MEET OUR PEOPLE: MICRON
By GradSingapore Posted 5yr(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes
Micron is a global leader in the semiconductor industry. For more than 35 years, Micron has dedicated itself to collaborating with customers and partners to engineer technology that drives innovation and transforms what's possible.
Meet two of their employees and see what they have to say about working at Micron.
LEE KOK CHOY
DIRECTOR & SINGAPORE COUNTRY MANAGER
Kok Choy taught himself everything he needed to know on the job – and he wouldn’t have it any other way!
“I currently hold a Master’s degree in Engineering (Microelectronics) and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the National University of Singapore. I remember when I first joined as a Semiconductor Assembly and Packaging Engineer in wire-bonding in 1977 – I knew nothing of the memory business then, but because it was a growing industry I was happy to participate in it.
My first job after graduation was at Texas Instruments Singapore and the 4 kilobits DRAM was the first chip I worked on. Interestingly enough, the chips we manufacture in a Micron factory in Singapore right now have 64 gigabits in the same amount of silicon space as the chips I was working with back then!”
All in the manual
“When I first started out in my career in Texas Instruments, I was appointed as a Semiconductor Assembly and Packaging Engineer in wire-bonding. I was given a manual and was shown the machines and processes I was in charge of. On the first 2 days of my job, I was made the engineer-in-charge. I learned by reading the manual and every piece of documentation I could get my hands on, asked my technicians about their experience, and then proceeded to apply all the engineering education I had gained in university to solve problems on the production line.
Looking back, I would not have wanted it any other way – there was no spoon feeding, no training, I used all the knowledge I gained through my education, applied all my street wisdom and proceeded to tackle the unknown.”
Working with wafers
“The turning point came when I was given the chance to start up the first 200mm Wafer Fab in Singapore as VP of Operations of TECH Semiconductor Singapore Pte. Ltd. I had to learn advanced semiconductor wafer fab engineering from ground zero, but at the same time was given the freedom to build an organisation from scratch. This included appointing all managers, hiring all operations staff, putting in place all policies that were required, as well as hand picking every piece of production equipment.
Later on, I had to convert TECH’s 200mm wafer fab into a 300mm wafer fab without shutting it down. It was never done before and has never been done a second time to this day. We were tight on cash as a company and could not afford the risk of shutting down the fab to convert it. The detailed planning and creative solutions which made this possible were the results of the sheer tenacity and brilliance of every TECH team member who participated.”
My advice for future leaders
“For a leader, important skills include being extremely knowledgeable in the profession you choose, as well as a keen understanding of human nature, basic finance, and the principles of law. On top of these skills, a leader will also need to possess curiosity, courage, tenacity and a genuine care for their people.
If possible, do your best to start your career in the profession that you were trained in. Let your curiosity lead you in your career growth, and find the courage to make the leap when opportunities present themselves.”
LIM YI HUI
DRY ETCH PROCESS OWNER
The commitment displayed during her interview helped her to clinch the job, as it takes at least 6 months for an engineer to learn the ropes of their work.
My company and my job
“Since graduating from NUS two years ago, I have been working for Micron, a leading memory and semiconductor company. Memory is made through a wafer fabrication process where a silicon wafer undergoes eight steps repeatedly for more than 20 cycles before the finished wafer is produced.
Dry etch is one of the eight steps of the process, and I am a dry etch process owner. My main responsibilities include working on yield-and-cycle time improvements and deviation prevention projects for the processes under my care. Currently, I am a part of an exciting team focusing on 3D NAND process optimisation, one of our newest technologies.”
How I got my job
“The entire interview process took about half a day. I was given a logic test, followed by four rounds of interviews with several dry etch managers, and then a final interview was with the fabrication director.
Preparation for the interview was important, but I also had to play up my strengths to set myself apart. I displayed commitment and consistency by citing my CCA record – I was in dance since Primary 1 through to university. Thinking back, displaying commitment during the interview was extremely important as it takes at least 6 months for an engineer to learn the ropes of their work.”
The highs and lows
“I enjoy the autonomy that I am given in my work. There is always room to explore new solutions to existing yield issues, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I succeed. Moreover, I am blessed with helpful colleagues and encouraging supervisors. I also find a sense of belonging to Micron when I get the chance to support events outside of my core role.
I was also ecstatic when I discovered the root cause to a problem and successfully implemented a solution on my own. Knowing that I made a significant contribution to the company created a sense of pride and achievement that was most memorable.
However, being in an extremely fast-paced industry, there is a need to embrace change. I have already gone through three rounds of job responsibility changes, each entailing a steep learning curve and quick adaptation to a new environment.”
Training and support
“My training started off with two weeks of in-classroom training where key practices, concepts, and systems were introduced. Subsequently, I was attached to the dry etch manufacturing team to understand more about their roles, responsibilities, and priorities. The third part was equipment training, where I had the opportunity to witness tool conversions, new tool installations and maintenance activities. Lastly, I was attached to an experienced process owner for 2 weeks for process training.”
“Within dry etch, we occasionally organise after-work activities such as badminton, basketball, and karaoke. Our working hours also vary depending on the urgency of the tasks I have at hand. That said, my supervisors consistently encourage us to leave work on time.”
“Recently, I was tasked to transfer a process from an existing series of equipment to a more advanced series of equipment under an extremely tight timeline. I made the choice to work beyond working hours and on the weekends – which led to the success of the project.
When difficult tasks are presented to you, embrace them and see them as opportunities to excel. Have faith in finding solutions to even the most challenging problems, and you will find them.”
(This article was originally published on GradSingapore.com)
“ I would not have wanted it any other way – there was no spoon feeding, no training, I used all the knowledge I gained through my education, applied all my street wisdom and proceeded to tackle the unknown. ”