Agilent's $20M Software Donation Helps Give Students an Edge in the Job Market

Students use Agilent tools, such as the N9923A FieldFox vector network analyzer, to measure a prototype PIFA antenna.

Thanks to a $20 million design software donation from Agilent Technologies, UA engineering students have a new tool to help get them certifiably ready for the work world.

As part of its RF and Microwave Industry-Ready Student Certification Program, Agilent has donated Agilent EEsof Electronic Design Automation, or EDA, software for UA students to download onto their personal computers.

“Experience with the software will give students an edge in the job market,” said Kathleen Melde, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, who regularly uses Agilent products in her labs and classes.

“Our goal is to prepare our students to be industry ready, and this certification program helps students gain the recognition they need to stand out to employers,” she said. “This program makes our students more competitive, and eventually helps them get the jobs they want.”

The program identifies, acknowledges and rewards top students for meeting certain requirements that qualify them as industry-ready in RF, or radio frequency, and microwave fields. To participate in the program, universities must demonstrate the use of Agilent software and tools in the curriculum.

Agilent University Program manager John Kikuchi said it was a natural fit for the University of Arizona because of its classroom use of Agilent design tools.

“The University of Arizona represents the best of innovation, teaching and research,” he said. “Some of the future’s greatest innovations will come from today’s UA graduates, and we are excited to provide this service to a university that is already working to prepare students for the industry.”

The certification program requires students to pass an RF and microwave design course and lab, complete a required number of hours using Agilent EEsof software, receive a professor nomination, and demonstrate aptitude in a final hands-on test. To be eligible for certification, students must be in the top 15 to 20 percent in their class. Once certified, students’ names go on a list for industry professionals seeking employees. 

Melde said she has been using Agilent products since she began teaching for the UA in 1996. She is a believer in hands-on learning and knows the importance of students mastering the use of industry-standard tools to stand out in a competitive job market.

“When you have a chance to implement what you learn in the classroom, it solidifies your knowledge,” Melde said. “If a student can leave here with a wide variety of skills, it ultimately gets them where they want to go. Agilent tools help us get the students where they want to be.”

Agilent is a longtime supporter of the College of Engineering and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. 

“Agilent is a great supporter of our department, and that support goes far beyond this donation,” said Tamal Bose, ECE department head. “Agilent has donated equipment in the past, funds research projects, serves on advisory boards, and works closely with our faculty and students. We are very thankful for their support.”

For more information about Agilent’s student certification program, click here.

University of Arizona College of Engineering