
After finding the part's Datasheet, I am able to go through and fix any errors in the part editor. This insures that the Physics of Failure is being worked on accurate specifications of parts.
Once many of the parts have been updated, you can accurately analyze the PCB and see which components will be failure troubles, and see what feedback you can give to the board designer.
For me, I always want to know the answer to whatever question I have. If I do not know the answer to a question, it drives me insane. In result, I always am looking for an answer until I can find the solution.
When I enter a new enviroment like during internship, I do not know the answer to most of the questions I come across. My desire to figure things out pushes myself to advocate for myself and speak up when I need help. If I do not understand something, my close relationship with my mentor makes it easy to each out for help. My advice for anyone who is having trouble advocating for themselves is to try and become close to someone around you. When you are comfortable with another person, it makes it much easier to ask for help when you need it.
While the point of internship is to learn more about something your interested in as well as learn about careers, I would argue that one of the most important aspects of internship is getting out in the world and making new connections. In my opinion, in order to be influential, it helps to know the right people. And having strong bonds with a lot of people makes it much easier to "know the right people". In order to make connections and bonds that you will keep with another person, you have to be someone that is liked, memorable, and good at what they do. There is no reason to remember an intern that sits down and does nothing all day. In my attempt to "be an intern everyone remembers", I make sure to introduce myself to almost everyone I have a conversation with. That way when I see them around the work campus, I can give them a quick hey, while addressing them by name.
So far as a Reliability Intern at ViaSat I have started learning the tools necessary to do Reliability work and I have really been enjoying it. My overall project will consist of quite a few different pieces. Due to proprietary information, I am not sure how much of the specifics I can release over the internet, so I will try and keep it as general as possible. Overall, my project will be stepping into the shoes of a reliability engineer in order to come up with various products having to do with work that ViaSat needs done. This will include using Sherlock to do Finite Element Analysis on PCB's and troubleshooting component types. It will also include using ReliaSoft programs such as Weibull++ and Alta in order to make estimates based off of field data. The estimates I am making are most often in the form of MTBF. MTBF is mean time between failures and it helps ViaSat and the clients to know what kind of lifespan to expect on products. In order to do these projects, I will need to be able to have a good understanding of PCB components, Sherlock analysis (Including Phase Events, Part Editing, ODB imports, component specs), and using ReliaSoft tools. In order to use ReliaSoft tools such as Weibull++ I need to understand data modeling and its relationship with reliability. Also, in order for it to be awesome, I will need to make sure I do not stop focusing while on the job. One mis-click can leave me searching for the source of the problem for hours. The support I need comes in various sources. I often will first go to Google, the help menus in the programs, or the user guides before I ever ask a coworker for help. If those sources do not answer my questions, I then go to my mentor Jim Hunter for quick questions, and if he can not answer them, I go to my other co-workers including Frank Humphries and Alan. If they can not answer the questions, I have the last resort for Sherlock, Gil. Gil works for DFR Solutions (the company that makes Sherlock) and can answer any binding questions I have. Hopefully all the hard-work I have done learning the software pays off and I can make clean and concise estimates on MTBF for various PCB's and overall components to help ViaSat out. That way I can learn, and thank the company that was nice enough to host me. In the end, I should be able to present the data I got in the form of a presentation, graphs, and simple numbers.
What is your job title?
Reliability Engineer: Specification in Mobile Reliability
What are your main duties and responsibilities?
Looking at requirements of ViaSat projects/contracts we are bidding on and making a judgement on signing up for contracts. I also do predictions with Sherlock and looking at field data to make part lifespan prediction. When a new system comes up we look at how an old system works and make comparisons
Why did you choose to work here?
Originally it was because it was close to home. Challenging work, and I really like the people I talked to when interviewing here. It was a good mix of past experience and what they needed.
How did you end up doing the job that you do?
I started doing reliability at Hughes Aircraft working in a Wafer manufacturing plant and I was involved with testing and that transitioned into troubleshooting failed parts and that became predicting when parts would fail. At Cadence I did fitting models to real parts and reliability and also did it when I got to international rectifier. When international rectifier moved I worked at a startup working on characterization and reliability.
What skills and training are necessary for your position?
A real strong physics background to appreciate what kind of problems can lead to reliability issues along with a strong math background specifically in statistics. Most of training I Picked up on the job. In grad school I looked up heterojunctions that are very important when some of the newer materials came along. Now that people make transistors out of gallium nitride the training is vital for a full comprehension of my reliability analysis.
Do you consider a career in this area satisfying? In what ways?
I enjoy fixing things and making things better.
Is there anything you wish you'd realized about the world of work when you were my age?
A lot of the technology I work on now didn’t exist when I was in college, but I wish I would’ve spent more time learning statistics from a young age. We do things like confidence values and model fitting that are very prevalent in the work I do.
What is the purpose of this organization?
We are a service provider that provides internet in challenging places. To make money because we are a business. Because of this we do satellites, antennas, customer modems, along with encryption.
What does it take to be successful in this organization?
You have to be flexible and learn quickly about stuff that you don’t know and pick up knowledge and new skills fast. Also, be aggressive about finding out about things that you need to know. Always try and add value to the company itself.
What other advice do you have about working here?
For an entry level position, try and get an internship here because most entry level jobs are filled by those internships.
How important is getting along with other people in your career?
You really have to be an effective team member with good communication because hardly anything is individual anymore.
What other personality traits, skills, or knowledge are important here?
Reliability consists of telling people that their product isn't as good as they want it to be. The way that you tell them that creates that kind of Reliability Engineer you are. In order to not be off putting, you must not only come telling the problems, but also suggest solutions.
What should people in school know about Reliability?
When you are working in technology, you are going to be exposed to a lot of science in school. A lot of the science that you may think that you aren’t going to need to know can come back and be very important. When you go into advanced quantum mechanics it gets complicated fast. I used to think, “When in the world am I going to use this?” Now that they have shrunk down transistors, I use it all the time. No matter how useless and arcane science may seem at times, it is important that you learn it because it may be important at some time.
So far in internship, most of the questions that I have had have been very specific project related questions. These include questions about things like Conductive Anodic Filament and and Printed Board Circuits. I can make many connections between internship in school, specifically from math class. A lot of reliability is made off of equations in order to create MTBF predictions. Also, a lot from what I learned in my physics class is very useful now when trying to understand the predictions I am making. So far, no funny stories have happened and everything has been pretty smooth sailing. Like most other businesses, ViaSat's primary purpose is to make money. Their mission as described on their website is:
ViaSat is in the business to connect the world. As a global broadband services and technology company, we are connecting international communities to the internet by offering residential internet service; enabling passengers and operations crews to stream high-bandwidth media, applications, and content when traveling globally on commercial, business or government aircraft and maritime vessels; and empowering international warfighters on the front lines of battle with real-time, secure internet-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for high-requirement missions. We deliver and protect information – when and where it is needed most – with our trusted communications ground systems, infrastructure, and services.
The skills I have been developing for my internship mostly consist of Sherlock reliability analysis. This skill developed due to my completion of 4-6 hours of training through tutorials and reading over 100 pages of tutorials and user manuals. Also, I have had to learn a lot about what ViaSat does in general so that I can conversate with other employees on whatever they are working on. I am able to get to and from internship by driving myself. This is honestly not much different from my normal schedule when I am driving to school besides the fact I can get up a little later. The flexible schedule at ViaSat creates an appreciation for the ability to be able to create a work schedule that fits my hours.
Day one entering my workplace I was immediately put into a security briefing meeting. This was to make sure I knew everything about safety and general security at ViaSat. I was informed things such as I could be randomly searched at any time, or that letting the wrong people into buildings too many times could get me fired. It struck me how seriously ViaSat takes its security in all aspects. All information that passes through the servers is encrypted, and lets just say the passwords can't be "password123". With all this security, you would think my colleagues would be very serious, no fun, people. But something that strikes me about my colleagues is how easy going, helpful, and open they are with me. Every single person working at ViaSat has been kind to me and eager to ask me questions about my experiences so far. Also, they don't seem to shy away from putting work on me, even work that they will actually use. Going off this, what strikes me the most about the job/work I am doing is that it actually seems like I am helping them by doing it. From what I assumed from internship, is that you almost were a hassle on the mentor, because they always had to be helping you. From my experience so far, it seems semi-independent. From learning the reliability tools I am using to working with creating documents for the company, it seems like I will actually help them. I am excited about becoming more familiar with the reliability tools I will be using (ReliaSoft and Sherlock) and will hopefully become proficient in them. Due to actually having semi-meaningful responsibility I am a little worried about messing up on something important. But having this responsibility will insure that I give everything my 100% effort and try my hardest!
For internship, I am going to ViaSat inc. ViaSat is based in Carlsbad, California and is a communications company that provides high speed satellite broadband services and secure networking systems. My mentor is Jim Hunter, a Reliability Engineer. As a Reliability Engineer, I will be using programs such as Sherlock to analyze the reliability of units that ViaSat sells to private buyers. I am excited about learning more about applications of math into engineering fields. I am also interested in using material analysis to estimate the timetable of a product and its life. Something I am nervous about for my internship is the possibility of being given work that is just busy work and is not productive. I will be much more interested in my work if it seems like it actually means something to the business or it is teaching me a vital skill.