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Software Engineering At Intel: A Perfect Combination Of Tech And Curiosity

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If you’re thinking of joining the tech world, then Intel is a great place to find a role tailored to your interests and skills. We heard from Mircea Gherzan, an engineering manager at Intel Germany. He tells us what surprised him about Intel, and why software development offers such exciting careers.


Tell us about your role now, and your career path so far?

I joined Intel in March 2012, and they were my first employer after I completed my second masters’ degree. I’m an engineering manager for a team of developers. We’re developing a system debugger, which is an application used to find problems in system software, for example the BIOS. Previously, I was the technical lead of the team and before that I worked on a different debugger.

Now as a manager there is a lot of coordination and interaction with other teams – prioritization, understanding the customer needs. It’s a very agile environment and decisions must be properly paced.


Tell me a little about your team and what they do.

My team is made up entirely of two types of developers: native and graphical user interface (GUI) developers. If people like a certain functionality or feature, they can specialize in it, and we have feature owners. As a team we look at the ‘inner workings’ of system-level software. Our debugger is used for diagnosing issues in the low-level software that starts executing as soon as you turn on your system, be it an ultramobile laptop or a multi-socket server.


Why did you join Intel?

It was a dream of mine to join Intel. Although some might think Intel is mainly a hardware creator, there is a very strong involvement in the software space. For me, this is the fun part of computer engineering.

I was also excited by Intel’s involvement in the open source community. If you’re a student and you want to try open source on your personal system, then you will most likely benefit from having as many Intel components as possible. We are a serious player, and open source is not about monetizing ideas, but about driving innovation. I have always respected Intel for playing by the rules and being a good citizen of the open source community.


What keeps you at Intel?

There are several reasons. I like Intel from an ethical point of view, so I wanted to stay at the company, and the move to this current role helps progress my career. Intel is a world market leader – in fact it is the market leader and a top 20 global brand. Beyond these markers of success, I find the nature of the tech really challenging in a positive way.

Working on chips that will be in the market in four to five years is amazing – it’s a dream. There aren’t many competitors, and as a company we’re unique. In addition, system debugger development is very niche.


What motivates you about your role?

The success stories – the sense you get when a customer has solved a problem with the help of your tool – it saves the day, and ultimately, it’s that feeling of success. It’s a game changer when people successfully use your solution, whether it’s the impact on customer’s time, money or mental sanity, since they’re coping with solving a challenge under extreme time pressure. 

Intel hardware and software keeps evolving, and it’s always a race to get the latest hardware with the corresponding software to the market. For example, an OEM gets a new chip from Intel and the low-level software (firmware, BIOS, operating system) has to run on it. And it’s worth noting that year after year we release new hardware.  


Have you found anything surprising or different about Intel?

If you’re starting out in your career, or changing jobs, we are currently in an employee led market. But while compensation is important, it’s also key to remember that it’s actually the culture and the respect for technology that’s crucial. Companies that do well are those which put the emphasis on their technical talent and don’t get hampered by the process. The corporate values and culture at Intel are different to those of our competitors. At Intel I see the openness about technology. If you’re curious about an upcoming hardware feature, there is a reasonable chance that you’ll be allowed to learn about it – this keeps it interesting and challenging.


What makes now a great time to join Intel?

If you want to work with the chips that will be powering most of the computers and devices of your family and friends, then join us – we have these chips on our work benches right now. We have great software teams and for people who are passionate about the boundary between hardware and software, Intel has a lot to offer.

We are working with amazing technology which is shaping the future. Chip manufacturing and the growth in computing is exponential. We are at the forefront, the first line of technology, at the very edge of it.


Ready to do more with your career? At Intel, we give you the freedom to push ideas and yourself. If this sounds like your kind of challenge, you should join our team.


Find out more about jobs at Intel Germany.