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How To Get Engineering Jobs in Singapore at the Best Semiconductor Companies

Editors Note: Surprisingly this article got a lot more views and traffic than we expected so we will continuously update it with new information. If there is any outdated information please drop us a text using the email address in the footer and we’ll get it updated as soon as possible.

how to get engineering jobs in Singapore

What Unqualified People Look Like Trying To Get Complex Technical Jobs

We know that like most good technicians/assistant engineers you will most likely have your head down and working hard on your day to day stuff. I mean – what you already do is super complicated and you don’t want to get it wrong. You want to look after your company. 

So who is looking after you? Rarely are companies able to plan for all their employees because when a company is a few hundred staff and larger, there’s just no way to pay attention to everyone.

The bottom line is we have to look after ourselves while still performing well during our 9 to 5. That’s why we’re summarizing for you what we have analysed from 

Here’s what we are reviewing today:

comparison between engineer and technician roles in singapore

We are comparing “Engineer” roles between two top companies (SSMC and Applied Materials) and also comparing the terminology used to define the seniority of the role.

Then we are going to analyse the expectations of each role at the Engineer level to make sure that we meet all the requirements to apply for that role (if that’s the one we want).

Also one major take away I want to share is that in this time, employers have their pick – so for us to get noticed by them, we absolutely need to be surgical. Be intentional. And in a very quick span of time, show them that we are the right candidate for the job. 

Job Ranks

There appears to be a lower, middle, and upper roles. Lower classes use grouping terms such as technician or assistant engineer. Middle terms are all “Engineer” roles without preceding or following terms. Upper roles have the title of ‘Senior’, ‘Principal’ and others. More examples can be found on the MyCareersFuture  page.

I'm Currently a Technician. What Do I Need To Do To Be Promoted To An Engineer?


Just exploring the difference between a lower and middle role, we have to look at the wording of the job description. Technicians focus a lot on doing, whereas the Engineers focus more on semi-managing / control. Both roles are expected to solve problems but the Engineer’s problems may be more theoretical and abstract than a technician’s roles that may be more practical and clear cut.

An engineer would be expected to create a model for forecasting output quality despite lower input quality. A lot of planning and thinking roles. Education requirement for this role is Degree in science or engineering.

Whereas a technician/associate engineer would be expected to manage the inventory of the materials and alert people when it’s running low. A lot of doing-jobs.Note that the education is a diploma in engineering – This is not to be mistaken for a NITEC certificate. This line means that this role is for Diploma holders.

Sample Technician Job RolesSample Engineer Job Roles
Perform shift duties…Plan, Strategize, monitor…
Conduct Installation of new equipment…Mentor and train…
Ensure good housekeepingFacilitate and participate in…
Applied Materials
Applied materials has a slightly different approach but in essence the expectations are the same. A technician is called a technician and you would still be mostly focused on a “doing” level of work. See this technician job description below:
Applied Materials - Manufacturing Technician-min

Interestingly the education requirement is an Associate Degree. In Singapore terms, that would be a polytechnic diploma. Polytechnic diploma = technician

At Applied Materials the engineer role is significantly more complex than a technicians. Read this job description:

Applied Materials - Manufacturing Engg-min

Did you read this:

  • Develop…
  • Implements…
  • Interfaces with other engineering functions…
  • Estimates costs…
  • Develop and use test procedures…
  • Evaluate work methods…

There is a lot of expectation on this person. And again, the minimum education requirement: Bachelor’s Degree. I suppose you could try to apply with a bachelors in business but I doubt that business management degrees teach you how to conduct failure mode analysis and effects or develops any understanding of tooling or manufacturing processes.

In a case of a company like Applied Materials: the requirements of an engineer are both technical as well as managerial in the sense that you would have to have a deep understanding of the process, the technicals, the output and also the interfacing considerations such as interpersonal skills, costing, financial considerations and more.

What If I Want to Move Companies?

A lot of this depends on your personal preference (what you like to do, where you want to work) and also your personal experience (what type of work you’ve done before, and do you meet the expectations of the role).

The logical move is to migrate from one companies TECHNICIAN grade to another companies ENGINEER grade. There is always greater value placed on an externally-experienced hire than on an internally-experienced person. It’s a strange sense of self-bias but it exists in every industry. This is called a “diagonal” move.

Just referencing this type of “diagonal” move, you would be benefiting yourself by $1500 to $4000 a month. Why not right? Let’s look at the expectations.

You are in this role at SSMC in this role: Associate Engineer

You work shifts that rotate every 2 months. Sometimes your day shift. Sometimes night shift. Some times mid shift. Your work is manual to say the least. You have a fixed roster of work and you do it every day – day in, day out, like clock work. Sometimes you even question why you do the things you do because they seem totally unnecessary like preventive maintenance. The machine is working fine. Why tear down and rebuild? Anyway, supervisor says so. So you follow anyway. You follow a very extensive set of documented procedures that were provided to you when you first joined and you don’t mind the work. 

Fast forward to four years later, you’re looking at your work load and wondering… this all seems quite repetitive. The biggest change you’ve had in the last 4 years is a slight variation in one part of the process to a new machine that just arrived. You feel busy but unfulfilled and that you know you can do bigger things – but somehow working harder is not good enough to get promoted.

You are an expert in your trade and all the new associates that join look up to you even though you’re not the supervisor. You’re just experienced. You know the machines inside out and you even understand the parts of the process that take place before and after your role.

And you want to move to this role: Manufacturing Engineer

Running through the job description, they are expecting someone who is familiar with supervising and coordinating production activity. This is you because you’ve done it for at least 1 year now even though you were not officially appointed. The job description also has a list of things that you need to do that is mostly liaising with other departments and other roles in meetings that you were never invited to attend before. Also you ‘ll need to be disciplinarian (sort of) and try to manage your subordinates to do things properly, safely, up to quality expectations, etc.

Yes, we see the parts that we’re capable of. But what are we NOT YET capable of doing?

  1. Planning and strategizing
  2. Extracting feedback
  3. Resolving line-related technical issues
  4. Ensure efficient use of manpower, materials, machines, and proper methods.

Where do these skills come from? Partially they come from experience and partially they come from higher qualifications. 

Speaking of higher qualifications: did you notice that the minimum requirement is a degree AGAIN

You meet the requirements of having 1-3 year wafer fab manufacturing experience but that pesky degree is still missing. 

Opportunities We See for: Electrical Engineering Jobs in Singapore

Traditionally our electrical and electronic engineers have been employed in aerospace, electronics manufacturing and telecommunications. To be simply put, aerospace is struggling to pay well and may only keep the very best engineers that they can find while electronics has increasingly automated systems so again, there are fewer seats to be filled. And finally telecommunications has a big manpower crunch but you must be extremely familiar with a range of industry grade hardware in 3G/4G/5G and there are very few people who meet this requirement.

You can still get jobs in those fields – it will just be a little bit tougher. Meanwhile, why not explore some of the newer opportunities?

Electrical Vehicles (EV)

Did you know that some times up to 50% of the cost of an EV is in the batteries alone? Students who are trained in EEE would be good candidates for working with EVs since most of the components have shifted into EEE territory. There are seemingly opportunities with TESLA posting job ads in Singapore and Hyundai re-starting car manufacturing here after many years.


Independent Power Producers

The power production industry has been liberalized and there are many players in the space now. Each of them would have their own power production technology from biomass, to solar, to LPG, etc. As EEE graduates from Auston we cover topics such as these so that the science and math of these industries is not new to you. In fact, you may be one of the few people who is trained and willing to work in these fields. Some of these companies are also top employers since they are fighting for talent (like you) to join them in their infancy.

System Integrators

We all have those friends who think the “IT” guy can just connect the washing machine to the wifi and get it to sync with your safe-entry so in case you happen to be nearby any place visited by a COVID19 positive person the washing machine will automatically do an extra wash for you with more dettol (??). These far fetched ideas are dreamed up by a feedback form somewhere but implemented with someone with your expertise to navigate the technology and algorithms. that aside, the folks who are selling temperature scanners at the entrance to every mall and office must be making a lot of money but the system doesn’t link to other logical systems like counting entry capacity etc. That’s an integration that would be done by a EEE engineer (you’re welcome).

Opportunities We See for: Mechanical Engineering Jobs in Singapore

In the past 2 years of graduate surveys, our mechanical-mechatronics graduates have been earning a staggering amount more than EEE graduates (15-20% more on average). This is probably because the work they do involves physical labour (e.g. climbing into lift shafts, connecting heavy beams, etc)

We envisage some new opportunities for this group.

Electrical Vehicles (EV)

Because our programme includes mechatronics, your EEE brothers may be fiddling with batteries and power-regeneration units, but graduates with mechatronics degrees are more likely to be focusing on more mechanical parts such as drive shafts, feedback units, lidar (if any), etc. Maybe even electric engines to make sure that it’s working well in the confines of a mechanical consideration like temperature, vibration, fatigue.

Again – Hyundai, TESLA, and other car maintenance and repair of electrical vehicles would be fantastic in this zone.

System Integrators

Pretty much the same as the EEE crowd but with a proper mechatronics degree you could be the in-house system integrator for large companies (e.g. building, testing, commissioning of an autonomous warehouse robot that alerts you to overloaded or imbalanced stores). These roles typically work for highly customized and unique deployment settings.

BioMedical and Healthcare Tech

When we’re faced with such an infectious disease like COVID19 and we realize that the front-liners are the only ones that can save us an are also the most likely to be infected by the illness, it really makes a strong case for better healthcare tech that reduces exposure. Working in this area is rewarding morally as well as financially with billions of dollars being poured into this field. Mechatronics graduates could work on small things like sensor adaptations for nano-applications to large-scale robotic deployments that replicate front-liners activities to give them rest of safe-distancing. The list goes on but you will only truly know the problems once you’re in the industry.

Opportunities We See for: Civil Engineering Jobs in Singapore

When we talk about construction and civil engineering most people immediately get this mental image: a dark skinned guy, with a yellow hat, in the hot sun, doing manual labour. The reason why they see it this way is that the industry has not evolved over the years.

In the current climate we must consider the factors:
– Singapore depends on a constant slew of massive projects
– Few of our locals will want to perform laborious jobs
– In lieu of COVID19, foreign manpower to do this work will be expensive and in short supply.

It’s a tough solution and we are being forced to relook at it. Here are the opportunities:

Expanded Scopes (throughout the Construction Industry)

Health and safety, site management, QS, procurement – these roles used to be specialized and their salary used to be justified. However now they can no longer perform their specialized tasks only and must undertake broader roles or multi-roles. These new roles will also be a test of their ability to do more for the company. As such, our programmes train them across a broad range of skills for present and future so they can keep up and even adapt as times change.

Technology-Based Building Management

In a tight economic climate, tariffs for rent and occupancy rates might drop. This forces larger landlords to tighten their belts and ultimately puts pressure on everyone – management and staff. However, with todays technological developments, there are so many opportunities such as a regional security centers, remote facility management, sensor-based triggers for essential cleaning and etc. Newer technologies help to reduce cost, improve efficiency and maximize your work-done in the day. Any ordinary facilities manager may be skills just enough to do the basics but those with training that our courses provide will be enabled to understand and deploy these complex  proposals to management and oversee their deployment.

Complex Tendering Projects

Remember that as long as remain in tight economic climates, pressure on efficient design and build and manage projects will be deployed from the very top (government) to the large (mnc) to the small (sme). There will be a renewed focus on efficiency and productivity where 5 staff produce the work of 8 through technology-enablement and conducive work environments. We’re talking about more than just a quiet space with A/C and light. Conducive spaces means right sizing work spaces in the right FIFO or LIFO configurations or managing smart-building projects that have dynamic spaces that are functional yet meet regulatory requirements and can still be modified for future use without incurring extra cost. Complex projects require education experts – like you.

Ok I get it. So What Do I Do To Get In?

We see it as 4 steps to tick to:

  1. Experience
    If you don’t have experience in manufacturing, wafer fab, electronics assembly, etc – then please don’t apply for Engineer roles. But if you’re already in the industry, then you meet this requirement nice and squarely.
  2. Education Levels
    If you haven’t figured this out by now, we’re a leading provider of engineering higher education. A part-time degree from Auston could take just 16 months to complete. No matter what, this is a global requirement for most brands to be employed as an engineering so you must get this before applying for this role.
  3. Job Requirements
    Identify the key job requirements that you excel in because of your talent, experience, and education and identify them in the initial parts of your CV in clear bullet points. This will make sure that hiring managers identify you as the ideal talent that they are looking for. Summarize your CV into 1 or 2 pages at the most.
  4. Look for the careers page of the company and apply there
    This is the fastest and most direct way of getting your CV into the hands of the right person. If you go the “lazy” route where you submit your CV on job portals it may never actually reach the company because of email routing, spam filters, change in email addresses, change in staff, incorrect postings, lost in the masses of applicants, portal problems and login errors, and so on and so forth.

If you’ve got everything you need, then head over to the links in the article above and submit your CVs. All the best and happy hunting!

However, if you need a degree and want to study with us (We think we are the best in the business) then read about our courses here. If you’re currently holding an S-Pass and would like to justify a move to an E-Pass, an engineering degree could be a really useful factor – read about how degrees help your application here.

So What Should I Do Now?

We recommend that you start looking for degree programmes and hopefully, you choose us.

Many people ask where do I start.  

Everyone starts in different place. Your past qualifications and work experience is critical in determining where you go and start. If you’d like to speak to a consultant about joining, please complete the form below and we can get back to you about fees, duration and more.

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