Colombian Engineer Lands Hardware Job in Silicon Valley

“It was very cool being around people who work in the big companies you’ve always followed.”

When Alejandro Jimenez completed his degree in engineering, he sensed that his education was just beginning. A native of Colombia, Jimenez wanted a graduate-level program that offered specialized training in embedded systems. Not only that, but he knew he wanted to work in the heart of Silicon Valley industry. UCSC Extension’s Embedded Systems certificate program was the perfect fit.

“When I started looking for embedded systems programs, there were several things that triggered UCSC Extension,” Jimenez says. “I was interested in embedded Linux and real-time operating systems (RTOS). The opportunity to mix and match courses from different programs allows you to go more in-depth in your core knowledge and update your skills. I took courses in Embedded Systems, Computer Programming and VLSI Engineering. UCSC Extension was the only place where I could mix and match from these three areas.”

As an international student, Jimenez worked closely with Extension’s International Program staff to file paperwork for his F-1 visa.

“From the very beginning, the International Program was completely defined and controlled,” he says. “The international team was a great help; everything was easy.”

Jimenez appreciated Extension’s hands-on approach to engineering, as well as the expertise and enthusiasm of his instructors. In addition to learning core skills such as C++ programming and RTOS, he benefited from the knowledge and experience of his fellow peers.

“Having international students at Extension kicks up the level a bit,” he says. “You get people who really want to be in Silicon Valley. It lifts the quality of the classes. Apart from studying with people who are full-time engineers or working in the industry, you get the best of both worlds: people looking for theory, and people who are updating specific skills.”

Extension courses provided a unique opportunity for Jimenez to network. Throughout his studies in Colombia, he had always aspired to work in a place like Silicon Valley, a hotbed of technological innovation and the home base for many successful companies that specialize in hardware design. After completing his certificate, Jimenez gained valuable internship experience before finding a job designing hardware and developing software.

“It was very cool being around people who work in the big companies you’ve always followed,” he says. “You get to study with them and understand the work they’re doing. Everything you need to get your skills up and running in embedded systems, UCSC Extension has the courses for it. I’m pretty sure you’ll find what you need here.”


Last we heard, Alejandro Jimenez was putting his skills to work at NXP Semiconductors.

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