The Booming Tech & Electronics Industries
Although not as rapid as the rise in cryptocurrencies, stock markets have actually been on a tear in the last couple of years.
Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google & Amazon have exceeded $500 billion in their valuations in Tech Boom 2.0. And unlike tech unicorns 15 years ago, these companies are here to stay. Their impact is wide-ranging, changing the way we work, spend our leisure time and how we buy our stuff.
We are ushering in the age of the Internet Of Things and we are seeing an increase in demand in the electronics sector, whether it’s semiconductor components or memory chips. Local companies like Venture, Micro Mechanics & Ellipsiz have seen a turn in their fortunes and many of their investors are sitting on substantial capital gains.
If you’re not an investor of these companies, is there another way to benefit?
Well, with more demand of their products and higher profits to boot, it’s not rocket science to expect these firms’ hiring to increase.
So, I am wondering if someone with no Electronics or Engineering background, like me, could ever get a job in this industry?
How I Could Qualify For A Job In The Electronics Sector
Actually, I am pretty optimistic. My work experience as a public servant and a teacher/tutor should imbibe me with some transferable knowledge and soft skills. And if there are gaps, I could always learn and fill them.
To quickly check out these in-demand jobs, skills and training for the electronics sector, NTUC’s Future Jobs, Skills and Training has a handy infographic below.
My optimism is further boosted after reading through the Skills Framework For Electronics. It’s a comprehensive 100-page PDF. I personally found the skill maps (job descriptions, competencies and key tasks) for the different roles informative. And of course, one would definitely be interested in the transparent wage information provided on Page 91.
Becoming a fellow (Page 61) who is responsible for building business networks and driving organisational growth is definitely a possibility since I have performed a similar role previously. That’s where I can leverage on previous experiences formulating policy and strategic plans. Enjoying writing would probably also help in this role.
But if I wanted to go down a more technical path, I could definitely model after someone like Jayavarma.
Making a Mid-Career Switch to the Electronics Industry
Jayavarma didn’t start off in the electronics industry at first. He was actually a technical specialist in a manufacturing environment in his first job.
He was then given an opportunity to be part of the company’s Environmental Health and Safety committee where he enjoyed the experience.
With transferable skills in workplace safety and health, he did a mid-career switch into the Electronics sector by securing a new job as a Staff Environmental Health and Safety Engineer at STATS ChipPAC’s facilities department.
But he didn’t stop there. Jayavarma then upgraded himself and attended courses to fill in the technical gaps, even learning from professionals overseas.
One of his key achievements is convincing the management to build a centralised chemical storage area to isolate the chemicals away from the main building, keeping his fellow workers safe.
Unsurprisingly, he also harbours an ambition to gain additional knowledge by pursuing a Masters in Occupational Health and Safety from NUS!
Jumping from One Industry to Another
Another example is Vignesh Kumar who is working as a Process Technician in Micron, an MNC that has benefited from the increased global demand for solid state drives for electronic devices.
He switched to the electronics sector from the aviation sector and his story was featured in a blogpost by Labour MP Melvin Yong, who is also the Executive Secretary of United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI), which is the union representing working people in these industries.
Melvin Yong highlighted how Vignesh’s “background in the aviation industry, coupled with knowledge gained from the part-time degree, helps value-add to his role as a Process Technician.”
And even right now, Vignesh is doing a part-time degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NTU to upgrade himself!
So we can see that there is really no need to pigeonhole industries and assume that there are limited types of jobs in a sunrise industry. Even if I were to join a new industry, I might not have to start from the bottom all over again, as long as I have transferable skills in demand.
Moreover, if I am currently in a sunset industry and my job is under threat, the question is, is there a chance for me to join a company in another industry that has better prospects?
Definitely, as we have seen from the examples above.
As for me, I am ready to take a plunge into the electronics industry if the need/interest arises!