“I hope it will be an opportunity to discuss the semiconductor talent nurturing policy that looks forward to the future 5-10 years from now.”
Sarah Eunkyung Kim, head of the Department of Intelligent Semiconductor Engineering at Seoul National University of Science and Technology, ordered that the government's semiconductor talent nurturing policy should be made as a long-term plan. She was wary of becoming a technology mass production policy driven by urgency. Although the industry requires manpower that can be put into the field right away, the advice is that basic engineering education should be done solidly in consideration of long-term industrial development and student careers.
Professor Kim received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the United States and worked for about 7 years at Intel Research Center in the United States from 1998. In 2020, she co-founded 'ELOHIM Inc.', a company specializing in semiconductor passive devices. She is a semiconductor expert with extensive experience in research and development (R&D), education, and start-up.
Professor Kim said, “If all universities across the country create similar departments like a fashion, we must consider what students will do when they graduate in 5-10 years. Basic engineering education such as materials, design, physics, electricity, and electronics should be sufficiently provided.”
Professor Kim said that if the industrial talent nurturing policy immediately sets the employment rate of semiconductor companies as the only performance or goal, it may be difficult to nurture talents who can compete with the global industry.
Professor Kim introduced the US 'SRC (Semiconductor Research Corporation) program' as an example, in which companies act as R&D sponsors. SRC is evaluated to be the most effective in nurturing talent, and a project modeled on it has been devised in Korea as well. She added, "Even if [the research project] fails, the SRC looks forward to the future semiconductor industry and mainly discusses how meaningful this is in education and research."
The semiconductor industry is currently developing into a process of continuous collaboration between companies participating in design, process, and mass production. Information exchange and networks are also taking place globally. Professor Kim explained, “As the semiconductor industry has become more divided and advanced, ‘soft skills’ such as leadership, presentation skills, communication skills, and English have become essential for engineers’ competency.”
Professor Kim advised, “Engineers must have critical and comprehensive thinking skills on technical content. She introduced that Intel has already been providing essential refresher training for semiconductor employees related to statistics and data for decades.
She said, “Compared to the US, we have a short accumulation time.” She urged the systematic discussion on semiconductor education in which industry, academia, and government participate.