Just what is clean manufacturing? Clean manufacturing is the process of, usually, making semiconductors and other computer chips. It is relatively unique, in that many times you look like an astronaut or a doctor with the clean gear you must wear. It’s definitely a high-tech job sector.
Thus, for a high-tech, high-paying job in clean manufacturing, you need some good high-tech skills. As an example, Micron Technology is one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers. They make various memory chips for a wide variety of applications. Looking at their current job postings as this article is written, they have jobs for majors in chemistry, computer engineering, materials science, physics, microelectronics, and industrial engineering, to name a few.
Let’s examine one job at Micron a bit closer: fab engineer. Micron wants at least a Bachelor of Science in any of these fields: electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, microelectronics, material science, physics, and chemistry. In this position you would be responsible for monitoring and improving things such as wet etch, chemical vapor deposition, and others.
These are all manufacturing skills needed for a semiconductor operator job. But these skills are not just limited to computers: solar cell technology also uses or is starting to use these same skills. And since computers run an increasing number of things in this world, these skills are increasingly needed.
What Qualifications Are Needed for a Clean Manufacturing Job?
How can you prepare for this exciting field? Strong math and science skills are a necessity, if only to understand what the engineer types are talking about. If you want to be a plant operator, you’ll need a hard-core science degree — a Bachelor of Science at a minimum. This doesn’t have to be some form of engineering degree; plenty of computer science majors are sought as well.
If you cringe at the thought of all that science and silicon but have great industrial engineering skills and plant management skills, you can still find work in clean manufacturing. Quality control operators are needed as well.
Aside from all the geeky stuff, you need to have excellent communication skills. Unlike on a lot of assembly lines, you’ll need to talk a lot, via email and in person. And with the highly technical nature of the industry, keeping up on the latest trends is also important — as is being able to speak about and understand them.
Of course, in your interview be personable! The stereotypical geek with no social skills is not a good image to present. Good job interview skills still apply in this industry; being personable, arriving early, dressing up, and demonstrating competence are necessities. A decent-looking resume is crucial as well. Any resume that has spelling errors and so forth will likely lead to rejection.
That last bit of advice may seem self-evident, but it’s amazing how many people just don’t pay attention to the basics. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
Good luck getting a job in the highly interesting and rewarding field of clean manufacturing!