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Embedded Systems Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Posted on 
October 14, 2021
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

If you know your way around printed circuit boards and love coding, you can build a promising career in embedded systems engineering in top tech companies, including FAANG+ companies. Embedded systems engineer roles offer lucrative career opportunities and compensation, making them a very popular career path for many software engineers.
If you would like to kick start your embedded systems engineering career in one of the top tech companies, you need to be prepared. Check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Most Popular Back-end Development Languages to Get a Job at FAANG and Latest Trending Software Development Technologies in FAANG for interesting insights on tech interviews.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, software developers, and engineering managers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

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So, what exactly does an embedded systems engineer do? In this article, we will cover:

  • What do embedded system engineers do?
  • Levels of embedded systems engineers at top tech companies
  • Embedded systems engineer job responsibilities
  • Qualifications and skills required for embedded systems engineering jobs at FAANG
  • What is the average salary of an embedded systems engineer?
  • What is an embedded systems engineer’s career path?

What Do Embedded System Engineers Do?

As an embedded software engineer at a FAANG company, you will be at the forefront of pioneering, developing, and building avant-garde technologies that will potentially change the way people interact with each other. Embedded systems engineers are expected to be versatile and possess certain leadership qualities that prepare them for taking on challenges in this role. 

Levels of Embedded Systems Engineers at Top Tech Companies

Typically, there are three levels of embedded systems engineers: 

  1. Entry-level embedded systems engineers: Embedded systems engineers who are just starting in the field. You may need little or no work experience in embedded systems for this level.
  2. Junior embedded systems engineers: Engineers with some experience working with embedded systems.
  3. Senior embedded systems engineers: Engineers with considerable experience working with embedded systems.

Your embedded systems engineer salary band will depend on the level you are at. Here are the embedded systems engineer levels at the top tech companies:

  1. Levels of embedded systems engineers at Facebook: E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, E8
  2. Levels of embedded systems engineers at Amazon: SDE I (L4), SDE II (L5), SDE III (Senior SDE), Principal SDE (L7), Senior Principal SDE (L8), Distinguished Engineer (L10)
  3. Levels of embedded systems engineers at Apple: ICT2, ICT3, ICT4, ICT5, ICT6
  4. Levels of embedded systems engineers at Google: Software Engineer II (L3), Software Engineer III (L4), Senior Software Engineer (L5), Staff Software Engineer (L6), Senior Staff Software Engineer (L7), Principal Engineer (L8), Distinguished Engineer (L9), Google Fellow (L10), Senior Google Fellow (L11)
  5. Levels of embedded systems engineers at Microsoft: SDE (59), 60, SDE II (61), 62, Senior SDE (63), 64, Principal SDE (65), 66, 67, Partner (68), 69, 70 (Distinguished Engineer), 80 (Technical Fellow)

Embedded Systems Engineer Job Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of an embedded software engineer are:

  • To engineer and build products that contribute to the company’s products and services ecosystem.
  • To help develop new technology tools that solve human problems and can be integrated into daily life easily. 
  • To design and develop superfast data center networks.
  • Designing, developing, testing, deploying, maintaining, and improving system software.
  • Managing your project priorities and deliverables.
  • Developing and maintaining performance measurement tools used by the company for debugging, analyzing, and testing embedded products.
  • Working on computer architecture, lower-level computer systems, embedded system products, and kernel development.
  • Analyzing and enhancing the efficiency, scalability, and stability of system resources.
  • Supporting software quality analysis and optimizing I/O performance.
  • Providing post-production support to clients.
  • Interfacing with the hardware design and development team for seamless integration and execution of the project.

Pro tip: When preparing for the role of an embedded systems engineer, work around the moonshot approach. A moonshot approach is driven by the desire to break new ground in the tech industry. It is based on the concept of 10× thinking and inspired by former President John F. Kennedy's successful mission to land a man on the moon.

How Is the Role of an Embedded Engineer Different From a Software Engineer?

The role of an embedded systems engineer revolves around coding, debugging, testing, and writing corresponding documentation, pretty much like software engineers and developers. But unlike software engineers, the work of embedded systems engineers is primarily associated with hardware. They also often work on developing or configuring custom operating systems unique to the hardware and memory map of the device they have designed. Embedded systems engineers must also factor in safety measures in their products. For example, the embedded system of a car's brake system needs added attention to make it secure and failsafe.

Embedded systems engineers work on highly customized devices. Unlike software engineering, embedded systems are not a standard platform where a wealth of pre-written code (libraries) is available at hand for a developer to use by adding some more lines of glue code. Most embedded systems are custom-made, which means that a typical embedded systems project requires a high percentage of fresh code, which implies more development time and skills.

Qualifications and Skills Required for Embedded Systems Engineer Jobs at FAANG

The following are some of the standard qualifications that recruiters at FAANG and other Tier-1 tech companies seek when hiring embedded systems engineers:c

  • A bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering, a related technical field, or equivalent practical experience
  • Knowledge of hardware and software architecture and debugging
  • Experience in working with consumer electronics or embedded systems design
  • Experience in writing software in C or C++
  • Experience in working with embedded environments, schematics, trace, and board-level debugging

What Skills Does an Embedded Systems Engineer Need? 

Here are some of the skills you need to become an embedded systems engineer:

  • Software development: C, C++
  • Information retrieval
  • Distributed computing
  • Large-scale system design
  • Networking and data storage
  • System security
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Natural language processing
  • UI design and mobile development

Sign up for our webinar to learn more about what embedded system engineers do and how you can crack the interview!

What Is the Average Salary of an Embedded Systems Engineer?

According to Levels.fyi, the salary of an embedded systems engineer is quite lucrative. The average base salary for an embedded systems engineer is $124,000 per year. It is a fixed part of the compensation and is paid to the engineer irrespective of their or the company’s performance.

The average bonus offered is $6,000 per annum. This component is linked to an embedded systems engineer's performance and is determined based on performance review. It usually differs from engineer to engineer, even in the same salary band.

The average stock grant/profit-sharing offered to embedded systems engineers is $17,000. These are Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) issued to employees. Once vested, they can be traded freely.

The total average compensation of an embedded systems engineer in the United States is $147,000 per year.

To give you an idea of how salaries vary with levels, here’s a breakdown of embedded systems engineer salaries based on seniority at Google:

Want to learn how to negotiate a higher salary package? Experts and recruiters from FAANG+ companies at Interview Kickstart will teach you how to leverage your skills to up your negotiating power. Sign up for Interview Kickstart’s FREE webinar to learn more!

‍What Is an Embedded Systems Engineer’s Career Path?

The career path of an embedded systems engineer depends on the kind of projects you have been a part of and your work experience. The role of an embedded systems engineer has evolved over the years and is still in the process of transforming. Embedded systems engineers often come from a variety of backgrounds and may have started their embedded systems role at different points in their careers.

In a FAANG+ company, the embedded systems engineer career progression can look something like this: 

Embedded Systems Engineer I Embedded Systems Engineer II → Senior Embedded Systems Engineer → Staff Embedded Systems Engineer → Senior Staff Embedded Systems Engineer → Principal Embedded Systems Engineer

As an embedded systems engineer who is just starting, you can choose to take any of these career paths:

  • Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer
  • Embedded Architect
  • Project Engineer
  • Sales Engineer
  • Program Management
  • Marketing Director

How to Crack an Embedded Systems Engineer Engineer Interview

A typical embedded systems engineer interview at FAANG+ companies looks like this:

Nailing an embedded systems engineer interview at any FAANG company will require mastering the art of coding interviews and behavioral interviews. Read Embedded Systems Engineer Interview Prep to understand the topics and types of questions you can expect. 

Uplevel Your Interview Prep

If you need a guide to take your tech interview prep to the next level, join Interview Kickstart’s Embedded Software Engineering Interview Coursea first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed specifically for embedded systems engineers.

IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview!

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