Skip to main content

Michael Leung

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Engineering Science

empty
Broadcom headquarters
Credit
Broadcom on Wikimedia Commons
Looking back at my eight months working at Broadcom, I can honestly say it is everything I had hoped for.

Broadcom Corporation is a FORTUNE 500® company that specializes in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom was founded in 1991 and has since grown into an international corporation with over 10,000 employees across 15 different countries. Experienced engineers from all over the world work tirelessly to bring state-of-the-art products to customers.

Broadcom products can be found in many electronic devices throughout homes and offices. It provides the broadest portfolio of system-on-a-chip (SoC) and software solutions. Broadcom is focused on delivering state-of-the-art products and technologies to home, mobile, and networking markets. It is estimated that 99.98% of all data traffic crosses at least one Broadcom chip. Broadcom is truly a giant in the semiconductor industry, and it was my privilege to spend eight months working in the company.

Before I started working at Broadcom, I had very limited knowledge of digital circuits from school, and no experience working in integrated circuit (IC) developments. That all changed after eight months working as an IC development intern in the Cable Modem VLSI department. I spent the first two weeks on the job reading and learning about PCIE technology. PCIE, Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard used for communications between different components on the IC. My role is to test products and perform PCIE protocol testing to verify that the PCIE sub-block in each chip is working as expected.

The PCIE protocol testing was mostly done using automated test scripts written in Visual Basics, so I had to learn how to program in Visual Basics and understand what the existing test scripts do. I was also introduced to many other software tools in order to do my job. Some tools were completely new to me, while others were similar to programs I have used before.  In the lab, I had to set up equipment such as power supplies and oscilloscope, which were very similar to what I did in school. I also had the opportunity to do some soldering re-work on Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). There were a lot of things to learn and a lot of things to do; luckily for me, my manager was a very patient and knowledgeable man. Day-by-day, I slowly mastered all the tools I need to do my job. Each week I would list my accomplishments in a weekly status report, and each week my list grew incrementally. After two months, I was beginning to complete many of my assigned tasks by myself, but my manager would still come to me show me something new to learn. 

By the end of my first work term, I had already completed testing on a number of chips and I was very familiar with the overall testing procedures. I had clear directions on what tests to run and how to edit the test scripts to make them work. I was comfortable with my job and things that were completely new to me at the beginning of the year had become routine. Throughout my second work term, I had more opportunities to work independently. I knew exactly what I needed to setup when a new chip arrived and I could get things done without being asked. I had accumulated enough experience to solve many of the problems I encountered and I didn’t need to ask for help every time I encounter a problem.

Looking back at my eight months working at Broadcom, I can honestly say it is everything I had hoped for. I had accomplished all of my learning objectives that I set at the beginning of the year. I gained valuable experience and industry-relevant knowledge that I never would have come across at school. I got to put some of the skills I learn in school to practice, and picked up some useful new skills for my future career. I was able to meet many engineers working in the industry and received many good pieces of advice from them. To summarize my co-op experience at Broadcom, the most valuable thing that Broadcom had to offer is growth. Broadcom provides the environment and nourishment for students like me to grow and develop into professional engineers. Broadcom is a shining example of what the co-op program has to offer.

About the Author

Michael Leung

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Engineering Science
Jien Hilario photo
What’s in a Name? Coming to Terms With Labelling Myself as a Person With a Disability

If you were to see Jien on campus, you wouldn’t know that she had a disability. She does not use a wheelchair nor does she have a seeing eye dog. She has an invisible disability. In this article, Jien shares her journey on how she came to terms with labeling herself as a person with a disability. 

Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere
Why Doesn’t Canada Have a Disabilities Act?

It is 2018 and Canada has not yet implemented adequate protection and legislation for people with disabilities. When it comes to equality for all, Canada is falling far behind. In this article, Jien discusses the research and reality of why Canada needs a Disabilities Act.

We Can Do It!
How to Satisfy Your Inner Activist

When people think about social justice, they think of things like protests or hunger strikes, but the options don’t end there. These volunteer organizations can help you satisfy your inner activist.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Portrait of Christina
How to Make the Best of Your Co-op Work Term

After the exciting and terrifying process of applying to jobs, landing interviews, and finally accepting a job offer, I started to settle in to my new job in the Communication department of the Canadian Mental Health Association. With a solid goal in mind, each day became a new challenge for me to rise and make myself known. Here are the tips I followed that made my placement meaningful to both my employer and I.

Illustration of businesspeople
Advice for Upcoming SFU Entrepreneurs

Interested in starting a business but don’t know where to start? David explains in Part Two of his blog series what worked for him during his time establishing a start-up business. Read on to learn what tips he shares about the process of beginning your entrepreneurial journey.

Yasmin in the clinic with her ultrasound tools
Enhanced Sonograms and Patient Empowerment

Yasmin Khalili had her career mapped out way before she came to SFU, but the experience of coming to university and enrolling in the co-op program demonstrated that there are hundreds of paths and opportunities one can follow. Read Yasmin's story to learn about her co-op journey with ChANGEpain Clinic.