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May - 2008 - issue > Woman Achiever
Determined to chase her dreams
Vimali Swamy
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
“I am just a small-town girl who aimed at making it big in her life,” says Usha Baliga, Line Manager and Staff Applications Engineer at ARM Embedded Technologies. Born and brought up in Mangalore, Usha had grown up under the protective care of her parents. Immediately after her graduation in electronics and communications engineering, she got a job with Dgipro Systems in Bangalore but her parents were reluctant to let her go. Not the one to be tied down, Usha, with courage and firm determination went against her family’s reclusive policy and left her hometown to start a career in Bangalore.

Today, Usha has a 15-year long career in the semiconductor industry behind her that reflects her attitude of following her heart and values of quality work, constant learning, and team spirit. Starting her career as a Design Engineer at Dgipro, Usha was a part of a six-member design team working on Computer Aided Engineering (CAE). It was at that time Synopsys, an EDA tool provider, launched their Asia office in Singapore and Usha was moved as an FAE to support the Synopsys tools in India. Six years later, post marriage she relocated to the U.S.

“I always believe that one often becomes too comfortable in ones shoes, so one should constantly pose new challenges for oneself and take complete ownership of works,” says Usha. Armed with thorough knowledge of EDA tools, and a quest for gaining in-depth experience in the engineering side of development, Usha eventually landed in Spike Technologies. As a VLSI design engineer there, she worked from various client sites and got involved in core cell library development, IO cell library development, and characterization of Memory cell. “Working with Spike technologies was a great opportunity as being in client sites taught me to be customer focused, the importance of responsiveness, and on-time delivery,” explains Usha. Eventually, while on a project at Artisan Components, she got interested in working on Physical IP's and finding Artisan an employee friendly company, she decided to join it.

By now Usha was at the peak of her career with ten years of rich experience in almost every aspect of chip designing. Suddenly to everyone’s surprise, she decided to change the course of her career. “I was in the family way and I knew it was time to take some tough decisions regarding my career,” Usha explains. Always a person who prioritized her career over her family life, Usha knew that working day and night would not be suitable for her anymore. Hence, she decided to join the customer support and moved back to India to join Artisan’s Bangalore office. In 2005, ARM acquired Artisan Components and she has been a part of ARM ever since.

Does she regret her decision? “No. Not at all. I love interaction with new people. In my current role I’m constantly interacting with customers and trying to solve their issues. I don’t even contemplate going back to my previous role,” quips Usha.

Though this is her first experience in a managerial role, having worked with smaller organizations, Usha understands the challenges of being a good manager. “I not only need to have a well-defined vision, mission, and the strategy to serve the customers but also be selfless, constantly listen to the team and encourage them,” Usha explains. On time delivery and quality are two keywords she reiterates every time to her team.

Always a free spirit and believer in quality work; Usha is also an active member of ARM's social committee, ANVAS. During weekends one can often find her with her colleagues, volunteering at an orphanage or charity center.

Today, when Usha reels back to her life’s journey, she feels a sense of achievement. “Looking back from where I was to what I’m now, I feel that I have gained more confidence, developed a broader perspective of things, and a better analyzing strength,” she says. Truly, Usha belongs to the rare breed of women who have time and again proved that nothing can stop one from chasing ones dreams if we have the determination and focus.

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