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Opportunity Ahead: Passion for Developing People and Products

Apr 14, 2022 3 min read

With his infectious excitement for the future of the company, it’s easy to understand why KLA’s head of Software Engineering, Paul Prabhakar (pictured above at the left-center side of the table), attracts top talent. Paul has a passion for building – whether he’s helping to develop KLA’s latest leading-edge technologies or cultivating the next generation of engineers.

“Building relationships, developing new talent and watching them grow to become essential members of high-performance teams is thrilling and extremely gratifying for me.”

Paul Prabhakar, head of Software Engineering

Paul joined KLA in 2006 as a software engineer in India. “I was familiar with KLA but didn’t really understand the semiconductor industry,” he says. “I knew I wanted to be challenged and was attracted to technologies and solving complex problems, in particular using C++, which at that time was a complicated software program.”

One of the most satisfying parts of Paul’s job is working with customers and solving their problems – building solutions that help make the world a better place. He helped design a proof of concept for the semiconductor design phase and built a new prototype, Nanopoint, that helped launch his career at KLA.

“The real desire of most engineers is to build something revolutionary,” he explains. “I’m very proud that Nanopoint is still helping customers today and is utilized beyond the original concept.”

Since joining KLA in 2006, Paul Prabhakar has been promoted several times to make an impact on growing the company’s solutions and talent.

Developing Talent Globally

Given Paul’s successful track record, KLA wanted to see what else was possible. He helped grow KLA in India from a team of two to 50, working on complicated software solutions as well as attracting new recruits.

“We were a pioneering group in India, conducting internships and workshops to attract the best talent,” he says. “It was thrilling to bring on colleagues and expose them to new possibilities and limitless opportunities.”

Paul was also a pioneering member of an engineering conference group in India that continues to meet regularly and has been the seed for the Engineering Conference in Milpitas, California, bringing together technologists from around the world to develop and network. That global mindset has been key to KLA’s and Paul’s success.

“KLA has a diverse, inclusive and multicultural environment that naturally fosters collaboration to solve engineering challenges. We also have the advantage of size and agility, and our drive to be better gives employees room to grow, to experiment and try new things.”

Paul Prabhakar

Growing in Ann Arbor, Michigan

As KLA establishes its second North American headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Paul has taken on the challenge of expanding KLA’s software team based at this location who focus on building the next generation of software solutions for our customers around the world. Cultivating new relationships with KLA colleagues, especially new university recruits, keeps him energized, and his bond with the Ann Arbor community has cemented his dedication even more.

“Ann Arbor has so much to offer. I enjoy the beauty of Michigan’s four seasons, even the cold,” Paul says. “It’s also so green, with lots of trees, farms and an abundance of beautiful fresh produce.”

When he’s not working, Paul is a skilled photographer who travels around Michigan during its four seasons taking pictures of the state’s natural beauty. He captures a leaf falling in autumn (left) and a warm weather scene (above) in the Upper Peninsula. Below is Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls (left). In colder weather, he photographs a snowman – a frequent scene on front lawns in the state known as the “Water Winter Wonderland.”

Be sure to catch up on our previous Opportunity Ahead profiles, and don’t forget to browse the KLA careers page for the opportunities ahead for you.

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