This month we had the privilege of sitting down with Barry Paterson, CEO at Agile Analog, the customizable analog IP company.

Throughout his career, he has held senior leadership, engineering and product management roles at Wolfson Microelectronics and Dialog Semiconductor. Barry has been involved in the development of custom mixed-signal silicon solutions for many of the leading mobile and consumer electronics companies across the world. With a technical background in Ethernet, Audio, Haptics and Power Management, he is passionate about working with customers to deliver high quality products. Read more below for his full interview:

Q: What advice would you give to early-career engineers/people wanting to get into your vertical market/people wanting to start a company in the current climate/etc? 

 A: My advice to any early-stage engineers in the semiconductor or software development markets would be to find a company that will allow you to learn and develop your skills within a safe environment where you will be mentored and supported as you learn. I also believe that you should look for companies that will allow you to try different roles or tasks in order that you discover what really interests you. Once you have found that subject or area you should focus on being the best that you can at it. Learn on the job and ask lots of questions.

Q: What was your first job in the industry?

A: I was extremely fortunate to start my career as a graduate doing ASIC design. This was what I really wanted to do after graduation, and I applied to several companies before finding the ideal role. My first project was a JTAG 1149 controller ASIC, and it was all done in schematic capture in the days before VHDL, Verilog or logic synthesis. This probably gives away that I’ve been involved in chip design for over 30 years! The constant transformation in the semiconductor industry throughout my career has been one of the most rewarding aspects to date. The industry is continuously changing and there are always new problems to solve and new challenges to face.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

A: Don’t be afraid to try something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.

Q: Who was (or is) your mentor? And, what is the best piece of advice you received from him/her?

A: I can think of several individuals that have been mentors or inspirational managers throughout my career. Each of those individuals has either inspired me or taught me how to take a different approach to a problem. As I’ve developed my career, I’ve been coached by these individuals and emulated the approaches that I have seen these mentors take. I try to apply those learnings on a day-to-day basis or where I have faced similar situations. The key lesson is that where you see something that works well – take note. You should ask for advice and help from those that inspire you.

Q: What personal technology could you not be without?

A: My iPhone and AirPods are very important to me. I have a wide taste in music and like to be able to plug in and zone out to help me re-charge or relax. The combination of having every possible artist or track in my pocket with high quality audio that I can take anywhere is something I couldn’t do without.

Q: What hobbies do you participate in outside of work, or what do you do with your free time?

 A: My main hobbies are skiing and mountain biking. Being in the mountains inspires me and charging down a mountain side is always something I look forward to. At home I also really enjoy gardening with my wife.