Is Security Architecture the Future? This Silicon Architecture Engineer Bet His Career on It

From first exploring basic programming on a PC when he was 14 to becoming a senior silicon architecture engineer in Intel’s Security Architecture and Engineering (SAE) department, Siang Lin Tan’s career journey has been one of growth and accomplishment. He was introduced to Intel while completing his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. After graduating in 2001, he was thrilled to become a part of Intel as an intellectual property (IP) design engineer in the Chipset Engineering team.

Over his years at Intel, Siang Lin has worked on various IPs, focussing on a wide range of technological innovation. From chipset design to Serial ATA (SATA) and USB Type-C, he has been a part of teams working at the forefront of technological advancement. “My team and I delivered the SATA Gen 3, which was the fastest high-speed IO technology at the time. That was a really proud moment for me. I was also part of delivering the IP that defined the USB Type-C switching flow, back in 2015. That is the same Type-C port you see in your phones today,” he adds.

As part of growing his leadership skills, Siang Lin signed up for various working groups and task forces that allowed him to participate in various projects with specific groups. He also explored opportunities to work with teams on different sites, which aided him in getting a new perspective on career growth. These experiences helped him harness his leadership skills, and he went from playing a role in a team to eventually leading one.

After a long stint in the high-speed IO domain, Siang Lin decided to move in a whole new domain. He is currently part of the SAE department at Intel’s Penang campus. His team works on developing data security on a hardware level, which is pivotal in today’s extremely data-centric world. Indeed, with the amount of data now generated every day, protecting users’ privacy and data is more important than ever. A fact that makes security a critical pillar in Intel’s product development strategy. Siang Lin says, “Security comes in both forms–hardware and software. At SAE, we are working on hardware—the foundational level of security where data can be better secured. We are likely to see more and more security services being pushed to the hardware level in the near future.”

Though the team in Penang was only recently formed to develop a new security architecture for Intel, the possibilities for SAE are endless. Being a new team, Siang Lin believes that they have the freedom to work towards shaping a unique identity within the broader Intel roadmap. As part of growing the group in Penang, the team is looking for candidates who are passionate about digital design and love to solve technical problems. Be it hiring recent college graduates with the ability to grasp concepts quickly or progressing senior employees who have advanced knowledge and an existing skill set in the security domain, the SAE group is continuing to build a world-class team.

Looking back on his Intel experience, Siang Lin says, “The joy I feel in technical problem solving has always been the key factor that motivated me and will continue to do so in the future. Joining SAE was like embarking on a second life for me—I was very excited. The dynamics were a bit different from my previous team but the foundation of digital design remained the same. I am certain about continuing in security architecture for the next few decades.”

And after that? Well, for Siang Lin, the possibilities are limitless.

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