Semiconductor FAB to TPM ... what is next?

Intel ba19
Oct 30 3 Comments

Hello All,
I have been with intel for 10 years, 8 of which I have been in Fab. I started in Fab as a process engineer and left as an Engineering manager (GL). I had a good path in fab but could not take the WLB and toxic work culture in my late 30s.
I have been doing SW TPM role for a validation group from the last 2 years ( Yes it was hard to jump but I was lucky ). But the problem now is my grade level seems to be the cap for this role and in general, there is not much growth for a PM role in Intel after my grade. So I am trying to think of my next move: Here are the options I am thinking, need some insights and feedback:

Background: Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering ( not much on coding rather on fabrication)
Coding/SW Skill: Overall understand the system and language, but do not have any experience.
Current TC: $220K
Long Term Goal: Senior management/Executive role either in Intel or other tech companies ( FAANG would be best).

• Option 1: ( passion and Interest)- Product Management role in FAANG.I am very passionate about running a product EnE from the business side ( Strategy-EOL).
• Option 2: TPM in a bigger company than Intel ( FAANG, MSFT)?
• Option 3: Become an SDM and then try to jump to FAANG ( Yes, in intel I have seen some SDM who does not have SW background)
. Option 4: Go in the path suggested by blinders here :-)
For each of them I am not sure on:
How to get there?
How is the career path in general for these roles, will it take me to my end goal?
With my background can I pull a TC big enough to live in the Bay area or Seattle?

Any help would be very much appreciated. Open to any other suggestion that is not covered in my options.


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TOP 3 Comments
  • Uber / Eng

    Uber Eng

    I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that Options 1 and 2 sound relatively feasible. The bad news are that option 3 will probably not fly (or at least should not be allowed to fly).

    Also, for PM or TPM roles, you cant just be "a" PM or TPM. You will be successful at only a couple of PM or TPM roles, but perform poorly at all the other ones.

    I have seen PMs, that were successful in bringing cool apps to life, try to add the glamorous AI/ML to their resumes by being PMs and TPMs for ML products fail miserably. In doing so, they lost the trust of the engineers, higher management, and self-esteem. And on that note, don't make a career change because of glamour

    Advice so that you can do #1 or #2:
    1. Choose 4 or 5 techincal things where you are strong.
    2. From those 4 or 5, choose the three where you can do strategy.
    3. Tailor your search and yourself
    4. Get them jobs
    Oct 30 2
    • Intel ba19
      Thank you very much for your insight. Some clarifying questions:
      1. How is the career path on PM or TPM in other companies? I know for in intel at least for TPM it is very hard to go beyond where I am as TPM ( not sure about PM- Product manager).
      2. Will other company will hire in the same seniority level even though I do not have all my experience as PdM or TPM?
      3. Forgot to mention that I am also completing my Executive MBA from a top tier school, will that give an edge?
      Oct 31
    • Uber / Eng

      Uber Eng

      Career paths depend on companies. At some places, the paths are limited, at some others, they can even merge to C-suite.

      2. Your seniority level will be calibrated based on your interviews, portfolio, etc. Anything can happen.

      3. School names help only at the beginning. However, make sure you use that network
      Oct 31


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