Women Adore Tech

Childhood inspiration leads to a career in Electronics – Likhita Chandrashekara

Likhita Chandrashekara’s story reminds us of how a little girl with dreams transformed into a woman with a vision. She shares her journey of how her interests evolved from getting fascinated with Robotics as a little girl (credits to Star Wars movies!) to pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from NITK Surathkal. With a solid technical journey and many accomplishments in her name, she is currently a Senior Analog Design Engineer at Texas Instruments (TI), India. Read on to learn how she got into her current role and what keeps her driven to accomplish more.

What drove you to choose Electronics in your bachelor’s studies?

When I was a child, I found dismantling toys very interesting. I used to get fascinated with cartoons like Ben10. When my father and I watched our first Star Wars movie (Episode IV – A New Hope) together, the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO made the 10 year-old me declare at the end of the movie that ‘I will grow up to make powerful robots one day’! I wanted to make robots all my life right up until I got to Engineering. I chose Electronics Engineering as I thought it was a good starting point to pursue my interest in Robotics.

How did you explore your interests during your bachelor’s studies?

I joined the Robotics club at my university to pursue a career in that direction. We worked on building an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), capable of handling 800 kg load for Daimler India Commercial Vehicles for two years. The experience helped me apply all that I had learned to build a system, and taught me to look beyond theory to understand practical issues one might encounter. Parallelly, I also spent time exploring other options and found Signal Processing to be extremely interesting, so much so that I ended up doing that for most of my bachelor’s degree. I took advantage of free online courses and e-mailed a few professors at the top research institutions in India for an opportunity to work under their guidance. This led me to work on “Joint Speaker Verification and Spoof Detection Systems” in the field of Speech Signal Processing at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

What did you choose to do after your graduation?

After my 3rd year in engineering, I interned with Texas Instruments, where I developed a software for Mixed-Signal Timing Closure in Analog on Top designs. I received a pre-placement offer, post which I chose to join TI to understand what the Semiconductor Industry had to offer. Despite my background in Digital Signal Processing and Robotics, I was extended an opportunity with TI in an Analog design role as I was only expected to know the fundamentals of Analog and Digital electronics. I would highly encourage students to focus on their college courses along with pursuing other interests to ace campus interviews.

Could you elaborate on your work at Texas Instruments?

My first position was in an Electronic Design Automation role which involves developing back-end/front-end tools that engineers use to aid product development cycles in the semiconductor industry. Later on, I moved to a different team where I worked on designing cutting-edge Non-Volatile Memory IPs for different applications. The most exciting part of this role was that I got to work on diverse challenges across various domains in industrial, automotive, medical, and consumer electronics products. Recently, I made a move to the Interface group where we work on challenging front-end analog interfaces. Again, our work caters to many domains, so I believe that diversity is what keeps me motivated.

What was your most challenging experience?

My biggest challenge rose from the fact that I chose to explore a lot within my field. Though it looks exciting upfront, it comes with its own set of hurdles. Every time I made a transition, I had to put in twice the effort to ramp up on the new role and gain credibility within and outside the team for the relevant expertise. At the same time, I must credit a lot of my success to the amazing mentors and leaders I have at TI. The key takeaway here is that, do not be afraid to explore early in your career despite the additional effort it demands. It is probably one of the most effective routes to proactively discover where our genuine interest lies.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

As we grow older, most of our past achievements somehow seem to look insignificant in hindsight. But, there is one moment from my school years that I truly cherish even today. When I was in high school, I had gotten into this streak of participating in various creative writing competitions, and in one such event, I had been selected for the nationals to represent my state, Karnataka. Circumstances led me to a point where I, a 13 year-old, had to travel alone on a 1000km train journey to reach the venue. This was extremely intimidating as it was the first solo trip in my entire life until then. I not only made it through the trip but also ended up winning the competition! Looking back, this may have been a small feat, but this was the very first time I broke out of my mental barrier that I won’t be able to handle the world on my own. Fast forward to today, I have attended and won multiple competitions in different countries. This has only been possible because I managed to take the first leap back then and that is a moment I’m extremely proud of.

What is your driving factor?

The satisfaction that I get from the impact of my work has always been my driving factor. From innovating as an engineer to leading tech communities, I will always be motivated by striving toward making a positive difference in the world at large.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your goal. Put in the effort and hustle to achieve it. The satisfaction that you’ll get from the fruits of your struggle is unparalleled. The Universe will conspire to help you succeed if you are truly passionate. Until then, May the Force be with you 🙂

-Likhita Chandrashekara

Content Editor: Sraddha S Bharadwaj
Reviewer: Giripriya Pai, Maanasa Sachidanand
Interviewer: Maanasa Sachidanand

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