This article is part of Lam's International Women's Day story collection which amplifies the voices of employees embracing equity across the company.
- Soumya has automated Lam’s product software testing and processes for 19 years
- Her work allows us to validate the behavior of our tools' software at any fab remotely
Soumya Ramachandra has been with Lam for nearly two decades working on factory and product software automation. Today, she works in our Bangalore, India office, managing the software quality of our Electrofill® and EOS® products. I sat down with her to discuss her career journey and her role in the automation revolution.
How did you become interested in the sciences?
I had always been good at mathematics and science. I loved to solve puzzles, but the real interest started with my family. I had an older sister who had completed her engineering degree and would discuss how being an engineer had improved her logical thinking and analytical skills. Coupled by my sister’s success and a desire to prove my capabilities, I was motivated to pursue information science, a study very similar to computer science. It also helped that my father was proud that I was pursuing a similar degree to my sister’s. (laughter)
Tell me about your journey that led you to where you are today?
After I completed my engineering degree, I joined the software quality team at Novellus Systems after a campus recruitment fair. In this role, I was handling software testing for all the Novellus products. I spent a good amount of time there – eventually getting hands-on experience on all the products across Novellus’ portfolio.
Since I had a computer science background and a keen interest in programming, I transitioned into system automation. For a couple of years, I wrote automated scripts to test the software of deposition products.
I later developed an interest in factory automation. Our customers’ fabs house multiple tools running simultaneously to continuously process wafers – 24/7. For this to be possible, the tools run remotely by an operator with the help of factory automation (FA). The FA host interacts with tools – not just Lam’s tools but others in the fabs – to produce semiconductor chips.
I began strengthening my skill set in this space and developed a sincere passion for it. I transitioned into a management role where I built a team which catered to all the factory automation testing needs for all Lam and Novellus products.
What do you do in your current role?
Today, I am a senior software manager responsible for the software quality of Electrofill products in addition to a shared responsibility with the Villach team for EOS software quality.
What motivates you?
The desire to better my skillset and perform at even higher levels – I want to improve our testing practices and processes, and contribute to Lam’s success. The challenges we face every day in delivering quality products to gain customer satisfaction and trust keep me going.
You’ve been with Lam for 19 years. Why have you stayed?
Lam’s culture and its Core Values. There’s always been an opportunity for me to take on and explore something new here at Lam.
What advice would you give to engineers entering the industry?
Doing your best is more important than being the best. Get your fundamentals right, continuously focus on learning and upskilling to unlock your full potential.
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