Where change is the only constant: The fast-paced and ever-changing nature of
semiconductors makes for an exciting career, says Roxane Desmicht
“The speed of change is enormous – that’s what makes a career in semiconductors so exciting,” says Roxane Desmicht. “If the automotive industry had undergone the same level of technological development, a car would cost only $2 today.”
The analogy rolls off her tongue easily. The VP of Global Supply Chain Management at leading sensor solutions company ams has used it often at career talks across Singapore campuses.
Twenty years in an industry that has taken her from her native France via Shanghai to Singapore, Roxane’s passion is infectious – both for the work she does, and the impact it has.
Self discovery: Roxane (third from the right) and the Global Supply Chain Management team participating in a workshop on insight discovery pre-Covid-19
“I joined the industry because I could see the potential technology could bring to the future,” she says. “While you can always refine the past, with new technology, you can influence the future.”
And it has been gratifying to see how ams technology has had a positive impact on the future, from solutions that help fight the effects of the pandemic to products that advance sustainability.
“Some of our products make the analysis of medical imaging more precise. That means better diagnoses. That’s what ultimately drives me to stay in the industry,” she says. Sometimes, some products make their way back to ams, integrated into downstream applications.
“Some of the devices that we manufacture, we sell to industry automation companies – and then we find them back on our manufacturing shop floor because we use their solutions to make our own manufacturing more efficient,” she says.
Work and play: Connections made in the office extend far beyond it.
Roxane (left) celebrates Christmas with her colleagues
Roxane’s affinity – and passion – for science started at an early age. She excelled at the STEM subjects throughout her studies and career. She had started on fundamental research work in what is now known as quantum computing, when she made an about-turn that would set her on her current career path: “I was missing the ‘market push’,” she explains. “I wanted to do something where I could bring about new products that would have immediate application.”
From a starting position as product engineer and programme manager, Roxane has gone on to explore roles from account management to manufacturing, and now, supply chain management. She also sits on Industrial Engineering faculty advisory committees at NUS, and works with the EDB as an active driver of Industry 4.0 initiatives and supply chain development.
In between, she finds time to talk to students, from secondary schools as well as university, about the semiconductor industry and the potential roles they could play in it.
“Most semiconductor companies in Singapore are integrated companies, so we do the design, manufacturing and selling of the product, and need talent along the whole chain,” she says. This creates a broad range of opportunities career-wise – but also the chance to make an impact.
“I tell them that if there is anything they need to remember from my speech, it is that their lives would be miserable without semiconductors because they are in your mobile phone, your car, your computer… everything that enables modern life is enabled by semiconductors.”
For Roxane, the possibilities the industry offers at the very forefront of technological development are endless – and the pace is never dull.
“You’re not going to be doing the same thing for the next 20 years.”