Article by: Stephen Las Marias
We’re launching our EELife series, which showcases the lighter side of the electronics industry by focusing on the life of an engineer, with Teh Xiao Min, Head of Device Section of STMicroelectronics.
Teh Xiao Min is a device section manager at STMicroelectronics in Singapore. She joined the company in 2002, the same year she graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
At ST, Xiao Min works to improve various manufacturing performance indicators, such as improving Wafer FAB (WFY) yield through scrap analysis and parametric and EWS testing.
“I lead the team on corrective and preventive actions to reduce scrap and improve WFY PPM [parts per million]”, says Xiao Min. She is also working on the parametric reduction of NCL (non-conforming lot) to improve lot on hold (LOH) and cycle time, and to provide quick feedback to Process Engineering/FAB for any potential problem or excursion.
Besides his day-to-day responsibilities, Xiao Min also chairs the iCRB (Internal Change Request Board Review) for managing process change lists, and also participates in new product introduction and industrialization activities.
One of the many things Xiao Min enjoys about her job is that she doesn’t have to work a staggered schedule, which gives her work-life balance. “I can enjoy weekends with my family,” she says.
Regarding work, she finds job satisfaction when they “successfully discover the root cause of a problem and manage to implement a new solution and see the ultimate payoff in parametric and EWS testing.”
Apart from that, carrying out the qualification of new products from start to mass production, with stable output and production, is also a great satisfaction for Xiao Min. “It’s like feeding a baby from newborn to adult,” she says.
But that doesn’t mean she loves every little thing about her job. For example, she notes that applying technical skills is not her forte. Another challenge is always having to use facts and data to convince others in the line that there is something wrong with the machine or the process.
Tips and tricks
During her two-decade career at ST, there are things Xiao Min lives to make her job easier.
“I’ve always believed that sharing is caring. By coaching and mentoring young engineers, we build trust with them,” she says. “Plan, organize and prioritize. Be systematic. Make a to-do list with detailed plans and organize them according to priorities. Set a reasonable time frame for accomplishing your tasks.
Facing the pandemic
When the pandemic hit all markets around the world, most employees except those in the “essential” sector started working from home.
“Working from home is a new experience – it’s the first time I’ve worked at ST in 20 years,” says Xiao Min.
Meanwhile, one of the challenges they faced during the pandemic was the global supply of substrate as well as chemical shortages. “We had to find workarounds to maintain the supply chain,” she notes.
Regarding his career progression, Xiao Min says that carrying out cross-functional projects within the Device team with the participation of other departments, for example, cost reduction projects involving the simplification and streamlining of processes , is an excellent opportunity for professional development because it involves a lot of coordination. and communication, such as tracking status, calendar, and sticking points, to name a few.
But she says she never imagined that one day she would become an engineer. “When I graduated from NUS, I submitted a few resumes to find a job,” says Xiao Min. “The first job offer I received was from ST for a device engineer position. I have been working here ever since. Engineering courses are fun and exciting. This is a broad topic that encompasses many specific areas. You can choose your own area of interest.
Etienne Las Marias is the publisher of EETimes Asia. He can be contacted at [email protected]