The persistent global chip shortage has reverberated throughout the embedded systems industry, causing profound disruptions in production cycles and stagnation across various sectors. In response to this challenge, India is poised on the brink of a semiconductor renaissance, bolstered by proactive government strategies. Faced with a scarcity of critical semiconductor components, many companies are turning to their engineering teams for solutions. However, to effectively implement these strategies, the industry is in dire need of highly skilled engineering expertise.
As industries rapidly embrace cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing, IoT, and embedded software systems, they are met with a pressing shortage of skilled engineers capable of seamlessly integrating these innovations into their engineering processes. The industry’s fervent drive to tackle this challenge and pioneer revolutionary solutions has intensified the battle for talent, particularly in the realm of embedded software engineering, resulting in a considerable talent gap.
The Skill Gap Dilemma in Embedded Systems Industry
The skill gap that lies in the realm of advanced chip design, analogue and mixed-signal circuit design, and system-level integration, pressurizes the already disrupted Embedded Engineering skills market. While India is making its way to becoming the leading provider of semiconductors, the lack of highly skilled engineers could derail the efforts to stay at the forefront of advanced technologies.
As semiconductors become more complex, localised chip production will be able to open up additional talent pools in the long run, but not in the short term because new talent will have to learn new skills. Since the job skills needed in the industry keep fluctuating, there needs to be a stop-gap in place to provide the exact skills and expertise to fill this deficit.
Since companies seek individuals who can contribute readily from the start, it raises concerns about the practical readiness of employable graduates, generating the pressing need to bridge the gap between academic learning and practical applicability. One of the key challenges is the lack of training on the tool sets used in the semiconductor industry, as the latest hardware and software tools are extremely expensive and advanced, and require months/years of training to master.
Complexity of Semiconductor Industry
The increasing complexity of semiconductor technology, driven by rapid advancements and a demand for specialized expertise, poses significant challenges in training new talent. The extended learning curve, resource-intensive training, and the industry’s constant evolution further exacerbate the skill gap. To address this, urgent solutions are needed, such as streamlined training programs, collaboration between educational institutions and industry, and government support, to equip individuals with the necessary skills to keep the semiconductor sector competitive and innovative.
Government Intervention and Initiatives
In order to fill the skill gap, the government has unveiled plans to invest in educational institutions by introducing specialized and vocational training courses on Semiconductors. More than 600 engineering and technological institutions will soon offer world-class courses on Semiconductor technology, generating more than 20 lakh job opportunities in the country. Additionally, the AICTE has also launched the curriculum for two new programmes, focusing on three core aspects- design, logistics and advanced communication technology, which will provide diverse employment opportunities and student salary incentives.
Apart from the full-time courses, both experts and students can engage in upskilling. Universities have rolled out upskilling and training programmes for both students and professionals, given the changing nature of the Embedded systems industry.
As India is poised to become the Semiconductor ecosystem, several international institutions have also announced initiatives for training semiconductor fabrication engineers in the country. This will also promote manufacturing, research, design, talent development and bolstering supply-chain resilience for semiconductors and their vital components.
The New Engineering Workforce Revolution
As part of the pandemic outbreak, work-from-home or hybrid work culture has become commonplace and companies have already begun transitioning to new strategies. This also involves the fulfillment of working arrangements for contractors to stay efficient and relevant to the market. Subsequently, this broadens the company’s horizons, ensuring the culmination of innovation and growth basis the embedded software capabilities.
Companies are able to more aptly choose the perfect fit of contractor engineer for their projects from the global pool of talented resources from a hybrid, on-site, or remote expertise provision, depending on both need and availability. As more and more enterprises turn to innovative engineering to accelerate the Embedded Systems Industry, it is time to consider the highly skilled embedded engineers from the contractor segment, who are flexible and available to bridge the surging skills gap before the emergence of any other short-term solution.
The global chip shortage has had a profound impact on the embedded systems industry, causing disruptions in production and across sectors. India’s emergence as a semiconductor hub, supported by government initiatives, offers hope for the future. However, the pressing challenge is the significant skill gap within the industry, compounded by the ever-evolving complexity of semiconductor technology. Quick solutions are needed, including streamlined training and industry-educational collaboration. Government investments in education and upskilling initiatives are steps in the right direction, with international institutions contributing to India’s semiconductor ecosystem.
The pandemic has transformed the engineering workforce, with remote and hybrid work becoming the norm. This shift has enabled companies to access a global talent pool of embedded software engineers to bridge the skill gap. Contractors and flexible solutions play a pivotal role in addressing the immediate talent shortage while fostering innovation and growth. Collaboration across various stakeholders is essential to navigate these challenges and keep the embedded systems industry at the forefront of technological innovation.