What Does a Verification Engineer Do?
A verification engineer evaluates electronics products to check for problems before they go into production. This is a particular concern in the design of processors, which require an extensive development phase, but other electronics are subject to verification as well. Degrees in engineering are usually required to work in this field and it is also necessary to be comfortable with electronic test equipment and bench environments. It is common to use teams for this process, which makes the ability to work cooperatively a useful trait.
In the design stages, engineers eliminate obvious flaws and consider possible ways a product might fail, with the goal of producing a working prototype. The verification engineer determines if they have succeeded. This can involve testing an extensive network of connections, confirming that components synchronize properly, and addressing specific concerns that may pertain to a particular product. Electronic test equipment can provide feedback, and the process is documented thoroughly.
Products that fail in testing can be examined by a verification engineer, who determines why. This information can contribute to a redesign to improve the product, and may also be used to generate a simulation to replicate the conditions. Verification engineers determine which conditions may need to be present for failure to occur, and what steps the company needs to take to address the problem.
Complex electronics can include a huge number of components. For this reason, it may be necessary to use a team of verification engineers to check for bugs. They are each tasked with different components, and some overlap may be built in to ensure repeat testing. Duplication of testing may be a conscious decision if there are worries that a conflict might not be uncovered if it involves components handled by different teams.
Working as a verification engineer typically involves a lab environment and standard working hours. As products grow close to release or significant problems develop, staff members may be asked to consider working overtime to assist. Employees may be provided with a range of benefits, depending on the employer, and salaries are typically based on qualifications and experience. People with advanced degrees and years of experience, especially industry-specific training, can make more.
Someone interested in becoming a verification engineer should consider a degree in electrical engineering or a related field. It can help to pursue internships while in college to get experience in the industry. This may lead to job offers after graduation, or references that could provide opportunities.
In the UK offshore sector 'Verification Engineer' has a different meaning than above. Any offshore installations in the UK sector of the North Sea have to have a Safety Case which outlines the SCEs (Safety Critical Elements) of their Installation. They must then create performance standards to maintain the SCEs.
They need to find an ICP (independent competent person) to verify that the the SCEs have been correctly defined and that the performance standards are adequate both in scope and in their maintenance.
So, the installation will have a verification engineer looking after this, and liaising with the ICP who is in effect a verification engineer / surveyor also.
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