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Q&A: Computer chip start-up CTO: Our business isn’t boring — or a career dead end


Semiconductors are in virtually every electronic device that leaves a factory today, and the US government has planted a flag in the ground as the burgeoning chip industry has become the future of technology manufacturing.

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and others have been lobbying the US government to increase domestic chip production, citing problems overseas that have hampered hardware production. In fact, a US Commerce Department report in January said the chip shortage was so bad that at one point in 2021 there was just a five-day supply worldwide — with no sign the situation would improve anytime soon. 

Late last month, Congress passed the CHIPS Act, a $77 billion piece of legislation that earmarks subsidies and tax credits for companies designing and manufacturing  seminconductors on American shores.

Several Asian nations, including China, South Korea, and Taiwan, as well as the European Union, have also recognized the urgency in laying claim to the vast manufacturing opportunities in the semiconductor industry. They’ve injected billions in public and private funding to boost chip manufacturing capacity and development.

The tech industry in general, however, faces arguably its greatest dearth of available talent in history, with unemployment rates hovering around 1.7% — less than half that of the overall unemployment rate, according to CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry.

At the same time, semiconductor behemoths such as Intel, Samsung and TSMC are in the middle of building new chip fabrication plants in the US as part of a massive re-shoring effort. But there’s far too little tech talent to fill the needs.

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