Chip industry tries to get visible

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE: While the success of the IT services industry in India cannot be denied, its visibility seems to have overshadowed that of the Indian semi-conductor industry.


With the result that many fresh engineering graduates who are enamored by the big names and glamour of the IT services industry, seem to prefer a career in software to high-end chip design.

“This, despite the fact that average starting salaries in the semi-conductor industry are around 33% more than that of the software industry,” rues Poornima Shenoy, president, Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA), which counts 70 companies working in the space, as members.

Today, the who's who of the semiconductor industry have their R&D centers in India. Despite this, the industry, which is expected to touch $800 million this year, is facing a shortfall in supply of good talent. “We seem to be fishing out of the same pool,” said Shenoy. The industry currently employs around 12,000 engineers of who, around 8000 are design engineers.


To address this serious concern, the industry body has lined up initiatives aimed at sprucing up engineering colleges to produce industry-ready graduates. One program called Si-Quest is rolling out this month in 35 engineering colleges including RECs in northern, southern and eastern parts of India. Chip companies, which have signed up for this program, would create brand awareness and visibility for the industry and also throw light on career opportunities in the space. Besides, these companies would offer internships for selected students and also select students for employment.

The association also tied up recently with the Visveswaraya Technological University in Karnataka to make the university curriculum up-to-date with industry requirements.

To create ore visibility for the industry, ISA is planning to hold an annual event starting February 8th and 9th in Bangalore in 2006 titled “Triple Play.” This would focus on three cornerstones of the industry-design, embedded software and manufacturing design.

“This will be the first of its kind in this geography that would look at the status of the industry as it stands today and its future direction,” said Shenoy. ISA also hopes to start a Hyderabad chapter in January 2006.