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Three things to know about growing opportunities in Semiconductor Engineering

Woman in dust proff outfit inspects a semiconductor wafer

ARTICLE SUMMARY

A global renaissance is underway in the semiconductor industry, with massive demand for advanced microelectronics creating exciting opportunities for young engineers interested in the field.

And there is no better time to enter the industry as nations and institutions begin to solidify their investments.

Consider two examples: the 2022 CHIPS Act committed $280 billion to building semiconductor manufacturing capacity in the U.S.; additionally, Purdue University launched the nation’s first comprehensive semiconductor engineering program last year to help prepare the estimated 50,000 trained semiconductor engineers that we will need in the US over the next 5 years. If you are interested in pursuing a career in technology, now is the time to consider semiconductors.

With over two decades of experience in the semiconductor industry, I have seen firsthand the abundance of opportunities to evolve and innovate, especially for new engineers looking to dive into the field. With the increasing complexity of semiconductors, software needs are expanding, creating even more new opportunities.

Jennifer Sirrine, VP of Software, Infineon Technologies

Here Jennifer Sirrine, VP of Software, Infineon Technologies looks at three things aspiring engineers should know about the unique opportunities available in the semiconductor industry.

Jennifer is responsible ModusToolbox™, the embedded development ecosystem for a broad range of Infineon products, as well as for the software for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and MCU product lines.

Jennifer joined Cypress Semiconductor Corporation as a design engineer in September of 2001, serving in a variety of functions before the company was acquired by Infineon in 2021. Her career has spanned many aspects of new product development, including digital design, program management, strategic product leadership, and both hardware and software engineering management. She is an executive sponsor for Women of Infineon Technologies (WIT), one of Infineon’s Employee Resource Groups. WIT aims to create an environment where women can be their authentic selves, have their contributions recognized and respected on an equal basis with their peers. The group’s ambition is to foster equal opportunities for career and economic advancement so that women are able to reach their full potential.

Jennifer earned her MBA from the University of Oregon, her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boise State University and has completed an Executive Management program at INSEAD. Additionally, she has served as a panelist for a variety of programs, including Women in Engineering (Infineon India), Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering (sponsored by Inclusive Engineering Consortium), Women’s Leadership (Infineon U.S.), and the Women’s Leadership Initiative University Program (Global Semiconductor Alliance).

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She and her spouse have a daughter in college and two playful pups, Leo and Cass, at home.

MICROELECTRONICS ENGINEERING CAN BE INTIMIDATING; RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ARE GROWING

Engineering is an extremely varied field of study and application, but microelectronics engineering is unique in that we build some of the smallest products on Earth. Think about how thin a human hair is: some semiconductor transistors can be tens of thousands of times thinner than that.

Fortunately, universities and companies are partnering to adapt curricula to the growing needs. In addition to Purdue University, Intel partnered with Ohio State University to establish the Center for Advanced Semiconductor Fabrication Research and Education. TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, is partnering with students at Arizona State University. Samsung and Silicon Labs are working in Texas to support community college programs. Plus, online certificate courses are available from Semi, the University of South Florida, Central State University, and more.

Being in engineering means you get to help create the most amazing things every single day—and get paid for it, so don’t let fear deter you from trying.

SEMICONDUCTOR DEMAND IS HERE TO STAY, MAKING CHIP ENGINEERING A SMART CAREER PATH

The federal government’s commitment to investing in semiconductor manufacturing, coupled with the current shortage of qualified workers in the industry, means that semiconductor engineering jobs typically offer great starting pay and benefits—they also represent strong job security and opportunities for advancement.

Over the course of my career, I have seen how the semiconductor industry has grown and how chips have become a part of our everyday lives.

The semiconductor industry has always been a good choice for professionals seeking a job that is as diverse in its challenges as it is in opportunities. The growing demand for chips and the government’s commitment to semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. make now a great time to pursue a career in chip engineering.

SEMICONDUCTOR ENGINEERS ARE LEADING THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE AND GREEN TECHNOLOGIES

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time.

Though sometimes overlooked, semiconductors play a vital role in the transition to greener technologies, as advanced chips enable more efficient systems and alternative energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels. Electric vehicles, smart homes, efficiently automated factories—all of these rely on semiconductors to function. If you think that developing the next ground-breaking green technology would be an extremely rewarding achievement, then a career in the semiconductor industry could be right for you.

The unique aspects of the semiconductor industry are perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in a creative and innovative environment. Chips and the software that runs them are an ever-growing part of our lives, making a career in the semiconductor industry a smart and reliable choice.

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