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The CHIPS Act: How Federal Investments are Shaping Semiconductor Careers

The CHIPS Act: How Federal Investments are Shaping Semiconductor Careers

The growing demand for electronic goods during the coronavirus pandemic increased the global need for semiconductors. Because most semiconductors were produced overseas, supply chain issues caused a semiconductor shortage. As a result, US semiconductor companies increased hiring in 2021 and 2022 to reduce the shortage.

Due to the need for semiconductor production, the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act was passed in 2022 to encourage companies to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. The goal was to strengthen the resiliency of the domestic semiconductor supply chain. As a result, federal investments from the Act are shaping semiconductor careers.

Growing US Semiconductor Employment

According to a March 2024 report by The White House, US semiconductor employment has increased an average of 4.3% per year since 2021 to 203,000 workers in 2023. Also, between Q2 of 2022 and Q3 of 2023, semiconductor manufacturers added approximately 6,000 jobs.

Although the shortage of legacy semiconductors has gone down since early 2023, their manufacturing employment remains steady. The ubiquity of semiconductors in personal electronics and vehicles supports the ongoing demand for the chips. This demand supports semiconductor job growth.

Future Semiconductor Hiring

The CHIPS Act provides $39 billion in incentives for investment in US semiconductor manufacturing. Also, the industry announced over $200 billion in semiconductor manufacturing investments since 2022,  including specialized analog chips and logic chips to power AI and smartphones.

Under the CHIPS Act, the U.S. Department of Commerce and BAE Systems Electronic Systems signed a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms to provide approximately $35 million to support the modernization of the company’s mature-node production facility in Nashua, New Hampshire. The project will replace aging tools and quadruple chip production for the F-35 fighter jet program and other critical defense programs.

Future funding has other firms investing and beginning construction on semiconductor production facilities. These activities are creating jobs in planning and tooling factories to increase manufacturing.

In-Demand Semiconductor Skills

The following hard skills are important for semiconductor careers:

  • Digital logic design techniques
  • Hardware description languages such as Verilog and VHDL
  • C++ and Python programming
  • Computer architecture concepts
  • Analog and digital circuit principles
  • Semiconductor fabrication processes
  • AI and deep learning frameworks such as TensorFlow

The following soft skills are important for semiconductor careers:

  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Knowledge application
  • Problem-solving
  • Innovation
  • Ongoing learning

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