According to a Talent 101 report, by 2025, more than a million skilled professionals will be required to meet the growing demands for semiconductors in a tech-enabled society. The report also mentioned that there are nearly 10,000 vacancies in the US alone.
Not only has the US signed an MoU with India earlier this year to establish a joint mechanism on semiconductor supply chain resiliency and diversification, but the industry also believes India has the potential to mitigate the talent shortage with its government initiatives and partnerships.
Accelerating semiconductor talent
Education: The Indian education system is preparing students for the potential of the semiconductor industry and its rising demands. For example, IIT Kanpur offers a course on IC fabrication and various courses related to electronics device physics, modelling and circuits.
The syllabus includes IC components their characterization and design, analysis and design of basic logic circuits, linear ICs, large scale integration, computer simulation of IC sand layout design, high voltage ICs, GaAs MESFET and GaAs ICs, failure, reliability and yield of ICs and fault-modeling and testing.
However, an admission in an IIT is a tough nut to crack because a student fresh out of school undergoes yearlong preparations and tough entrance examinations before starting a bachelor’s degree course here. With very limited seats, therefore, only a very few students get through to these big and renowned organizations.
Training: This is where government skills training courses and private colleges come into play with collaborative courses. These courses prepare students on par with those coming out of IITs.
For example, HCLTech’s proven Career Shaper learning and assessments platforms under its EdTech Business help preparing students. HCLTech leverages its vast experience to assist governments, enterprises and educational institutions in establishing technology and talent skill academies.
Fabless: India has been producing world-class engineers for decades now. Typically, an engineer with a degree in BTech in Electronics or Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) or MTech in VLSI (very large-scale integration) Design, or PhD in Semiconductor Technology, Material Science or Chemical Engineering, is required to work in firms engaged in VLSI design. Currently, there are nearly 150,000 Indian engineers out there in the global semiconductor industry.
VLSI, along with embedded software development and hardware/board design, is at the heart of the chip-design industry. For example, fabless manufacturing. With the global semiconductor industry projected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030, the demand to design and produce specialized AI chips that can empower technologies like ML, large language models, IoT, VR, cloud and analytics is on the rise.
IISc Bangalore’s Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, with its pioneering and ongoing research and training in VLSI chip design, is best positioned to offer a PG-level advanced certification program in VLSI chip designing. The program is ideal for VLSI industry professionals who want to leverage expertise of modern tools and technologies.
ATMP: Even though engineers from India are well placed globally with their proven skills and expertise, those available in the country are available at a very affordable cost. The MNCs know this and that’s why ATMP (assembly, testing, marking and packaging) is the very basic level that holds a bright future both for organizations — at a local and an MNC level — and engineers in India.
An ATMP facility requires very little investment, but such a unit is very important in the chip-manufacturing process. Once a chip is printed, it needs to be assembled, tested, marked and packaged before it can be shipped to manufacturers.
Here, engineers — with majors in electrical, electronics and material science and skilled in OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and testing), photolithography, VLSI packaging, design, and testing — are required to understand process technologies, test and verify processes to improve IC packaging and testing. The process involves evaluation and verification of wafer packaging materials and running quality control of materials and components if new products are introduced.
Foundry: A foundry is a semiconductor manufacturing plant. Also called fabs, these foundries require a variety of skilled people, ranging from diploma holders to students qualified with science degrees as well.
Those with engineering degrees are mainly needed for conducting and managing the manufacturing wafers/chips. This includes improving process flow, evaluating and managing risks and issues, conducting detection and monitoring analysis, and implementing new processes.
To become a key player in the global semiconductor supply chain, India approved a $10 billion incentive scheme in December 2021 to attract investments for semiconductor manufacturing and display production.
With the Indian chip market predicted to reach $63 billion by 2026, learn more on how India is advancing toward this goal here: A. Can India chip in to pull the world out of the semiconductor crisis? and B. India-US semiconductor deal may unlock new trade and investment opportunities.
HCLTech in the semiconductor space
In March, HCLTech joined the Intel Foundry Services (IFS) Accelerator Design Services Alliance to build advanced solutions for the global chip manufacturing ecosystem.
“As a member of the IFS Accelerator Design Services Alliance, we look forward to collaborating with IFS to bring added advantages to chip manufacturing. This collaboration brings together the in-depth domain expertise of HCLTech and IFS’ advanced process technologies to ensure delivery of high-performance chips,” said Vijay Guntur, President and Head of Engineering and R&D Services, HCLTech.
Focusing on bridging the skill gap, HCLTech recently partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), to capitalize on its decades of extensive engineering experience in the semiconductor industry have been helping its customers for a long time.
“At HCLTech, we are committed to helping our clients, including integrated device manufacturers, fabless manufacturers, IP vendors, foundries and semi-equipment providers, with innovative, sustainable and agile solutions,” Guntur added.
The future of work: Upskilling and embracing new tech
An exclusive whitepaper, by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services created in association with HCLTech, covers the perspective of eminent industry leaders, subject matter experts and senior executives who are witnessing changes in their organizations and the ecosystems around them.
“Leading organizations are preparing for the future by upskilling employees, so that they can embrace change at the speed that future business demands. This requires clear communication and a cohesive change management strategy,” says Alex Clemente, Managing Director of Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
Embracing the future of work depends on new technologies and how well-versed employees are with them. The requirement for new skillsets and the rise of the alternative workforce are prompting businesses to rethink the way people work.
The employee experience must be reimagined to address future needs with organizations turning to people analytics data for workforce planning.
Therefore, adapting to a new paradigm is a must where the transition to the future of work must be managed by a single individual or a cross-functional team responsible for the vision and the plan.
“At HCLTech, we took a people-centered approach with our fluid workplace strategy, which prepares enterprises with intuitive, personalized, and on-demand workspaces designed for both the new normal and the ‘next normal’,” said Rakshit Ghura, VP and Global Head – Digital Workplace Business at HCLTech.
In the age of AI and automation, while it’s unclear how the future will unfold, businesses today have a unique opportunity to reimagine and shape how people get work done and what the future of work will look like.
Experts believe preparing for the changes to come is achievable if organizations consider what’s possible, what’s probable and what’s preferable in terms of what work may look like for your organization, think differently about the structure of work and the workforce, analyze employees and know what talent they have in order to plan for what they need and establish methods for identifying, hiring, managing and retaining workers.