Verification Is All About … Trust

Verification Is All About … Trust

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Dear future verification engineer,

You are about to start a very privileged career.

You will have the opportunity to see your work all around you. When you’re in the subway and you see someone watching on their phone some movie, you will know that you worked on that chip which streamed the movie so seamlessly on that device. When you’re at the supermarket and you see someone paying their groceries with a card, you will know that your work made that possible. Or even when you’re at home, watching a news about NASA successfully landing a new rover on Mars, you will know that your work contributed to that amazing achievement. It’s like a part of you also stepped on that red dusty planet together with the rover.

Not many people are as lucky as you, to see their work everywhere they look, to feel that they help made the world a little bit better in such multitude of ways. It is a very nice feeling!

But your work will also be in the electronics which stabilize a car on a slippery road, in the machines keeping a pacient alive during an operation or even in the plane flying hundreds of people at a time. There will be a lot of people which will have to trust that you did your job right.

The trust that the product on which you worked performs as expected is your biggest asset. You must work hard to earn this trust and you should do this not because you signed a contract, not because you are obliged by some legal document, no. You should do this because you are aware of the magnitude of people impacted by your work.

No matter how hard you will work to find all the issues in a chip there will always be at least one bug which will slip your verification. And that’s OK. No good manager should expect that at the end of verification there are no bugs in the system. So you should never tell that you verified completely a chip as that would be an obvious lie. You should be honest and tell what you verified. Out of all the possible scenarios in which a chip can be, you will be able to verify a percentage, X, which will always be less than 100%. At the end of the verification process your word must guarantee that only in those X scenarios, the chip is working as expected. As your experience grows the percentage of verified scenarios will grow as well. The important thing is to always try to do better now than what you did in the previous project.

If you’re doing some shady stuff just to be … semi ahead … of your peers, remember that this is a very small world and, sooner or later, everybody will know who you really are.

So above anything else, make sure you are honest and trustworthy with your friends, colleagues, managers and you will have a beautiful career and … a beautiful life.

I wish you all the best,


Cristian Slav

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