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Essential Skills to Pursue A Career in the Semiconductor Industry


The global semiconductor industry is entering the recovery phase post-crisis, and Vietnam has been considered a crucial member, especially amidst the escalating tensions between the US and China. In other words, the domestic semiconductor market is entering a new growth cycle with vast employment opportunities. So, what skills do Vietnamese students need to acquire to enter this billion-dollar semiconductor industry? Let’s delve deeper into this topic with FPT Semiconductor.

Workforce’s Potential and Challenges in the Semiconductor Sector

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The semiconductor supply chain includes stages: design, manufacturing, packaging, and integration-consumption. However, Vietnam currently focuses only on the design phase, which accounts for 50-60% of the chip’s value. Yet, the Vietnamese semiconductor workforce currently only meets about 20% of the demand for 10,000 engineers annually (according to the Ministry of Information and Communications). This number is expected to increase further, considering:

  • According to Associate Professor Do Hong Tuan, Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, a decade ago, there were only about 5-6 semiconductor companies with manufacturing facilities in Ho Chi Minh City. But now, that number has exceeded 50 and is expected to continue growing rapidly.
  • Associate Professor Nguyen Duc Minh, Head of the Department of Electronics, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, predicts that in the upcoming time, more large companies like Infineon, Renesas, Marvell, and Samsung will set up offices and factories in the northern region.
  • Apart from FDI companies, Vietnamese enterprises are also gradually showing more interest and development in the semiconductor field, such as FPT Semiconductor, Viettel, VNPT, offering numerous internship and job opportunities.
  • According to a survey, graduates who majored in Integrated Circuit Design have initial salaries ranging from 15-20 million VND, which can increase up to $3000 as they gain more experience

Therefore, according to industry experts, the demand for semiconductor design engineers is significant and expected to continue rising, given that the semiconductor industry is considered a strategic industry with various government growth policies for the next 30-50 years.

Facing the scarcity of personnel and semiconductor workforce growth “storm” becoming a semiconductor engineer is a promising field that many Vietnamese students and young engineers aim for in the next 10-15 years. However, the engineering sector, particularly in chip design, is considered a challenging field with high recruitment requirements.

So, what do students need to equip themselves with before stepping into the semiconductor world?

Skills Required for Entering the Billion-Dollar Semiconductor Industry

  • In-depth knowledge: the “ticket” to join the semiconductor industry

Integrated circuit design or VLSI design requires both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. In today’s ever-evolving technology, this is considered a “hot trend” major, even than computer science, demanding extensive study and research.

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IC design engineers need to master general electronics knowledge such as circuit theory, electronic components, microcontrollers, processors, and programming languages like Assembly and C. Additionally, they must be proficient in design-related knowledge such as design flow, logic components, digital logic circuit design, CMOS technology, programming languages, specific design techniques, and testing methods like simulation and formal verification, physical design flow, and custom design.

Furthermore, support knowledge for IC design includes system-level design and simulation using SystemC, Linux fundamentals, editor tools, scripting languages, and software used in chip design.

Given the crucial role of semiconductors in the digital world, their production standards are increasingly stringent, requiring highly skilled personnel.

  • Passion and perseverance: the key to “stay” in the professional semiconductor industry

Essential qualities for semiconductor students include perseverance, resilience, and a special passion for Physics and semiconductor technology. These qualities enable them to overcome “challenges” even while still in academia.

The semiconductor design field often involves working with machines, necessitating technical design capabilities, trend awareness, maximum creativity stimulation, continuous learning, knowledge updating, and resilience to high pressure. Therefore to pursue a career in the semiconductor industry, passion and perseverance are the two required factors.

  • English skills: the key to access knowledge and global opportunities

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As a global industry, the semiconductor field in Vietnam has rapidly developed in recent years, with the majority of specialized documents originating from abroad and primarily in English. Therefore, students who wish to pursue semiconductor engineering must plan their studies with a focus on subjects covering mathematics, physics, chemistry, and especially English language proficiency.

As the industry requires knowledge of Physics and English, students can start their learning plan by focusing on the A00 (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), A01 (Mathematics, Physics, English), D01 (Mathematics, Literature, English) to prepare for their journey in the potential semiconductor “land”

  • Internship opportunities for semiconductor students

Aligning with the global trend, the semiconductor industry in Vietnam is entering a new growth phase. Consequently, Vietnamese and FDI semiconductor enterprises will continually invest and attract highly skilled talent to meet market demand. This is the “golden” opportunity for Vietnamese students and young engineers to join this billion-dollar semiconductor industry.

Responding to the industry growth and workforce enhancement policies, semiconductor companies in Vietnam are welcoming internship applications from third-year students onwards, providing opportunities for them to gain insight and real experience in a professional working environment and potentially transition to full-time positions if they meet the recruitment criteria.

Typically, internships in technical fields, especially semiconductor design, are open to students from the third year onwards. By this stage, they’ve acquired fundamental knowledge and are ready for hands-on experience in a real working environment.

FPT Semiconductor is one of the semiconductor enterprises always ready to support Vietnamese students in learning and exploring the semiconductor field, empowering the potential workforce of the future.

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