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Learning Simulation Helped Us Find a First Job

I am David Quiroga and I am Jonathan Hernandez. This spring, we graduated with bachelor of science degrees in electrical engineering from Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Engineering & Computing. Now we are headed to industry to work as engineers and we want to share with you why simulation was key to finding our first jobs.

We have always been fascinated with electrical engineering. Circuit design and antennas are things we wanted to study. It‘s also helpful that there’s a high demand for electrical engineers.

We learned a lot of skills during our undergraduate years, including electronic design, programming and troubleshooting skills. However, there is a key skill and technology we want to discuss: simulation and ANSYS HFSS. We took Antennas in fall 2017 and Introduction to RF Circuit Design in spring 2018, both taught by Stavros Georgakopoulos, associate professor from FIU’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Here we started learning about circuit design. Of course, we knew that you can design a circuit, build it and then test it. This is how we thought it was done. However, we were surprised to learn there is a much better solution: simulation.

Georgakopoulos taught us how to use HFSS in his class and how simulation is used every day by engineers in the industries we want to work for. It was eye-opening to discover that complex electrical systems and networks can be designed virtually because of simulation. We could have easily learned simulation thanks to the class, but HFSS is also available in all university computer labs and via remote access right on our personal computers. Here are some examples of design projects we completed using:

  • HFSS: coaxial cable, monopole antenna, dipole antenna, patch antenna, patch array antenna and microstrip.
  • HFSS combined with circuit analyses option: several matching circuits like L-match, single stub, double stub and quarter wave transformers.

Fast forward to the time when we were looking for a job. After talking to many engineers at career fairs like FIU’s spring 2018 career fair and the BEYA Stem Conference (February 2018 in Washington, D.C.), we started interacting with engineers who were very interested in our simulation and HFSS skills. We had no idea that so many people were interested in our simulation skills. The technical interviews were very thorough and we had to explain the simulation projects we did, how we did simulation to get S-parameters, etc.

We are now both starting in our new positions. I, Jonathan, will be working as an electrical engineer in Andover, Massachusetts. I, David, will be working as an electrical engineer in Irvine, California. We are very excited to be able to continue to use simulation and HFSS for our engineering work. There is no doubt that having simulation skills on our resume was a differentiator for employers. It gave us an edge during the recruitment process. We thank Professor Georgakopoulos for teaching simulation at FIU.

Jonathan Hernandez

Co-author Jonathan Hernandez is from Miami, Florida. After graduating from FIU with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, he plans to pursue a lifelong career in the radio frequency (RF) and communications field. Jonathan was involved with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and interned as a controls and electrical engineer in the summer of 2017. He decided to pursue engineering for job security, but quickly developed a passion for electrical engineering. For his senior design project, Hernandez developed a satellite communication system for CubeSats consisting of a payload and a ground station. He hopes that his project will help schools and universities develop their own CubeSATs and promote the study of space communications. He is also an avid scuba diver.