How my career progression went from 'rags to riches'

Kirthi Kishore - Hardware Design Engineer, India

What opportunities has Sondrel given you since you joined?

If I had to describe my career progression at Sondrel in one sentence that would be ‘It’s been like a Disney movie’. Rags to riches, that kind of career progression. 3 years ago, I was very new to physical design. I started out as a synthesis and timing analysis engineer although I was always interested in working in physical design I didn’t get the chance to do so until my first project. Then I got the opportunity to do physical design within a project. This, for me, was a real whirlwind because I started the project as a novice and ended the project working on a partition that is part of a chip. It was magical. Nobody with my kind of experience would ever get to work on a partition on the same project that they started learning on as it is such a step up but Sondrel gave me the opportunity and confidence that I needed to progress and learn on the job successfully.

Since that project, it was all upwards from there. I started my next project owning the full chip for the project, which was my first full chip activity and only the second project that I worked on which is very rare in this industry. It went really well. I learnt so much in so little time but the reason why I was able to achieve this kind of steep learning curve was my ability to grasp things at a much faster rate than most other people. Because I was able to do so, I was given a lot more opportunities and was able to progress my career as a physical design engineer much quicker. Having the skill is one thing but getting these kinds of opportunities is really rare and where I think Sondrel stands out from other companies in India and in my career.

I am now currently working on another project where I’m owning the entire chip, not just the full chip activities, so things are always progressing for me. Sondrel is a place where it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. It doesn’t matter whether you got opportunities in your previous companies nor whether you have the knowledge to do so. It only matters that you are ready to learn things and ready to prove yourself, and then you will be given opportunities - whatever opportunities you want!

How are employees recognised for their work?

I was part of the Sondrel Plus programme for India which has only recently been introduced to the company in the past 3 years. Sondrel Plus is a good idea and concept for employees to be recognised for their work and rewarded as being in the top 10% of performers, allowing for more opportunities to further their careers. There are learning opportunities where Sondrel will pay for training courses and self-development programs although I prefer to learn things on the job which is why I enjoy having lots of opportunities to progress my skills in new areas and disciplines. We also have Sondrel stars which is when employees are voted for by their colleagues for outstanding work every quarter and are rewarded with a £300 gift voucher with one employee in each region being chosen.

What is the culture like at Sondrel?

In India, Sondrel employees are treated as siblings rather than employees. You have Satish who is the engineering head: there is no strict hierarchy. Satish is so open that any engineer, whether they’re a junior or someone like me who’s been at Sondrel for 6 years or so, can get a meeting with him and talk to him about anything and he will give us the time we need to talk to him. If you have a concern, you can go to your manager or other colleagues who are just as supportive. Our team is very open. I started here when Sondrel India was just 4 engineers and now we’re about 40 engineers so I’ve been there through the entire development of Sondrel in India. The culture here is more like a family then a company.

What other benefits are there at Sondrel?

The traveling opportunities have come to a halt for the past few years for obvious reasons but I am hopeful that soon I will get to visit my colleagues in the UK, Morocco and China. Since I’ve been here, I’ve travelled once to the UK and the colleagues I got to meet enabled me to build stronger relationships with them. I really enjoy working with people in other areas and benefit from working with people globally and sharing technical knowledge.

For the past 3 years, I have been the chairman of our Sondrel Social Committee (SCC). When we were in the office, we used to have at least one event per month. It was fun to host events and get everyone together to enjoy each other’s company. We did competitions, quizzes, treasure hunts. Whenever we announced a new SSC event everyone would get really excited and moral would be boosted.

When comparing with other local companies Sondrel has so many wide and varying opportunities that let their employees grow, flourish and progress. I’ve been consistently exposed to open communication, friendly work colleagues and a supportive environment. I’ve experienced the growth of the company and the Indian office and the future is very exciting as we are moving into a new, bigger office very soon. I would recommend Sondrel to anyone that wants to grow with their career and be involved in projects that challenge their thinking and their skills.