Harsh Patel, BEng ’14 (Electrical Engineering) – Faculty of Engineering
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Harsh Patel, BEng ’14 (Electrical Engineering)

Learning on the Job

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Harsh Patel has become an expert in signal integrity as it relates to high-speed infotainment products in the automotive industry.

For students who aren’t sure exactly what that means, the 2014 electrical engineering grad has some words of reassurance.

“Don’t be discouraged when you see terminology or tools or processes you haven’t heard of before in job descriptions for your entry-level jobs,” he says. “We learn a lot in school, but we don’t learn everything.”

Patel says his degree gave him the basics of digital communications but on-the-job learning – starting with a school co-op term he completed with Semtech Corporation – has provided him with most of the industry-specific knowledge he uses daily.

“Every job has specific training to get you comfortable with what you need to do, so keep that in mind when you’re applying and interviewing,” he says. “Be ready and willing to learn and the rest will fall into place.”

Currently working as a senior field application engineer with US-based Amphenol Communications Solutions, Patel has developed expertise in a relatively new area of the automotive industry.

Working at Semtech, first as a co-op student and then on a post-graduation contract, gave Patel experience using signal integrity test equipment.

He says that experience allowed him to jump into an emerging industry, working on the design and testing of high-speed networking connectors and cable assemblies for automotive use.

“I really enjoy working on things that I can see implemented in the end product – the car,” he says.

“Automotive has always lagged behind in data transfer speeds but is now catching up, as we look to about 10Gbps and beyond for automotive ethernet type of networks.

After six years working for Molex, first as an electrical engineer and then as a signal integrity engineering supervisor, Patel has recently moved to his current job.

He says ongoing studies to earn an executive MBA encouraged him to make the move to a more customer-facing position.

“I look forward to solving challenges with self-driving cars, know we will see some major changes in the automotive industry, and am happy and fulfilled to know that I’ll have a hand in that future.”

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