Short Sharing about Training and Opportunities for Students Majoring in Chip (IC Design) in Vietnam

Overview of Training & Career for IC Design Students in Vietnam

IC Design: A Brief Overview of Training and Opportunities for Vietnamese Students

Mr. David Thanh, CTO at Hyphen Deux, shared insights on the semiconductor industry, emphasizing training and job opportunities for Vietnamese students in IC design.

Since the early 1990s, India has implemented a national strategy to cultivate a thriving semiconductor industry. This effort has resulted in a significant pool of highly qualified professionals, with over 50,000 individuals in the field as of 2024, many occupying key leadership positions in top global corporations. India boasts numerous prestigious universities offering robust semiconductor training programs. Highlighting India’s achievements in human resource development is relevant because it mirrors Vietnam’s current situation, lacking foundries but having potential in R&D startups and design companies.

1. Job opportunities in the Chip industry at businesses?

Below is a list of job positions within the chip manufacturing process. This list, while not exhaustive, provides valuable insights for further research on developing training curricula, instructor plans, and strategic development of relevant majors.

  • Positions related to Chip foundry/factory (Foundry): Device Design Engineer, Test, and Characterization Engineer, Process Engineer, TCAD Engineer, Tapeout engineer, Foundry process design Engineer, Integration Engineer, Yield analysis engineer, ESD design technical manager , EBO engineer, Etch process manager, Wet clean process manager, Litho/EUV module engineer, EUV mask materials scientist, Layout design and validation Engineer, CMP engineer, Epitaxy process manager, EUV tool manager, Litho/Patterning process manager, Electrochemical plating module engineering manager, Advanced packaging material development manager,…

Short Sharing about Training and Opportunities for Students Majoring in Chip (IC Design) in Vietnam

  • Positions related to sequential design (Analog Design): Memory circuit design engineer, Digital/Mixed-Signal IC design engineer, RF Analog Engineer/RFIC Circuit design engineer, Automated test and characterization engineer, PVD module manager, I/O design engineer, Analog/Power delivery engineer, CAD Physical verification engineer, Patent technical manager, CSV engineer (Virtual Fab).
  • Positions related to digital design (Digital Design – IP, ASIC, MCU, SoC,…): Architecture Designer, RTL Designer, Top Integration Engineer, Synthesis Engineer, Formal Verification Engineer, Design Verification Engineer, Package Designer, Physical Design (Back-End) Engineers, Static Timing Analysis Engineers, Design For Test Engineer, Power Integrity Engineer, Thermal Validation, EMIR Engineer, Physical Verification Engineer, Library characterization Engineer, Emulation engineer,…
  • Horizontal complementary positions in the ecosystem: EDA R&D researcher, EDA coding engineer, EDA Field Application Engineer (AE), CAD engineer, IP Application Engineer, Solution Service Engineer, Technology R&D engineer, methodology R&D engineer, middle-ware software engineer, system level designer, PCB designer, Die/Package testing engineer, FPGA, Probe card Tester,…

Note: Many of the positions listed will require support specialists or middle managers (often doubling the number of roles). Additionally, additional personnel may be necessary to support each software and method (potentially tripling or quadrupling the positions).

For a comprehensive understanding of the semiconductor ecosystem, refer to companies based or branched in the US.

U.S. Semiconductor Ecosystem Map

U.S. Semiconductor Ecosystem Map

It’s important to note that professionals with over ten years of expertise often become specialized, making it challenging to shift to a new specialty. A position change between FrontEnd DV and Backend PD engineers typically only occurs at the senior engineer level and below. (See more)

2. What do domestic and foreign employers need from candidates?

In traditional industries, the process typically involves setting up workshops or factories, producing goods, and then bringing them to market. However, the semiconductor industry has two distinct characteristics:

  • Building chip factories is highly capital-intensive and not always feasible, even with substantial funding from national budgets. Only a few companies like TSMC, Samsung, Intel, SMIC, UMC, and Global Foundry can manage such undertakings.
  • Semiconductor chip design necessitates a global ecosystem. Relying on a single country or continent is insufficient. The industry comprises various segments: Chip Intellectual Property (IP, Cores), Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Tools, Specialized Materials, Wafer Fab Equipment (WFE), Fabless Chip Companies, and Chip Foundries. Each segment includes numerous companies, and selecting partners involves careful consideration of their capabilities, costs, commercial policies, and legal conditions.

These characteristics underscore the importance of a strategic approach to human resource training in Vietnam. Whether targeting domestic FDI companies or international opportunities, Vietnamese engineers must focus on several key issues:

Obtaining work permits abroad (work passes):

  • Degrees and methods of authentication and confirmation.
  • Minimum income required on contracts.
  • Necessary procedural documents.
  • Policies and responsibilities concerning income, taxes, and money transfers.

Conditions for foreign companies recruiting Vietnamese workers:

  • Ensuring they are unaffected by local unemployment rates.
  • Providing social security, health, and education policies for workers and their families.
  • Ensuring confidentiality and national security for special projects.
  • Complying with international regulations like embargoes and technology transfers

Specific working conditions at a company:

  • Working in a multicultural environment or in a local culture with communication, meetings, procedures, documents, and training in the local language.
  • If the local language is required for communication within the company or project, engineers need to be proficient in that language or have an effective support strategy.
  • Initial support programs for stable and long-term housing (buying a house, car, employment support for dependents, school guarantees for children, language learning support, etc.).

Candidate experience:

  • Degrees, certificates, and skills required.
  • In addition to fluent English, local language requirements (e.g., Korean, Japanese, Chinese, German, Swedish) for obtaining a visa.
  • Countries and companies that recruit candidates without experience.
Mr. David Thanh – Hyphen Deux CTO

Mr. David Thanh – Hyphen Deux CTO

3. Conclusion

To export human resources to foreign countries, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the conditions and requirements of the target country and company. Even minor requirements, like language proficiency or background verification, can take months to prepare for. Typically, companies prefer engineers with at least 2-3 years of experience, as seen in the author’s observations, where inexperienced candidates face challenges with work permits, visas, and adapting to new environments.

For domestic human resources, attracting major technology corporations can ensure a stable labor demand. These companies usually provide comprehensive training programs, encompassing hard skills, soft skills, professional work styles, and the latest technology. This comprehensive training is essential for the success of the training process and job security in the semiconductor industry.

(#1) https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/work/sundar-pichai-satya-nadella-ajay-banga-arvind-krishna-and-20-other-indian-origin-ceos-of-billion-dollar-companies/sundar-pichai/slideshow/105593531.cms?from=mdr

(#2) https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/cons-products/electronics/semiconductor-sector-thrives-in-india-as-more-talent-chips-in-for-global-companies/articleshow/109082302.cms?from=mdr

(#3) https://www.linkedin.com/posts/prof-mayank-shrivastava-06439413_iisc-microelectronics-and-semiconductor-technology-activity-7196068802990645248-VhGG?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

(#4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_semiconductor_fabrication_plants

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