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The Idiocrat

Career choice - Semiconductor or electronic design?

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A good friend of mine's son has been offered sponsorship at uni and work placements throughout his 3 years with one of the top product and tech design companies. He has a choice of semiconductor or electronic design, but must choose one. I've been asked for my thoughts as I've got some experience in the industry (and was at ARM in its early days but on the commercial side). So, anyone with experience, what's the best choice in terms of career path? My gut feel is semiconductors as it's more specialist and less competition, although fewer openings, whereas there are a lot of electronic designs experts (I've used a fair few). Would appreciate any opinions. TIA.

Edited by The Idiocrat

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Theres little commercial electronucs in the uk. All went to china.

I guess some will come back. As china is exoensive and there are loads of spies.

Id go for semiconductors.

Specialist chips are v useful. 

And he has to do software i.e c and assembly.

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I'd go with electronic design, will give him lots more options and could always specialize in semiconductors down the road if that floats his boat. Pretty sure the semiconductor plants left in this country you can count on one hand.

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I would go electronic design it is much more transferable than semi conductor design the cost of FABs at new nodes limits the number of key players and they are mostly in ASIA and a few in the USA. 

I have had a pretty good career as an electronic designer, though I do not do commercial electronics as that is boring but focused more on space, defense and other applications where there is a need for UK citizen ship.

If he wants to do semi conductor design he still could in electronic design perhaps Via FPGA (similar ish but abstracted) or ASIC design 

If they would like a chat then drop me a PM happy to help

 

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30 minutes ago, gibbon said:

I'd go with electronic design, will give him lots more options and could always specialize in semiconductors down the road if that floats his boat. Pretty sure the semiconductor plants left in this country you can count on one hand.

Certainly true about the number of fabs..  only a handful and most of them seem to go from one buy-out to another.

That said,  on the design side there may still be decent jobs,  but I'm not involved in that side of the market to really comment.

I'd probably try to figure out which would be most useful to the design company sponsoring his placement and do that with a view to getting a full time career there after university.

 

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Thank you all for your replies, just got in from a night out. Much appreciated. I understand the semiconductor fabs are long gone but thought perhaps a lot of design still here (ARM?). Agree more opprtunities for electronic design overall. Thanks again!

50 minutes ago, ad_ceng said:

I would go electronic design it is much more transferable than semi conductor design the cost of FABs at new nodes limits the number of key players and they are mostly in ASIA and a few in the USA. 

I have had a pretty good career as an electronic designer, though I do not do commercial electronics as that is boring but focused more on space, defense and other applications where there is a need for UK citizen ship.

If he wants to do semi conductor design he still could in electronic design perhaps Via FPGA (similar ish but abstracted) or ASIC design 

If they would like a chat then drop me a PM happy to help

 

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Cheers Ad, and thank you for the offer for a chat. I'll ask the lad if he'd like that. Much appreciated.

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8 hours ago, gibbon said:

I'd go with electronic design, will give him lots more options and could always specialize in semiconductors down the road if that floats his boat. Pretty sure the semiconductor plants left in this country you can count on one hand.

Semiconductot production is a different area from semiconductor design.

Fabs are dumb monkey things.

Design isnt.

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15 hours ago, The Idiocrat said:

A good friend of mine's son has been offered sponsorship at uni and work placements throughout his 3 years with one of the top product and tech design companies. He has a choice of semiconductor or electronic design,

 

Depends what you mean by "semiconductor or electronic design".


IC design (ASIC/FPGA) skills are in demand. I guess this is what he meant by "semiconductor design"

Board design using components is less in demand.  Some analogue and high-speed skills in this area are useful but there are a few oldies keeping those jobs. I would call this electronic design.

Or he could mean working on the actual semiconductors fabs, I would have thought that is a rare PHD type job.

I would advise IC design. Plenty of jobs available for the long-term.

(I do IC design and board design).

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, spygirl said:

Semiconductot production is a different area from semiconductor design.

Fabs are dumb monkey things.

Design isnt.

True, I'm assuming it must have an effect on where the jobs are though. Not in the industry however so am most likely talking out my arse. Be interesting to hear if there's anyone in semiconductors on here and what they think.

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31 minutes ago, VeryMeanReversion said:

 

Depends what you mean by "semiconductor or electronic design".


IC design (ASIC/FPGA) skills are in demand. I guess this is what he meant by "semiconductor design"

Board design using components is less in demand.  Some analogue and high-speed skills in this area are useful but there are a few oldies keeping those jobs. I would call this electronic design.

Or he could mean working on the actual semiconductors fabs, I would have thought that is a rare PHD type job.

I would advise IC design. Plenty of jobs available for the long-term.

(I do IC design and board design).

 

 

 

Thank you for that. Yes, it's IC design.

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39 minutes ago, gibbon said:

True, I'm assuming it must have an effect on where the jobs are though. Not in the industry however so am most likely talking out my arse. Be interesting to hear if there's anyone in semiconductors on here and what they think.

Important lesson for £10.

Buy a RaspberryPi ZeroW.

Count the discrete components on it. Youll get a number about 10/15.

Shove a 2Gb SD card in and youll have a computer about 100x+ more powerful thna the minicomputer (a VAX) learnt I started to learn C on  in 1988.

The value add on the device is the IC and the software.

Prodution wise its not even a monkey - hey are made by robots.

 

50 minutes ago, VeryMeanReversion said:

 

Depends what you mean by "semiconductor or electronic design".


IC design (ASIC/FPGA) skills are in demand. I guess this is what he meant by "semiconductor design"

Board design using components is less in demand.  Some analogue and high-speed skills in this area are useful but there are a few oldies keeping those jobs. I would call this electronic design.

Or he could mean working on the actual semiconductors fabs, I would have thought that is a rare PHD type job.

I would advise IC design. Plenty of jobs available for the long-term.

(I do IC design and board design).

 

 

 

Working in a fab is dumb monkey job.

Designing a fab is another thing. Its not really PhD as the skills are too rare and there are no academics in it - too complex and too capital intense.

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