Re: Means of production
It's worse than you expect.
SoCs are becoming the norm. Everyone wants the efficiency and cost savings. That means that only very large companies can afford to have the teams to supply all the various functions. (Yeah, buy the IP, sure, and then spend more time trying to integrate it into your design flow and foundry. You're usually better off doing it yourself by the time you've done all that work.)
But the chips are large, thus expensive to fab as well as design, and big companies are generally run by the spreadsheet folks and they refuse to take risks. So you get just a few companies, making very large, very "safe" designs that are just incremental improvements on what's been provided before. So this means that chip guys are just expected to churn out variations of what's been done before. Hardly an exciting prospect.
Then, look at where all the work has gone. For decades the chip companies have been trying to shift jobs to China, India, and the like. Hell, back in the late 90s to about 2010 you couldn't get a VC to even look at a proposal unless you had a plan for a significant number of folks in China or India. They've wised up a bit now, but for several decades anyone considering EE had to look at a shrinking job market with fewer opportunities in the West.
So you're going to do a job that's far tougher than software engineering, that pays less, and that is much, much harder? I'm one of those EEs, and an analog EE at that, so I've done all the Ph.D. level EE and solid state physics stuff. I've also got a degree in software (undergrad), and even I say you'd be nuts to go EE if you find even a modicum of satisfaction writing code.
But I'd also tell you that unless you choose your specialty very, very carefully you'll find a ton of age discrimination in both industries. Neither one likes gray hair unless you're in a field where if it doesn't at least function first time, every time you'll have a tough time finding a job past 40.