semiconductor engineer leaving a job interview

Semiconductor Engineer Jobs: The 2023 US Guide

A semiconductor engineer job is a great career choice in a world where microchip-enabled electrical devices have become essential to everyday life’s functionality.

Semiconductors are the building block of electronics, an industry that is gradually becoming the largest sector in most advanced economies.

Besides providing a key role in the economy and improving millions of lives throughout the world, semiconductor engineers can also benefit from high-paying salaries and great career prospects.

As of 2022, the US semiconductor industry is experiencing steady growth, with government incentives pushing top players like Micron, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries to invest billions in new manufacturing facilities throughout the US.

If that weren’t enough, semiconductor companies are facing a severe shortage of labor, which is opening a whole new set of job opportunities for engineers.

To help you navigate the semiconductor job market and secure the best paying jobs for engineers here in the US, here is our definitive guide to semiconductor engineering jobs:

Semiconductor job market

Best-paying semiconductor engineer jobs

Best US cities for semiconductor engineer jobs

But, before we get started….

What does a semiconductor engineer do?

The job of a semiconductor engineer consists of overlooking the design, manufacturing and testing of electronic circuits for computers and other electronic devices.

Although semiconductor engineers are usually involved in all production phases, they mostly work with processes like wafer bonding and etching to create conduction pathways on silicon wafers.

Having said that, the duties of a semiconductor engineer may vary depending on: semiconductor product segment, semiconductor end use, and semiconductor company type.

The semiconductor industry is divided into the following product segments:

  • Discrete semiconductors
  • Optoelectronics
  • Integrated Circuits
  • Sensors

The semiconductor market is then segmented based on its end-uses:

  • Automotive
  • Industrial
  • Data Center
  • Telecommunication
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Healthcare

Although end-users normally use semiconductors from all segments, semiconductor companies specialize in specific segments and are involved in just a few production phases.

There are three main types of semiconductor companies:

  • Integrated device manufacturers (IDMs): semiconductor companies that design, manufacture, and sell integrated circuit products. Examples of IDMs are Intel, Samsung, and Texas Instruments.
  • Fabless companies: semiconductor companies that design microchips but contract out their production. Examples of fabless companies include AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm,
  • Merchant or pure play foundries: semiconductor companies that only manufacture devices for other companies. Examples of pure play foundries are GlobalFoundries, TSMC, and UMC.

The US has the world’s highest concentration of fabless companies, producing only 10% of the world’s microchips and 0% of the most advanced logic semiconductors, which are produced by overseas manufacturers.

Some of the top semiconductor companies in the US include: Apple, Intel, Samsung Electronics, Texas Instruments, Toshiba Semiconductors, Renesas Electronics, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics , Hynix, Micron Technology, Broadcom, Fabless, EMC, IBM, NetApp, Dell, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, Symantec, Cisco, CA Technologies, AMD, Broadcam, Infineon.

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Semiconductor job market

In 2021, the global semiconductor market increased its revenues by 20%, reaching $590bn.

Growth is expected to continue at a CAGR of 6% up to 2030, when Semiconductors is projected to become a trillion-dollar industry.

Several factors are contributing to the growth of the semiconductor market, including wider use of Artificial Intelligence, 5G expansion, and surging demand from electric vehicle companies.

In fact, nearly 70% of market growth will be driven by Automotive, Computation & Data Storage, and Wireless.
Despite its steady growth, the semiconductors industry was greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As remote workers throughout the globe rushed to purchase new electronic devices, the pandemic came with an unexpected rising demand for semiconductors.

This led to a supply-demand imbalance, with semiconductor companies falling late on shipments and bottlenecks affecting the production of everything microchip-enabled, from laptops to cars.

To relieve pressure on Asian manufacturers and strengthen America’s semiconductor supply chain, in July 2022 the U.S. Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, a  piece of legislation that will see $52bn pouring into domestic chip manufacturing, research, and design.

Prompted by Government support, several semiconductor companies are now planning to expand their presence in the US.

For example, Micron is investing $40bn in leading-edge memory manufacturing, which will create up to 40,000 new semiconductor jobs.

Qualcomm has announced plans to increase semiconductor production in the U.S. by 50% over the next five years, committing to a $4.2bn investment in GlobalFoundries’s manufacturing facilities in upstate New York.

Semiconductor engineers should also expect new career prospects to come from companies that have not traditionally been involved in semiconductor manufacturing, including electronics companies, automotive OEMs and hyperscalers.

As these companies are gradually moving chip design in-house to overcome supply chain bottlenecks and optimize product customization, the demand for semiconductor engineers is forecasted to grow steadily in the next decade.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for electronics engineers, which includes semiconductor engineers, will increase by 7% in 2030.

In the same time period, employment in the US chip manufacturing sector will grow by 13%, while semiconductor companies are expected to create 300,000 new jobs by 2025.

On the other hand,  US-based companies across all industries will face a shortage of 300,000 engineers by 2030.

Translated for all jobseekers out there: there has never been a better time to find a semiconductor engineer job in the US.

Even more so, as the trade association SEMI reported that 34,000 semiconductor jobs went unfilled among its member companies in 2021 alone.

3 female tech workers at a desk

Best-paying semiconductor engineer jobs 

According to Indeed, the average annual salary of a semiconductor engineer in the US is $120,681 per year, ranging from a minimum annual salary of $81,226 to a maximum of $192,212.

Salaries tend to vary across the different industries that employ semiconductor engineers, along with the geographical region, type of semiconductor company and position level.

Most semiconductor engineer job vacancies require at least a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, while most semiconductor companies value specializations in computer engineering, software engineering, information systems, and information technology.

A degree in materials science, physics, or computer science may also help you to get a semiconductor engineer job.

Below are some of the best-paying semiconductor engineer jobs available in the US, along with a breakdown of the most common position requirements and average annual salaries.

Semiconductor Design Engineer
The job of a Semiconductor Design Engineer consists of planning, designing, and constructing specialized semiconductor technology, ensuring adherence to engineering and scientific standards.

The job requirements for a Semiconductor Design Engineer include:

  • A degree in Engineering, Physics, ora any other comparable area of fundamental Engineering Science/Physics, such as Optics, Heat Transfer, Soil Mechanics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, and/or (depending on position level)
  • Experience in microelectronics design engineering and/or analog or digital circuit design (e.g., FPGA, ASIC, PCB, etc)
  • Experience with modeling/simulation to evaluate designs
  • Experience using electronic design automation tools
  • Experience packaging and/or assembling integrated circuit devices
  • Semiconductor or integrated circuit quality assurance and materials science/fabrication experience
  • Semiconductor or integrated circuit quality assurance experience

Average salary (ZipRecruiter): $116,044 a year.

Semiconductor Reliability Engineer
A Semiconductor Reliability Engineer is responsible for developing Design for Reliability guidelines and for managing stress testing to ensure chip-level and system reliability in the application environment.

To get a job as a Semiconductor Reliability Engineer, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry and/or (depending on position level)
  • Experience with circuit-level or system-level reliability analysis and/or qualification
  • Familiarity with the most important reliability mechanisms (including transistors, metallization, and packaging) and their impact on circuits and systems
  • Understanding of commercial semiconductor fabrication process technologies, including standard CMOS, SOI, SiGe, and GaN
  • Experience with Design for Reliability (DfR) strategies
  • Experience with reliability accelerated testing

Average salary (ZipRecruiter): $115,212 a year.

Semiconductor Field Service Engineer

Semiconductor Field Service Engineers are the link between service providers and customers.

They provide in-depth advice on equipment management and operation and deliver emergency field service, troubleshooting and repair.

To land a job as Semiconductor Field Service Engineer, you need to have:

  • An Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in a related engineering field and/or
  • Experience installing/repairing semiconductor/electronic production equipment.
  • Experience in field service or equivalent in customer service
  • Experience in field service machine commissioning
  • Electrical and computer systems background,
  • Diagnostic experience, including electronic troubleshooting, systems troubleshooting and electromechanical troubleshooting
  • Mechanical proficiency with precision measurement tools

Average salary (ZipRecruiter): $74,000 a year

Other types of semiconductor engineer jobs include:

  • Electrical engineer
  • Software automation engineer
  • Customer support engineer
  • Test and measurement engineer
  • Systems engineer
  • Process integration engineer

Seattle, WA

Best US cities for semiconductor engineer jobs

Semiconductor jobs are spread throughout the US, but these are some of the top regions for career growth and prospects.

Silicon Valley, CA

Job opportunities for semiconductor engineers are plenty in Silicon Valley.

Besides hosting tech giants like Amazon, Apple, CIBM, Cisco, Deloitte, Google, NVIDIA, Paypal, VMware and Xoriant, the Silicon Valley area is the world’s biggest startup ecosystem.

According to CrunchBase, 516 semiconductor companies are based in Silicon Valley.

Some of the top semiconductor companies in Silicon Valley include:

The average annual salary for a Semiconductor Engineer in San Jose is  $143,265.

Portland, OR
Also known among techies as ‘Silicon Forest’, the Portland metropolitan area is one of the top tech hubs in the US for Hardware, Software, Emerging Technologies, IT, IoT, AI, and, needless to say, Semiconductors.

One of the first tech companies to bet on Portland was Intel, which started its first facility in 1974 and then expanded to become one of Oregon’s largest employers.

Other leading semiconductor companies residing in Portland include:

The average annual salary for a Semiconductor Engineer in Portland is $76,000.

Upstate New York
Upstate New York is a major semiconductor hub, with top companies such as GlobalFoundries, ASML, and Applied Materials having fabs facilities in the area.

At the moment, Micron is planning to invest $100bn in a new microchip plant outside Syracuse, which is expected to create 9,000 new semiconductor jobs in the next decade.

Other semiconductor companies based in Upstate New York include:

The average annual salary for a Semiconductor Engineer in Upstate New York is $137,329.

Chandler and Phoenix, AZ

Last year, Forbes nicknamed Arizona the ‘U.S. Semiconductor Central’ because of the incredible growth experienced by the local semiconductor industry.

At the time, the likes of Intel, TSMC and Samsung had just announced plans to create new fabs facilities in Arizona.

Big semiconductor companies have been expanding their presence in the state of Arizona due to its tax incentives, skilled workforce and  large amounts of available land, which is an essential requirement for fab establishments.

Companies such as Intel, TSMC, and NXP Semiconductors have fabs in Chandler, while nearby Phoenix boasts some of the highest-paying salaries for semiconductor engineers in the US (Indeed).

The average annual salary for a Semiconductor Engineer in Arizona is $112,862.

Austin, TX

One of the top up-and-coming tech hubs in the US, Austin is gradually establishing itself as a semiconductor hotspot.

Also known as ‘Silicon Hills”, Austin is an attractive alternative to the Bay Area and New York City for tech companies of all sizes, including giants like Apple, Oracle and Tesla.

Some of the top semiconductor companies based in Austin include:

The average salary for a Semiconductor Engineer in Austin is $85,000.

 Are you looking for a job in semiconductors? Have a look at our current vacancies or feel free to contact us for all your recruitment needs –

About the Author

Ruggero Glatarossa

Ruggero a bilingual technology writer with a  professional background in online journalism and academic expertise in the Sociology of New Media. He has studied at prestigious UK institutes like the University of Cambridge and City University London. 

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