This sector has the highest paying tech jobs, zero mass layoffs

highest paying tech jobs
The US is investing billions of dollars into this lesser-known sector -- and creating some of the most secure and highest-paying tech jobs today. Source: Josep Lago/AFP

IBM, Amazon, Facebook — you have come across these big names if you are looking to apply for tech jobs.

Things may look all doom and gloom as these companies make headlines for firing around 150,000 workers, with no remorse for the huge loss of human talent

Amazon announced it would axe another 9,000 roles in March, Reuters reported. 

The move piles on a wave of tech jobs layoffs that have swept the industry as an uncertain economy forces companies to get leaner. 

Meta has announced that they will be laying off another 10,000 people and will institute a further hiring freeze as part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency,” according to a Facebook post by Mark Zuckerberg. 

Microsoft is in its third round of layoffs. The company has axed tech jobs that impacted employees in roles related to supply chain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, Business Standard reports. 

Doing the opposite, however, is the semiconductor industry.

The US is on the cusp of a semiconductor manufacturing boom, strengthened by billions of dollars that the federal government is funnelling into the sector. 

The 2022 CHIPS and Science Act aims to make America a semiconductor powerhouse and to not rely so much on other nations to make the tiny chips that power everything from smartphones to cars.

But to achieve this, the semiconductor industry needs workers — around 70,000 to 90,000 workers over the next few years, according to a Deloitte report

McKinsey has also projected a shortfall of about 300,000 engineers and 90,000 skilled technicians in the country by 2030.

“While it hasn’t been the sexiest job opportunity for folks compared to some of the other things that they’re graduating with, it also hasn’t been on the radar,” Ronnie Chatterji, the White House’s CHIPS implementation coordinator, told The New York Times.

Now you know that there is a demand for tech jobs in the semiconductor industry. But do you have the degrees and experience to qualify for them?

10 highest-paying tech jobs in the semiconductor industry and how to get them

1. Process Integration Engineer

Average pay: US$106,791 (ZipRecruiter)

As a process integration engineer, you’ll streamline manufacturing processes by integrating various components and subsystems to design an efficient production system.

Your duties include implementing quality control measures, coordinating system integration, and communicating with key stakeholders.

Consider studying for a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, information technology, or a related field. Some positions may require a master’s degree or higher, especially for more specialised roles.

You will also need to be proficient in several programming languages or software, such as Python, JAVA and SQL.

2. Semiconductor Design Engineer

Average pay: US$112,932 (ZipRecruiter)

Semiconductor engineers design and develop the components of an electrical device, making them electronics engineers.

As the barrier between manufacturing and product release, you will see many projects visit their desk. They must be rigorously scrutinised to meet the necessary criteria before hitting the market.

A degree in electrical, computer, or chemical engineering will be useful for someone considering becoming a semiconductor design engineer. Some employers may prefer candidates with software engineering experience.

In the US, licensure is available through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. It requires the completion of a programme accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

You can complete the first part of the exam, the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE), after finishing your bachelor’s degree.

tech jobs

Field service engineers work closely with clients to provide on-site technical support. Source: Saul Loeb/AFP

3. Field Service Engineer

Average pay: US$67,763 (

Field service engineers provide on-site technical support and assistance for complex equipment or systems.

Their main role is to install, repair, or troubleshoot these systems directly at the customer’s location.

It’s why they work closely with clients to ensure that their equipments function properly and meet the required specifications.

They may also conduct system upgrades, train customers on equipment usage and maintenance, as well as provide technical documentation and reports.

Though some positions require a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field, many field service engineer jobs only require an associate degree or vocational school certificate in field service engineering.

4. Preventive Maintenance Technician

Average salary: US$43,173 (ZipRecruiter)

With the word “preventive” in the title, it’s easy to gauge what are the duties of a preventive maintenance technician.

You’ll be responsible for conducting routine inspections, servicing, and maintenance to prevent potential breakdowns. Your focus would be proactively identifying and addressing any issues before they escalate into major problems.

There are no strict education requirements to become a preventive maintenance technician.

Usually, you are expected to have a high school or secondary level of education. A relevant degree, an apprenticeship, or industrial maintenance experience will help you stand out among other candidates.

The good news is you can negotiate for a higher salary with more experience.

tech jobs

Having hands-on experience will make you a great semiconductor technical trainer and improve your employability, making this one of the highest-paying tech jobs. Source: Andreas Solaro/AFP

5. Semiconductor Technical Trainer

Average pay: US$42,570 (Glassdoor)

As a semiconductor technical trainer, you’re responsible for imparting knowledge on semiconductor technologies, processes, and equipment to engineers, technicians, and other professionals in the industry.

You will develop training programmes, materials, and resources in ways you see fit — whether it’s through classroom sessions, hands-on workshops or online training sessions.

It’s best if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field, such as electrical engineering, electronics, semiconductor technology or a related discipline.

These programmes provide a solid foundation in semiconductor theory, design, fabrication, and characterisation.

As a trainer, prior experience working in the semiconductor industry is highly valuable. It will help you gain practical knowledge of semiconductor processes, equipment, and technologies.

Hands-on experience in areas such as semiconductor manufacturing, device design, process integration, or testing will be an added benefit.

6. Software Engineer

Average pay: US$114,732 (Indeed)

Software engineers play a crucial role in developing and maintaining software solutions for various aspects of the semiconductor manufacturing process.

They develop software for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), create interfaces for equipment communication, develop process control and automation systems, as well as design data analysis and visualization tools, to name a few.

Usually, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a similar discipline to become a software engineer.

A master’s degree isn’t required to work as a software engineer, but it can be helpful for career-changers and those who want to advance their knowledge of the field.

tech jobs

Supply chain managers oversee and optimise the flow of materials, components, and finished products throughout the supply chain. Source: Tony Karumba/AFP

7. Supply Chain Manager

Average Pay: US$85,424 (Payscale)

As a supply chain manager, you’ll oversee and optimise the flow of materials, components, and finished products throughout the supply chain.

You would want to ensure timely production and delivery while managing costs and mitigating risks.

Some employers hire supply chain managers with just an associate degree, but many prefer to recruit those with a bachelor’s degree.

Common undergraduate majors for supply chain managers include business administration, supply chain management, and systems engineering.

Each supply chain management degree provides grounding in the theory (supply chain principles) and practices (operations) underlying the field.

An MBA or MIM may be helpful to supply chain managers who want to learn more about running a business.

8. Electrical Engineer

Average pay: US$100,000 (

An electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry designs, develops, and tests electronic components to meet performance, functionality, and reliability requirements.

A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is the standard entry-level credential within this field.

A master’s or PhD degree in this area, however, can improve a job candidate’s marketability and allow that person to obtain higher-paying, more unique positions.

tech jobs

Good quality assurance can help to reduce unnecessary costs and test technicians are a crucial part of that process. Source: Thomas Kienzle/AFP

9. Test Technician

Average pay: US$37,898 (

In the semiconductor industry, good quality assurance can help to reduce unnecessary costs.

Test technicians are crucial to this process. They perform tests, troubleshoot issues, and ensure the functionality of semiconductor devices or systems through rigorous testing procedures.

The best educational path to becoming a test technician is to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in engineering.

The specific educational qualifications depend on the complexity of the equipment you test. You should also have some experience inspecting industrial or manufacturing facilities.

tech jobs

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s biggest maker of advanced computer chips, unveiled an ambitious factory upgrade in Arizona. This could mean more tech jobs for graduates in the semiconductor industry. Source: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

10. Facilities Engineer

A facilities engineer maintains the infrastructure, utilities, and environmental systems of semiconductor manufacturing facilities to ensure optimal conditions for the production process.

A bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering or a related engineering discipline is usually recommended for those interested in pursuing this role.

If the emphasis is more on building or infrastructure maintenance, it is not uncommon to find someone with a civil engineering background in this role.

Extensive previous plant maintenance or facilities experience can also provide a route into these senior positions without requiring any uni qualification.

tech jobs

The best-paying tech jobs today are in the semiconductor sector. Source: Mandel Ngan/AFP

How Arizona is preparing the local community for this niche boom in tech jobs

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s move into Arizona signals a potential surge of tech job vacancies.

In Maricopa County, three community colleges have partnered with Intel to offer a “quick start” programme that prepares students to become entry-level technicians in 10 days.

During the four-hour classes, students learn the basics of making chips, practise using hand tools and try on the head-to-toe gowns that technicians wear.

More than 680 students have enrolled in the programme since it began in July, Leah Palmer, the executive director of the Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Mesa Community College, told The New York Times.

It is free for in-state students who complete it and pass a certification test.

That said, here’s what you need to know about high-paying tech jobs in the semiconductor industry — and the qualifications you’ll need to get them: