Intel Verification Engineer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Nov 05

Detailed, specific guidance on the Intel Verification Engineer interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage

The role of an Intel Verification Engineer

Intel is home to a dynamic team of problem solvers, innovators, and experimenters who are deeply committed to shaping the future of data centre technology. They play a pivotal role in transforming data centre ecosystems with their cutting-edge network technologies. In particular, their Ethernet products are at the forefront of moving data around the world and serve as the backbone for cloud services and telecommunications data centres.

Intel puts a strong emphasis on recruiting top-tier talent to fuel their growth, especially in the rapidly evolving Ethernet networking market. The total pay range for an Intel Verification Engineer is quite competitive, falling between $135,000 and $199,000 per year. 

Here's a breakdown:

  • Base Pay: $105,000 - $143,000 per year
  • Additional Pay: $30,000 - $56,000 per year

If you're passionate about network technologies and want to work with a company that's at the forefront of innovation, Intel could be a great fit for you.

Let's discuss their interview process for a Verification Engineer in depth.

Intel Verification Engineer Interview Guide

The Intel Verification Engineer Interview process comprises of the following 2 main rounds:

  • Telephonic Technical Screening (1 round)
  • Onsite Interviews (5 rounds, each 45 minutes)
Relevant Guides

Intel Verification Engineer - Telephonic Technical Screening

Overview

This is the initial screening round conducted over the phone. It primarily focuses on your technical knowledge related to verification engineering where the interviewer touches upon topics like verification methodologies, your experience with SystemVerilog, and your understanding of testing and verification concepts.

Intel Verification Engineer - Onsite Interview

Overview

If you pass the telephonic round, you'll be invited for onsite interviews. These interviews are more in-depth and cover a range of topics. Here's a breakdown of what to expect in each round:

  • Testing Verification: This round will assess your expertise in testing and verification processes. Expect questions related to testbench development, coverage analysis, and debugging techniques.
  • Universal Verification Methodology (UVM): You'll likely be asked about your knowledge of UVM, its components, and how you've used it in your previous roles or projects.
  • SystemVerilog Constraints and Assertions: Be prepared to demonstrate your understanding of SystemVerilog constraints and assertions. You may be given scenarios to write constraints or assertions.
  • C Programming and Data Structures: Here, the focus will be on your knowledge of C programming and data structures. You might be asked coding questions or practical problems related to data structures like "how to swap 3 numbers?" or "how to find 3 greatest numbers in an array?" There are typically two questions asked in this round, the first is an algorithmic pseudo-code or digital systems questions. The second is a "thought question"; for instance, they'll give you a code in assembly with a problem in the code and ask you to identify it. 
  • Logical Puzzles: This round involves solving logical puzzles to assess your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

You can practise these interviews through an online platform like Prepfully that offers mock interview resources. It can be extremely helpful to simulate interview-like conditions to get through practice and answer questions confidently and naturally. You can book a 1:1 session directly with a Verification Engineer on Prepfully here.

Interview Questions

  • How do you ensure no data loss happens in HW to SW communication
  • What are the various stages in PCIe linkup?
  • Design muxes and write code for Fibonacci series
  • What are different types of FSM?
  • Can you explain the key components of the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) and how they facilitate verification?
  • What  is the role of a UVM agent, and how does it contribute to the verification environment?
  • Could you describe a complex verification project you've worked on recently? What were the main challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
  • How do you approach test planning and testbench architecture when starting a new project?
  • Explain the differences between `always` and `initial` blocks in SystemVerilog.
  • What is the significance of the `@(posedge clk)` and `@(negedge clk)` constructs in RTL design and verification?
  • When verifying a FIFO design, what are the key conditions you need to check for, specifically related to the FIFO being full or empty?
  • Explain the concept of parallelism in SystemVerilog using `fork` and `join_any` or `join_none`. How can these constructs be used effectively in verification environments?
  • What is the difference between Static Verification and Dynamic Verification?
  • What is the difference between Black-Box
  • Compare and contrast the key differences between the Advanced eXtensible Interface (AXI) and the Advanced High-performance Bus (AHB) protocols. When would you choose one over the other for a particular project?
  • Given the following assembly commands:
    a. MOV Ri <-- Rj/immediate (put register j or immediate value into reg i)
    b. INC Ri (++)
    c. DEC Ri (--)
    d. JNZ Ri (jump not zero)
    A. Code an assembly program that calculates x*y, where x and y are unsigned integers.
    undefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Intel Verification Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Following are the roles and responsibilities of a Intel Verification Engineer:

  • As a Verification Engineer at Intel, one of your primary responsibilities is to create verification environments that utilise constrained random testing. These environments are designed to rigorously test complex IP blocks by generating diverse and random test cases to expose potential issues.
  • Your role encompasses the entire verification lifecycle. This starts with the planning phase, where you define the verification strategy and objectives. Then, you proceed to test development, test execution, and eventually, closing coverage gaps to ensure that all aspects of the design have been adequately verified.
  • You'll be involved in creating and reviewing test plans, tracking Triage test failures, identifying root causes, and collaborating with design teams to resolve issues—ensuring the reliability and quality of Intel's products.

Intel Verification Engineer Skills and Qualifications

Here are the skills and qualifications that a Intel Verification Engineer must have:

  • A Bachelor's degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Physics, or a related field is typically required. Some candidates may also have a Post Graduate degree in one of these fields.
  • Candidates should ideally have 4 or more years of experience in logic design verification. This includes using various tools and methodologies such as System Verilog, Perl, OVM/UVM, logic simulators, and coverage tools. 
  • Having 2 or more years of experience in Pre-Silicon validation is a plus. This involves testing and validating designs before they are fabricated, helping to catch issues early in the design process.
  • Candidates should be familiar with Pre-Silicon simulation tool flows like Synopsys VCS, Verdi, and DVE. 
  • Experience in using Specman or UVM for developing verification test benches and implementing constrained random verification is valuable. 
  • Depending on the specific role, knowledge in areas such as PCIe, Power Management, Ethernet, PHY, and Processors can be advantageous. 

Frequently Asked Questions