5-months as a cellXica graduate

Sam Kirkbride

February 2, 2023

I joined as an Embedded Systems grad at cellXica only around 5 months ago but have already been involved with multiple exciting projects and feel like I am a valued part of the Digital Design team. I didn’t know quite what to expect, so being given responsibility and independence on work that has been both challenging and interesting has made for a pretty great introduction to work here. I’ve had the chance to apply a lot of the theory I had covered in my studies but also expanded my knowledge of Digital Communications massively, as well as having had the chance to learn new skills like Verilog.

My first project was on receiver sensitivity testing for UMTS. After familiarising myself with the W-CDMA techniques used in the standard, I worked with test equipment and MATLAB toolboxes to investigate the measurement channels I needed to use. I wrote programs to communicate between Linux and RT-cores (very new to me!) to develop the functionality for my sensitivity test setup. It was exciting and rewarding to see my test become part of the company’s dedicated automated testing framework for their products.

Moving on, I learned Verilog through some work on a DAB demodulator, where I replaced the software implementation of a Viterbi Decoder with my own RTL module designed from scratch. I enjoyed developing and testing my own algorithm in MATLAB before designing in Verilog, done in conjunction with the debugging tools available, which is actually quite a fun process! The software interfacing utilised some hardware acceleration functionality not used  on the SDRFE product before, so I had the opportunity to write a white paper for the company detailing how to implement a SDRFE hardware accelerator to offload a signal processing function from software to FPGA.

Overall, I have felt incredibly well supported by everyone at cellXica, with the people friendly and keen to help improve you at every stage of your development. Here knowledge sharing, transparent processes and pragmatic working practices make for a motivating and stimulating environment, which fosters a great company spirit. You are recognised and rewarded for your contributions and made to feel like an important team player. My work continues to be extremely interesting as I move to be part of a 5G-focused team, with clear objectives and expectations set out to me. Bring it on!

More notes from the team …