The semiconductor shortage is one of the biggest and most persistent news stories in electronic hardware, and it has been going on for several years. We have been reporting on products affected by supply chain issues, including rising GPU prices, truck robberies, and severe DDR5 shortages that are unlikely to ease anytime soon. It even raised the price of the much-loved mini PC solution, the Raspberry Pi, for the first time ever. While companies have been working hard to develop more silicon production infrastructure, that may only be half the problem.
according to Nikkei Asia, skills shortages could be the next biggest barrier to semiconductor shortages. Taiwan is a hotspot for semiconductor production, with the world’s leading chipmaker TSMC claiming to have settled here.
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Taiwan is also home to Computex, the best trade show for PC hardware, and is said to be returning to Taipei this year. It is home to Yangming Jiaotong University, a prestigious microelectronics school, where students often start picking potential job prospects before they graduate.
One student, Ken Wu, who won’t even complete his Ph.D. until this June, has been headhunted by potential employers for the past two years. Wu explained that despite not being able to even work full-time due to his studies, the company has struggled to arrange interviews with him about future employment. With so many options to choose from, Wu will be a senior engineer later this year. He’ll be working with Taiwan’s Macronix, which provides dedicated memory for Apple, Nintendo and BMW.
Wu’s story doesn’t seem unique, and many graduating Taiwanese graduates are ripe for work. Nikkei Asia also spoke with recruiting companies and government officials about the current situation. The consensus is that the industry’s current need for trained and skilled talent is dire, perhaps even more so than the components themselves.
With more than 2,000 jobs currently vacant and more likely as infrastructure increases to meet demand, it appears that the bottleneck may shift sooner or later. Let’s hope they see at least enough typhoons this year.