Most of the job profiles in the semi-conductor sector are very exciting yet challenging in its own way. Right technical skillsets are always an important factor. To understand the skillsets, hiring trends in the semiconductor and IoT space better Ankita KS from EFY Group had an interaction with Sanjay Gupta, Vice President & India Country Manager, NXP India Pvt. Ltd. Excerpts follow…
Q: What is the hiring trends with respect to technologies that you see in the Semiconductor industry today? Also, what are the technical skillsets which are considered desirable?
Hiring the right talent is key to success for any business. However, in the research and development sector, it is of utmost importance. We hire candidates not only the basis of their skill sets but also with a vision of nurturing those skill sets with our on-job training and upskilling programs. In the current day and age, there are many hiring trends which are emerging in response to address the challenges of the semiconductor industry and modern technologies in general. One of the strategies we have adopted is a balance between lateral and campus hiring. This has helped us in creating a conducive environment of learning and innovation as millennials bring in passion & enthusiasm and lateral hires bring in the right set of expertise and industry view.
Today, social media plays a crucial role in recruiting and most technology companies have devised their models to assess potential candidates’ basis their social presence and area of interest.
Sound understanding of Micro-electronics and Digital Engineering is an important criterion at NXP. In terms of technical skills, DFT, Physical design, IP design, and verification are important followed by functional safety which is emerging as a niche skillset. We always strive towards building an ambitious team of professionals who are passionate, ready to take on challenges of the modern-day industry, have a sense of ownership and want to innovate for the future.
Q: How would you advise an aspirant on the right steps to follow while applying for a job in the Semiconductor sector?
Most of the job profiles in the semi-conductor sector are very exciting yet challenging in its own way. Right technical skillsets, as aforementioned, is an important factor which we keep in mind before choosing any candidate. So, it is advised to develop relevant basic skills during the graduation days which will help excel them in the long run. There are numerous numbers of courses and certifications available online which one should pursue along with their engineering. Extra qualification always comes handy during the real job. The simple yet popular saying, “Knowledge never gets waste” has a very deep meaning which people should realize when they are students.
The other important thing is to keep testing and experimenting and participating in unique challenges which harness one’s potential for innovation. On the same thought, we recently concluded ‘YOUNG INNOVATOR DESIGN CHALLENGE 2019’ across our 3 centers in Noida, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The Design Challenge was crafted specifically for the children of NXP employees, to provide them with an opportunity to learn and imbibe the knowledge and passion for electronics and software.
Additionally, there are a host of skillsets which are expected from the candidates, as the semiconductor industry is an amalgamation of IT, IoT and electronics.
IoT is an emerging field which is rapidly evolving and aspirants with the knowledge of ‘Cloud Management’ understanding is preferred, i.e. one needs to make sense of the data which exists in the cloud and provide feedback. However, we understand that in a practical sense, there are relatively few opportunities available to individuals for developing niche skillsets. We encourage aspirants to be well informed of the industry developments and take up-skill courses online to have a better idea of these core skillsets. Once we welcome someone in NXP’s family, we try to nurture them further with our on-job training and development programs.
Q: What steps can academic institutions take to bridge the industry-academia gap for the electronics semiconductor sector?
There are multiple steps which can be taken by the academic institutions to bridge the industry-academia gap, such as:
Introducing specialized and localized courses right at the school the level where kids could opt to choose their own niche within a range of options provided to them. This would allow them to be more focused and develop better skills before entering any industry.
Teachers are essential for the understanding of a subject, however, peer to peer learning should be encouraged even at the school level. It will help students to interact better, share ideas and learn from each other.
Lastly, colleges should have more sessions or pre-scheduled classes with people currently working in the industry. This would allow the students to aspire and know better about the current demands of the industry and will give them a better perspective.
Atal Innovation Labs being started by Govt is a key initiative to nurture the embedded design skills among the young India kids.
Q: Are you hiring or planning to hire talent for your IoT business at NXP? If yes, can you share estimated numbers to be hired within the next 2 years?
In India our focus is on Research and Development and we are looking to recruit talented and skilled individuals from all over the country. Considering we are dealing with IoT, Automotive electronics and IT, there is a huge impetus for more work to be done in this field. To keep ourselves ahead of the game we always believe in recruiting the best people who have a vision and are willing to partner with us for a better future. We have done some fantastic work in the IoT field, one being the development of ADAS, in our very own research centers in Noida and Bangalore.
We are setting up a center of excellence for IoT in our Bangalore office soon and will double up the current employee strength. For further path-breaking innovations, we are looking to hire engineers in the field of cloud, Dev Ops, web development and QA. We are committed to pursue excellence and achieve solutions which will help mitigate the current challenges which we face in the world.
Q: Do you have a formal Internship program to train freshers for the industry? If yes, can you share how’s is designed to make them industry-ready?
NXP is focused on hiring best entry-level latent, people who are passionate, self-driven and creative. We have a robust Internship program, wherein we hire interns for 6 or 12 months from the Indian premium colleges. These interns are then given real-time projects to support business needs. After assessing the performance of interns, some of them are absorbed as permanent employees. Our Intern conversion rate has been greater than 50% for the last 2 years.
NXP India also collaborated with Ministry of electronics for its Special Manpower Development Program for Chips to System Design (SMDP-C2SD)” with an aim to train specialized manpower in the area of VLSI design and inculcate the culture of SoC/System Level Design at UG/PG and Ph.D. level.
For the internship program, our recruitment teams visit various college campuses. Our first and foremost preference is always to hire from Tier 1 colleges. However, there are talented young engineers from Tier 2 and Tier 3 colleges as well. We are more than happy to provide the right direction and opportunities to the people who are interested and motivated to work with us.
Q: Over your decades of years of experience in the industry, what are the key mistakes that you have seen made by the candidates? What would your advice be to them?
Making mistakes and learning from them is an essential trait for any individual to succeed. Times are changing very quickly and the need to learn new things and develop skills is more than essential ever before. Most of the time the aspirants aren’t aware of what they are missing out on. One such thing which most people don’t realize is the lack of effective communication skills which can prove to be very costly when you apply for a job in this industry. Now normally everyone would think, what is the need for communication skills for someone working as an engineer in the tech sector. Except what most of them don’t realize is the fact that they are the only individuals who could make sense out of the loads of complicated data which is involved in this sector. So, working on communication skills is something which every candidate needs to focus on.
Another an interesting observation in the last couple of years is that millennials today are much less guided and motivated to stick in a job or an industry for a long period of time. They are unsure of their expectations from the job and what they seek to achieve from it. Hence, we encourage people to stay motivated, patient and be very clear about their expectations from the job and growth plan. Focusing on their own individual goals and pursuing them with passion and perseverance pays off in the long run. So, they should refrain from being in the rat race of job changes too soon and too often for a bright long-lasting career.