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Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Oct 02

Dominate Your Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview: Expert Guidance, Insider Insights, and Proven Techniques for Triumph

The role of a Qualcomm Verification Engineer

Qualcomm plays a significant role in advancing technology, particularly in the realm of connectivity. The company's innovations power a wide range of everyday products, from 5G-enabled smartphones with impressive camera capabilities to smart vehicles, cities, and the smart factories that produce their gadgets.

Qualcomm Verification Engineers play a crucial role in ensuring that the micro-architectures they work on are launch-ready. This means that these designs must meet all the necessary criteria and be prepared for integration into Qualcomm's end products. They work closely with Chip Architects to validate and verify the micro-architectures of CPUs and SOCs.

The total compensation for a Qualcomm Verification Engineer typically ranges from $138,000 to $202,000 per year.

Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview Guide

There are 3 rounds to the Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview process:

Rounds:

  • Phone Screening
  • Phone Call with an Engineer
  • Onsite
Relevant Guides

Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview - Phone Screening

Overview

The phone screening typically lasts for about 1 hour and serves as the initial step to assess your qualifications.

The interview often starts with introductory questions like "Tell me about yourself" and inquiries about your professional experiences. You will likely be asked to discuss your past projects related to verification engineering—your role in them, the challenges you faced, and the outcomes you achieved.

You can also expect basic technical questions related to test bench components bench architecture—and other questions assessing your foundational knowledge in verification engineering.

Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview - Phone Call with an Engineer

Overview

The phone call interview typically spans one hour where a Qualcomm engineer delves into various technical aspects. Candidates are often tasked with designing coverage classes for the Advanced High-performance Bus (AHB) and creating assertions specific to AHB. You might also be asked to draw waveforms, demonstrating your understanding of signal behavior and timing diagrams in digital designs. 

System Verilog (SV) basics will likely be covered, including topics such as data types, procedural blocks, and concurrency control constructs. Expect questions related to the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM), focusing on UVM components and sequences. There will also be general digital design questions that examine your understanding of concepts like synchronous and asynchronous logic, clock domains, and data path design.

Interview Questions

Example Questions:

  • Can you draw a timing diagram illustrating the behaviour of a flip-flop in a synchronous digital design?
  • Describe how you would create a coverage class to ensure comprehensive testing of an AHB interface.
  • Write an assertion to check for a specific condition in an AHB transaction.
  • Explain the differences between blocking and non-blocking assignments in SystemVerilog.
  • What are the key components of the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM), and how are they used in the verification process?
  • Walk me through the basics of clock domain crossing (CDC) in digital design.
  • How do you model a finite state machine (FSM) in SystemVerilog?
  • How do you model a finite state machine (FSM) in SystemVerilog?
  • Describe the purpose of a UVM sequence and how it interacts with other UVM components.
  • What is the significance of a setup and hold time in digital design, and how do you ensure they are met?
  • Can you provide an example of an assertion that checks for proper data alignment in an AHB transaction?
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Qualcomm Verification Engineer Interview - Onsite Round

Overview

The onsite round of Qualcomm's Verification Engineer interview process is a comprehensive evaluation that typically spans multiple rounds (7-8 in total), each lasting about 1 hour. 

  1. Technical Rounds: You'll encounter various rounds that delve into different aspects of the verification engineer role. These may include:
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  2. Coding Interviews: You need to be prepared for technical questions that touch on electronics, software languages (especially C++), and algorithms. These questions may include discussions on abstract classes and array-based problem-solving. 
  3. Behavioral and Personality-based Questions: Certain rounds will focus on your behavioral traits and how well you'd fit into Qualcomm's culture. You might encounter questions such as:
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  4. Brain Teaser Puzzles: Toward the end of the onsite interviews, you may encounter puzzle questions that span various domains, including mathematics and geometry. These puzzles are designed to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to think critically under pressure.
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Interview Questions

Interview Questions

  1. Explain the advantages of using SystemVerilog over traditional Verilog in verification.
  2. How would you verify a complex pipelined processor design?
  3. Discuss the trade-offs between code coverage and functional coverage in a verification plan.
  4. How do you verify connectivity of an interface to memory with 6 bits of address and 6 bits of data? Show me a program that will write, read, and verify the connectivity.
  5. How do you verify a 32-bit adder?
  6. Design an alarm clock and provide the block diagrams.
  7. Identify the circuit to which a given FSM corresponds.
  8. Describe the major instructions that should be included in a new microcontroller.
  9. Can you share one challenging project you worked on?
  10. Describe a conflict you had in your research and how you resolved it.
  11. Describe the tests that need to be performed on memory.
  12. Shuffle an array.
  13. Given an array, write a program to generate a random permutation of array elements.
  14. Shuffle a deck of cards or randomize a given array.
  15. Interrupt Mask Register (10 bits) - Each bit corresponds to 1 interrupt.
  16. Interrupt Log Register (10 bits) - Each bit corresponds to 1 interrupt.

Qualcomm Verification Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

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

  • As a Qualcomm Verification Engineer, you'll work closely with CPU and SOC Architects. This involves understanding the high-level system requirements and the overarching concepts behind the project.
  • Your role involves developing detailed Test and Coverage plans based on the project's architecture and micro-architecture.
  • Developing a robust Verification Methodology is crucial. This methodology should be designed for scalability and portability across different environments. 
  • You'll create all the necessary components, including Stimulus generation, Checkers, Assertions, Trackers, and Coverage tools. 
  • Once your environment is set up, you'll proceed to develop Verification Plans and Testbenches for your functional domain. You'll execute these plans, which involve Design Bring-up, bringing up the DV environment, running regressions, and debugging test failures.

Qualcomm Verification Engineer Skills and Qualifications

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

  • Make sure you have a solid grasp of microprocessor verification functions and architectures, especially in areas like Cache Coherence, Memory Ordering, Prefetching, Branch Prediction, Renaming, Speculative Execution, and Address Translation/Memory Management.
  • You'll need to understand Random Instruction Sequencing (RIS) and be capable of testing designs at both the Block/Unit-level and Subsystem/Chip-level to prove correctness.
  • If you have experience leading a small team of verification engineers, that's a valuable asset, especially when it comes to CPU verification projects.
  • Familiarity with advanced techniques like Formal Verification, Assertions, and Silicon Bringup can set you apart from the crowd.
  • You should also have experience with various verification methodologies and tools, including simulators, coverage collection, gate-level simulation, waveform viewers, and mixed-signal verification.

Frequently Asked Questions