When I was first studying computer systems, we built systems using microcontrollers. To produce the desired effect, you had to follow a “recipe.” If you did it right, it worked, which was great… but I felt like an end user. When I started to do FPGA I moved to the other side, I was the one who dictated how the system was going to work. I liked being able to control everything, every transition. With FPGA you build everything from scratch; a chip doesn’t come with recipes telling you how to make it work. For me, learning everything, every byte was interesting. That’s a big part of why I switched to FPGA design and got my master’s degree at ÉTS (École de technologie supérieure).
I had an inclination for art, so I had to decide between art and engineering. For most people those are two very different fields, but for me, they’re similar. In art you’re given a requirement; for example, design a contemporary style house. So you use all your talent and creativity to design the house according to that requirement. In FPGA design it's the same thing, you have requirements and you use your knowledge and creativity to produce the design according to the requirements.