A solid endorsement of UK systems engineering knowledge is implicit in Altera's decision to recruit UK designers for its systems solutions engineering group at High Wycombe. Altera will expand the group by 33%, representing 17 new designers.
Why not recruit them in Shanghai where Altera also has a systems engineering solutions centre?
"Because it's important to get people who are knowledgeable in the areas we address," replies Mark Dickinson, Altera's vice president of systems solutions, "you can't take exclusively new graduates - they may be highly experienced, but they haven't faced the problems our customers are facing. I can find a broad range of people who have the skills we want in the UK."
Dickinson established Altera's UK design centre 13 years ago. Three years ago the company set up the systems solutions engineering group and it now has 100 designers worldwide, half of which are in the UK.
So Altera is looking to recruit people with systems knowledge which means winkling them out of systems houses. Can they make this transition easily?
"They can learn what an FPGA is by joining us," responds Dickinson, "I thought it would be a challenge, but it hasn't been. We can show them it's an exciting environment because we're at the leading edge of what it's possible to do on an FPGA. If you're creative and innovative you can see that having a success benefits a very wide range of customers."
Dickinson added that the high profitability of programmable houses allowed them to offer very good remuneration packages.
"The stock participation programme and other benefits are more generous than they'd get at a systems house," says Dickinson.