With a 21% expected career growth rate between 2018 and 2028, embedded software engineering is more in demand now than ever. In the US alone, it’s expected to generate 284,100 job opportunities.
Embedded engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining embedded systems in products. So if you’re someone who is into all things technology and loves building things, embedded software engineering might just be the career for you.
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To help you understand what an embedded software engineer does and how you can get started, in this article, we’ll cover:
- What does an embedded software engineer do?
- Roles and responsibilities of an embedded software engineer
- How to become an embedded software engineer
- Embedded software engineer interview process
- Embedded software engineer salary
- FAQs on embedded software engineering
What Does an Embedded Software Engineer Do?
Embedded software engineering involves controlling devices and machines (that are different from traditional computers) with the help of software engineering. A typical embedded software includes a variety of programming tools, microprocessors, and operating systems.
An embedded software engineer designs these systems and ensures that they get the desired results. They also carry out product testing to determine whether the systems are working as required and do routine checks and resolve any issues that may occur.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Embedded Software Engineer
When working as an embedded software engineer, your typical duties would include:
- Establishing specifications.
- Working on software bricks or complete products, possibly with security parameters.
- Participating in the implementation of software architecture.
- Carrying out tests on modules and resolving any debugging issues.
- Ensuring that the delivered code is running smoothly.
- Analyzing and monitoring the activity of the embedded systems.
To understand the roles and responsibilities of an embedded software engineer in more detail, read Embedded Systems Engineer Roles and Responsibilities.
How to Become an Embedded Software Engineer
A lot of training, education, experience, and skills are required to become an embedded engineer. To become an embedded software engineer, you’ll need to have certain skills, and we’ve compiled them below, rank-wise:
Entry-level Embedded Systems Engineer Skillset
For entry-level embedded engineering jobs, you’ll need to have:
- A bachelor’s in computer science or engineering
- Experience in C or C++, or both
- Experience with embedded systems development and troubleshooting and real-time operating systems
- Low-level debugging experience
Senior Embedded Systems Engineer Skillset
For embedded software engineers who have over a couple of years of experience, you’ll need all of the qualifications and skills required for the entry-level role plus:
- At the least seven or eight years of experience in embedded systems
- More direct work with a variety of systems, firmware development, and real-time operating systems
Soft Skills Required for an Embedded Systems Engineer Job
Having great technical skills is an important part of becoming a successful embedded software engineer. But while you’re trying to master the technical skills, don’t forget soft skills are just as vital. Some of these soft skills are:
- Analytical skills
- Passion for technology
- Problem-solving skills
- Team player
- Excellent writing and communication skills
- Ability to grasp new things quickly
Some of the most often seen skills in the resumes of people who get hired as embedded software engineers are — analytical skills, communication skills, and creativity. To learn more about the skills required, read Skills Required to Become an Embedded Systems Engineer.
Embedded Software Engineer Interview Process
Before starting your interview prep, be sure to learn about the Embedded Software Engineer interview process. You can expect an initial online assignment followed by some on-site interview rounds. There will be 4-6 on-site rounds, and almost all of them will be technical.
A brief overview of what you can expect from these rounds:
- Online assignment: The initial round might be a 30-minute phone screen or an online assignment. The latter may or may not be optional.
- On-site rounds: After 4-6 independent rounds, all of which will be technical, except for one, which will be a behavioral round.
- Coding rounds: These rounds are generally divided into two categories — the first covers general coding data structures and algorithms, and the second category deals with programming in C, C++, and assembly.
- Behavioral round: This round will help the interviewers determine whether you’ll be a cultural fit for the company or not. Your past experience and skills will be discussed.
If you want to learn more about the embedded software engineer interview process, read Embedded Systems Engineer Interview Process.
Embedded Software Engineer Interview Prep
Embedded software engineer interview questions are usually based on topics such as algorithms, system design, and embedded system concepts. As you start your embedded software engineer interview prep, ensure that you cover the following topics.
- Programming languages
- Data Structure: Arrays, Trees, Stacks, Recursion
- Algorithms: Binary Search, Insertion Sort, Bubble Sort, Selection Sort, Breadth-First Search
- Object-oriented design
System Design Topics:
- Designing complex architecture systems and platforms
- Product features
Embedded Systems Topics:
- Basic electronics: Oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, multimeters for debugging
- Design Patterns: Factory, singleton, observer
- Microprocessor basics: Interrupt processing, assembly code, registers
- Microcontroller basics: DAC, ADC, Timers, DMA, PWM, watchdog
- Memory: NAND, NOR, DRAM, SRAM, wear leveling
- Why do you want to work for us?
For more in-depth information on how you can prepare for your next embedded engineer interview, and some sample interview questions, read Embedded Systems Engineer Interview Prep.
Embedded Software Engineer Salary
On average, an embedded software engineer’s base salary is $81,156. The salary depends on a number of factors such as experience, education, location, and so on. Generally, there are three levels:
- Entry-level embedded systems engineers
- Junior embedded systems engineers
- Senior embedded systems engineers
To learn more about what sort of salary an embedded software engineer makes at different levels and how these levels vary from company to company, read Embedded Systems Engineer Salary.
Gear up and start working on both — technical and soft skills — and start applying!
FAQs on Embedded Software Engineer
Some commonly asked questions about embedded software engineers are:
Q1. How do I become an embedded software engineer?
The steps to becoming an embedded software engineer are pretty much the same as with any other profession — get a bachelor’s degree (in computer science or management information systems), pay extra attention to the relevant coursework (software development, embedded systems, product development, and so on) and get the required certifications.
Q2. Is a career as an embedded software engineer worth it?
Embedded software engineering is a promising career for freshers as well as experienced engineers. Embedded systems play a vital role in the development of new technology, making it a lucrative job role. Further, since they are high in demand, you can expect a pretty good salary.
Q3. What skills are expected in an embedded software engineer?
Some important areas in which an embedded software engineer should have expertise are — C and C++ programming, microcontrollers or MCUs, microprocessors, Linux operating system, and so on.
Q4. Differentiate between a software engineer and an embedded software engineer?
The key difference is that an embedded software engineer interacts more closely with the hardware instead of the software. This means that an embedded engineer might not speak the 1s and 0s directly, but they have complete knowledge of the hardware they’re working with or operating.
Q5. How hard is embedded programming?
Embedded programming needs some time to master. In order to do embedded programming, you don’t just need to know how to program but also be able to deal with proprietary hardware, which is often different from one project to the next.
Ready to Start Prepping for your Next Tech Interview?
If you’re looking for guidance on how to start prepping for your next embedded software engineer interview, then check out our Embedded Software Engineering Interview Course.
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