Semiconductor Process Engineer

Improve and manage the step-by-step process of creating a computer chip.

What does a Semiconductor Process Engineer do?

Making the tiny semiconductor processing chips that go into computers, smartphones, and electronic tablets takes many, many steps. A semiconductor process engineer looks at each one of those steps, making sure that they’re done as efficiently as possible, with the best machines possible.

You spend much of your day in front of a computer running simulations to look for inefficiencies. You find out how many chips were produced in a shift and compare that to your projections. If you find discrepancies, you figure out what’s going amiss, then provide solutions. You may search online for new manufacturing equipment and prepare reports on the cost of that equipment and why it’s a good deal.

But semiconductor process engineers are much more than bean counters. When machines break or need maintenance, you roll up your sleeves and help the maintenance staff do the job. You also need good people skills to win over the maintenance staff and production workers. They’re the ones who can tell you right away if something is going wrong and share their ideas on how to improve production.

Many semiconductor chip designs are protected property, and the information you have on how those chips are made is quite valuable. You need to keep that information safe from competitors and inventors. So when you run into them, you focus on listening rather than speaking.