Top 5 most in-demand semiconductor jobs

We take a look at the top 5 most in-demand jobs within the semiconductor industry and outline the most common responsibilities and qualifications of each.

Lauren Percy · 04 Jun 2018

The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, digital security, and RF power management. Several technological areas experiencing continuous growth in both consumer demand and manufacturing production.

As technology develops and as the tech sectors continue to evolve - the industry requires a robust workforce of skilled workers to maintain and manage large-scale fab operations.

More specifically, the semiconductor industry continues to grow and is projected to enjoy a 15% growth during 2018. With industry growth, there is a stimulated job market. We take a look at the top 5 most in-demand jobs within the semiconductor industry and outline the most common responsibilities and qualifications of each.

 

1. Field Service Engineer

The cream of the crop when it comes to problem-solving and adaptation, field service engineers build highly specialized knowledge of CVD, PVD, or CMP tools and are often called upon to offer advice to wider maintenance and engineering teams.

As a result, well-developed technical communication skills, as well as strong and effective written and verbal communication skills are vital to be a successful FSE.

It is becoming increasingly more and more important for field service engineers to adopt the responsibility of understanding customer processes and ensuring customer satisfaction. With advanced knowledge of processes and equipment, field service engineers are the link between clients and service providers and they often provide in-depth advice on equipment management and operation.

To supplement their technical expertise, field service engineers often require Bachelor´s Degree in a scientific, computer or engineering subject. Some workers of this industry choose to pursue graduate programs in order to obtain a Master´s Degree and have better job opportunities at senior level positions.

 

 2. Facilities Maintenance Technician

Ensuring that the building meets or exceeds the legally required standards of health, safety, and the environment -  facilities maintenance technicians are involved in the strategic planning and day-to-day maintenance operations on-site.

Tasked with frequent upkeep, they ensure that the cleanliness and appearance of the facility is carefully managed. Technicians will also perform basic electrical and plumbing repairs and maintenance on the premises as well as maintaining mechanical and electrical equipment.

In order to navigate the varied requirements of the role, a strong technical understanding of blueprints, drawings, and rough sketches is beneficial to a high-performing technician.  Successful facilities maintenance technicians are well equipped to perform in fast-paced environments and they’ll be able to document processes and write procedures to meet demanding timelines.

Facilities maintenance technicians will hold a few years of experience in the installation, repair, and maintenance of electrical and mechanical facility equipment as well as experience working with semiconductor tools. They will often have an Associate’s degree in electronics, engineering, or technology to supplement their performance.

 

3. Entry-Level Technician

When transitioning into the semiconductor industry, starting in an entry-level role can help you gain the practical experience needed to accelerate your professional development. With entry-level technicians in high demand, there are a lot of opportunities available.

Entry-level technician roles can vary from contract to contract, but they’ll frequently be involved in tool and parts cleaning and maintaining the cleanliness of a fab production area.

Common tasks for entry-level technicians can include documenting part cleaning steps and making sure that tool parts are stored safely and correctly. Technicians will also manage neutralization, containment, and removal of leaks and spills.

Technicians also work to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of production equipment while complying with proper cleanroom activities and protocols.

To perform well as an entry-level technician, candidates will need mechanical aptitude, good problem-solving skills, and an ability to multitask. Entry-level technicians are usually required to be educated to high school level. Working within teams requires effective communication skills and a clear understanding of instructions.

 

4. Preventative Maintenance (PM) Technician

Preventative maintenance technicians believe in the old proverb ‘an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure’. That is, if you can fix it before it breaks, you’ll end up saving a lot of time and effort down the line.

This outlook and practice is invaluable to fab owners and managers in any manufacturing industry. Conducting frequent performance check-ups and planned upgrades mean keeping equipment in peak operating condition and contributing to the streamlined production schedule of the fab.

In addition to mechanical and technical skill – PM technicians will also be safety-oriented and trained to act appropriately to perform leak management and chemical disposal.

PM technicians will commonly hold some previous experience in maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting equipment and will have a high school diploma/GED or equivalent. However, for higher pay brackets, preventative maintenance technicians should have more practical experience and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Technology.

 

5. Technical Specialist

Technical specialists are the dynamic knowledge-houses of the semiconductor world. Working to troubleshoot, analyze, and monitor fab operations and equipment processes -  they’ll use their specialist knowledge to make recommendations to resolve complicated problems and complaints.

Staying up-to-date on the latest equipment and tools, they provide analytical support and direction for their customers, clients, and team – often taking on the role of mentoring junior technicians on safe and effective maintenance practices.

Technical specialists also develop and implement innovative solutions to optimize processes and direct the planning, design, and production of individual projects.

Highly travelled – they will usually be expected to travel up to 30% of their contracted employment period while they work on customer sites.

Technical specialists will normally have no less than 4 years of field service experience working with specialist capital equipment and will be educated to Associate level.

To perform successfully as a technical specialist, candidates should have a high degree of mechanical aptitude, an ability to manage multiple tasks, effective communication skills, and an analytical approach to problem solving.

 

If you're looking to change careers, transition from FSE to technical specialist, or get started in the semiconductor industry - view our open job opportunities or get in touch with our recruiters at careers@retronix.com.

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