A woman with dark hair stands in front of the sea smiling at the camera. She is a product engineer at Intel.
Iratxe Mijangos. Image: Intel

How this product engineer helps develop test programs for Intel

2 May 2023

Products such as chips need constant testing throughout the manufacturing process. Intel’s Iratxe Mijangos talks about her role in ensuring testability.

Iratxe Mijangos works as a manufacturing and product engineer in the development of test programs at Intel, ensuring testability and manufacturability of integrated circuits from the component feasibility stage through production ramp.

Her previous experience includes post-doctoral research in adhesion of polymer/drug and coating on metal wire drug-eluting stents.

She completed a research PhD of mechanical properties and fracture of brittle materials at nanoscale. “I have also worked on materials research on advanced ceramics in several companies in Spain doing research and sales,” she told SiliconRepublic.com.

‘Knowing when you work best, are more alert and can focus is vital’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

We start the morning with a team meeting and review the daily work scheduled, milestones coming and check if there is anything urgent or a higher priority task.

I review my planning list and go through all tasks ensuring I am on track. After this meeting, I review the work I did on the previous day, I gather the data needed, analyse and continue working on the items scheduled.

In the afternoon, I get in contact with my team members and follow up with items that need to be reviewed. I am aware that work never ends so I set up a daily goal and once done, I log off for the day. It is important to have time off after work, so after work I would do some gym work or cultivating my knowledge on other interests I have in life.

What types of projects do you work on?

I work in the power and thermal modules of the test programs, ie, measuring static and dynamic leakage, reading temperature of dies – or chips – in the finished wafer are just some of the test requirements.

This work involves providing feedback on the process health to the fab (our manufacturing facility), reading and detecting failures in the dies, troubleshooting and reporting them. I enjoy checking data, rolling up metrics and reaching conclusions, especially when I learn something new and relate it to something I knew before like putting a piece of the puzzle together.

My previous role was a process engineer in the fab where I worked on the wafer while it is still in process. This job involves following specifications and copying exactly from the leading fab.

Similarly, I had to detect failures, troubleshoot issues and implement fixes. I believe I grow when I expose myself to challenging experiences.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Planning tasks, executing, editing existing programming codes, graphing data and improving methods of failure detection.

This role is better executed with good programming and computer science skills. Good communication, teamwork and organisation skills are also key to performing a good job.

What are the hardest parts of your working day?

The hardest part is to react to unforeseen issues and having to understand a problem fast and react quickly to put a solution in place in a timely manner.

Sometimes it adds an additional difficulty when not all the information is available. I break problems into small ones and start from there.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?

Knowing when you work best, are more alert and can focus is vital. If it is morning or afternoon, I ensure I do the most challenging part of the work at that time. I help myself by listening to various types of music to achieve more concentration and motivation.

If I feel stuck on something I sometimes walk for a little while to get fresh air. These are also my best creative and positive moments as I often come up with some new ideas or things to check.

I also never underestimate how beneficial it is talking to a colleague for help solving a problem, seeing a problem from a different perspective or even for boosting your day.

What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?

Working from home, I heavily use Teams as a chat or video call for informal chats and quick questions. If I am in the office, I walk to the person’s cubicle when needed. I use email for more formal information to stakeholders or team members.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

The role and the workload have expanded as we understand better the products and we adapt to new customer demands.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I enjoy being part of a bigger picture and adding value to the company. I like the social part of the job, interacting with so many individuals on a daily basis.

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