1) IP verification
2) SOC verification
3) Verification IP developement
4) Verification consultancy
I will try to evaluate each of these work environment.
According to me,the skill you accuire on doing your day to day activities at your work place should match the requirements of the industry and should be portable across companies. (i.e) Assume you are doing an assembly level verification for a processor design using internal tools of that company, the methodology and tool knowledge is limited to that particular company and skill is not portable between companies, then the skill you accuired is not marketable, hence the learing curve is minimum in this case.
We can find our self in above scenario in verification consultancy work environment where we have very little control of job nature , implementation flexibily is also minimal in this case. One good thing about this work enviroment is you will get your hands dirty on different type of projects and you will rarely find your self struck with the same project. In comparitive scale verification consultancy work enviroment gives verification engineer moderate learning curve.
Verification IP developement requirement and process are different from RTL developement and verification. In this kind of work environment we have very good learning curve on the new verification methodology , we can improve our knowledge on different languages as VIP are developed in single language but controlled through different languages like VERA/NTB/VERILOG/SYSTEM VERILOG /C. you can gain good protocol knowledge by developing the VIP and stay updated on the developements in the protocol. One of the draw backs in VIP developement work environment is your initial learning curve will be steep, after few years most of you work will be just bug fixes and some times VIP enhancements. In comparitive scale VIP developement work enviroment gives verification engineer moderate learning curve.
SOC verification work environment is different, as the verification is done on proven design IP,finer points in protocol are generally ignored. One good thing in SOC verification is we end up working on different type of protocol and interfaces. In comparitive scale SOC verification work enviroment gives verification engineer good learning curve provided he works on different interfaces every project.
In case of IP developement work environment , your learning curve on the protocol will be good.The test plan and implementation will touch the finer points in protocol verification. In comparitive scale IP verification work enviroment gives verification engineer good learning curve provided his company has migrated to system verilog or HVL based verification.
The best scenario is to have at least a few years of experience in all the type work environments, so that you can get good experience in verification methodology, verification tools,languages & different protocols.