Embedded Software Engineering is the process of applying software engineering to operate several devices and machines that are not traditional computers. Embedded systems are developed by combining software engineering with non-computer hardware. They also require a wide range of programming tools, microprocessors and operating systems.
An embedded software engineer helps design, develop, and maintain embedded systems in products. An embedded engineer knows the schematics of hardware and how chip datasheets relate to the code written for them.
The primary goal of embedded software is to operate and manage a hardware device. Therefore, embedded engineering, performed by embedded software engineers, must tailor to the needs of the hardware that it has to control.
Hence, even if embedded software developers work on PCs, their programme does not operate on PCs; it works on other platforms.
Embedded software developers, for instance, flash their binary executable files on an electrical circuit board. They do this through the use of debugging tools or specialised ports.
A professional in this field will go from an embedded software engineer to a senior embedded software engineer to a Principal embedded software engineer during their career.
Medical science, consumer electronics, manufacturing science, aviation, and automotive technology are common applications for embedded systems. Almost anything, from toasters and flashlights to smartwatches, digital TVs, microwaves and electronic control units in cars, has embedded software in it.
How to Become an Embedded Software Engineer
Anyone who wants to work as an embedded systems engineer must first learn certain fundamental abilities. For instance, you will need to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or a similar discipline.
Some embedded systems engineering professions may only require a bachelor’s degree; although it may be beneficial to obtain a more advanced degree, such as a master’s or PhD degree. These more advanced programmes provide extra possibilities for important skill development. They provide you with a competitive advantage in the job market. They also help you get higher-paying jobs or positions with better salaries.
Earning professional certifications in the field of embedded systems engineering as some projects may require an additional level of certification. Example of such certification includes;
- A Certified LabVIEW Embedded Systems Developer (CLED)
- Certified Automation Professional (CAP)
- Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)
Skills Required of an Embedded Software Engineer
- Master resource management and allocation: You will have to think about how much of your hardware resources, such as the RAM, ROM and CPU cycles is using. These have to be used as efficiently as possible and allocated into the right places.
- Technical Skills: Mastering C OR C++, Rust, and Python, as well as an assembly language as a programming language is a must for embedded software engineers.
- Technical Writing: A significant portion of the job is providing comprehensive technical documentation. Skill in research grant writing is also a plus, though usually not a requirement.
- Data Analysis: The engineer should be able to manage, process, and analyze large volumes of technical data using programs like Microsoft Excel and MATLAB.
- Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS): An RTOS is meant to serve real-time so that system will handle immediately as they come. As an embedded engineer, you will need to have expert knowledge of any of the RTOS’s. Popular RTOS are LynxOS , OSE , QNX and RTLinux.
- Internet of Things Proficiency: Familiarity with the internet of things frameworks and platforms is another plus. Some examples include Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Watson.
- Hardware Design: An embedded systems engineering role may also require the design of specialized hardware in programs such as computer-aided design (CAD).
- Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills: Successful engineers will be able to clearly understand the functions necessary from their systems and address any obstacles or roadblocks that arise during development.
- Project Management: Success in this field will require the engineer to stay organized and balance different priorities and projects while still meeting important deadlines.
- Teamwork and Leadership: In most cases, the engineer will work with a team of other engineers and, in some cases, may rise to a leadership position in that team. Therefore the ability to collaborate is key.
Can an embedded engineer work as a freelancer or remotely?
Yes, an embedded software engineer can work both as a freelancer or remotely. Flexible work timings, 100% remote working including onsite 1-3 days per week options can be offered to an embedded software engineer. You will, however, need to build a high tech network to be able to work as a freelancer.
Technical requirement of embedded engineers across all levels
The following are the skillset abilities need for each level of embedded engineers.
- Embedded systems engineer skillset: This is an entry-level. An inexperienced embedded engineers can take up this role. The job typically require:
- At least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, robotics, electrical engineering or electrical and computer engineering.
- Programming experience in C or C++, or both
- Some experience in embedded systems development and troubleshooting and with real-time operating systems
- Some debugging experience
- Senior embedded systems engineer skills: This title is given to engineers who have more than five years of professional experience. The job often require:
- All of the education and experience of embedded systems engineers
- At least seven or eight years of experience in embedded systems, with more direct work in a range of systems, firmware development, and real-time operating systems
- Principal embedded systems engineer expertise: This title is for the most experienced embedded engineers. These jobs often will require:
- All of the education and experience of a senior embedded systems engineer
- Typically, at least ten years of experience as an embedded systems designer, including designing embedded systems.
Embedded Software Engineer Salary
The average embedded software engineer salary in the USA is $112,500 per year or $57.69 per hour. Entry level positions start at $97,500 per year while most experienced workers make up to $142,522 per year.
In Canada, the average embedded software engineer salary is $89,528 per year or $45.91 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $77,500 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $111,930 per year.
The average embedded software engineer salary in the United Kingdom is £47,500 per year or £24.36 per hour. Entry level positions start at £40,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to £65,000 per year.