Given the exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, embedded systems engineers are in high demand at tech companies across the globe, and Google is no exception. Right from handling firmware design and development to coordinating with the product and engineering teams, embedded systems engineers at Google get an incredible opportunity to change how users across the world connect, explore, and interact with information.
But cracking the Google embedded systems engineer interview process is not so easy. Throughout the interview process, you should be able to demonstrate mastery over technical skills and sufficient Googlyness to make the cut.
If you are preparing for a tech interview at Google, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Google? and Google Interview Guide for specific insights and guidance on tech interviews at Google.
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To help you nail the embedded system engineer interview, we will take through :
- What is the role of an embedded systems engineer at Google?
- What skills and qualifications do you need to become an Embedded Systems Engineer?
- Google Embedded Systems Engineer interview process: What to expect
- Google Embedded Systems Engineer sample interview questions
- Tips to crack the Google Embedded Systems Engineer interview
- FAQs on the Embedded Systems Engineer Role at Google
What Is the Role of an Embedded Systems Engineer at Google?
As an embedded systems engineer at Google, you will primarily be responsible for designing, developing, producing, testing, and maintaining embedded systems, otherwise known as a combination of hardware and software that carries out specific tasks.
At Google, embedded systems engineers are responsible for developing new software, hardware, and system architecture to support new applications developed. They often work with a multidisciplinary team of engineers and product designers and assume the role of a tech lead to oversee the entire product life cycle, right from inception to design and production.
In addition to managing, developing, and delivering projects, embedded systems engineers also interface with hardware teams and iterate various software.
Here’s a snapshot of the responsibilities of an embedded systems engineer from a job posted on Google’s website:
- Design, develop, test, deploy, maintain, and improve the software.
- Manage individual project priorities, deadlines, and deliverables.
- Develop and maintain various engineering performance tools used to debug, analyze, and test embedded products.
- Work on lower-level computer systems, computer architecture, embedded systems, and kernel development.
What Skills and Qualifications Do You Need to Become an Embedded Systems Engineer
Experience with both hardware and software is important for any embedded systems engineer. They should be well-versed with programming languages such as C, C++, Assembly Language, and Python and comfortable working with IoT devices such as Google Cloud Platform, Azure, and Watson. \
Knowledge about basic hardware designing with CAD software like AutoCAD or SolidWorks is a bonus. If you are a machine learning engineer or machine learning developer, you have an advantage working as an embedded systems engineer. Machine learning in embedded systems eases the use of data in automated business processes for more educated predictions.
For an entry-level embedded systems engineer, Google is looking for the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in computer science, or equivalent practical experience
- Five years of work experience in consumer electronics/embedded systems design
- Experience with embedded programming in C/C++
- Foundation/experience in computer science, with strong competencies in data structures, algorithms, and software design
- Experience in electronics or software development related to Hardware
- Experience working with processors and GPU programming
- Performance analysis and optimization experience
- Knowledge of embedded systems development, RTOS concepts, device drivers, and hardware/software integration
- Knowledge of ARM or x86 assembly, system BIOS, Linux kernel, device drivers
Obtaining specific certification in the field of embedded systems can help you outshine your peers. Here are some popular ones you can consider:
- CLED (Certified LabView Embedded Systems Developer) from National Instruments.
- CAP (Certified Automation Professional) from ISA.
- Certificate in Embedded Systems Engineering by UCI, Division of Continuing Education.
Google Embedded Systems Engineer Interview Process: What to Expect
Google follows a uniform process for conducting interviews from entry-level to leadership roles, and the embedded system engineer interview is no exception. Every aspiring candidate at Google needs to submit their resume online to apply for a specific job opportunity.
Google recommends applying for only those job listings that match your skills instead of sending a dozen applications. If you are a match for the job you have applied for, you’ll enter the process. Read on to know the various interview rounds you’ll have to take to nail that job:
First Round: Coding Quiz
The first step is clearing an online assessment test which is usually a coding quiz you must complete within 90 minutes.
Google Coding Interview Questions
How to Prepare for the Google Coding Challenge
Second Round: Phone Screen
Once you pass the coding quiz, you will receive a couple of phone or video conversations with the recruiters or a peer on the team, lasting 30-60 minutes.
During this round, the interviewers are keen to know everything on your resume and ask you a coding question that you need to explain in a Google Doc. In other words, they want to know if you have the key skills needed for the role.
Recommended Reading: Google Phone Screen Interview Questions
Third Round: On-site
Finally, it is time for the in-depth rounds. You can expect 4 to 9 segments during this interview round. While they usually happen on-site, currently, Google is conducting all the interviews virtually. Some of these interviews are 1-on-1, while some are panels.
All the questions are open-ended because the hiring managers want to learn more about your problem-solving approach and how your mind works. Google also follows structured interviewing, which means that every candidate is evaluated on the same framework. Whiteboard and coding challenges are common during this round.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for Google's Onsite Interview
Once you finish the interviews, prepare for a long wait as the hiring committee begins the review phase. Each candidate is evaluated based on the feedback submitted after the last round of interviews.
If you make the cut, expect to receive a detailed offer outlining your salary, benefits, and stock options. But the wait is worth it as you also get up to two weeks to decide whether you want to accept the offer or not.
Sample Questions Asked During the Embedded Systems Engineer Interview at Google
Here are some questions to help you kickstart your tech interview prep. Please note that the list is indicative.
- Which is better, a char, short, or int type for optimization?
- How to reduce function call overhead in ARM-based systems?
- What is a pure function in ARM terminology?
- Is Count Down_to_Zero Loop better than Count_Up_Loops?
- How many wires are required to reliably implement TTL-like serial communication between two devices, and why?
- Are firmware and data embedded in microcontrollers generally safe from downloading, tampering, or hacking?
For more questions that you can expect during your interview with Google, click here.
Tips to Crack the Google Embedded Systems Engineer Interview Process
Google receives a deluge of CVs every year, but only a fortunate few clear the interviews and get hired. If you want to be part of that exclusive club, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If you don’t understand any part of the question, feel free to seek clarifications. Google encourages collaboration and sharing of ideas.
- Remember that Google is not for an embedded systems engineer to simply solve the problems they already know the answers to. They are keen to hire those willing to work out the answers to questions they had not come across before. Make sure you demonstrate your problem-solving approach very clearly during the coding challenges to show the interviewer that you are confident to apply new ideas and methods to tackle the problem at hand.
- Don’t just work on your CV. Keep your profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn and Github updated, as hiring managers might look at those while reviewing your CV.
- Practice coding on Google Docs because it is very different from a regular text editor. Since there is no indentation or syntax highlight, it can be nerve-wracking to code. The more practice you get, the better it is.
- Never write pseudo-code to design your code because you won’t have enough time.
Apart from strong qualifications, certifications, technical knowledge, and general cognitive ability, Google also wants you to demonstrate leadership skills, even if you are an entry-level candidate. Read on:
- Show that you have the Googlyness, a combination of intense curiosity, innovativeness, and divergent thinking.
- If you want to ace the Google embedded systems software engineer interview process, ensure that you showcase yourself as someone who can attack problems head-on, take ownership, but also have the humility to give due credit to others who are on the team.
- Action-oriented individuals with strong analytical skills definitely have the edge over others when it comes to cracking the embedded system engineer interview at Google.
FAQs on the Embedded Systems Engineer Role at Google
Q. How much does an embedded systems engineer working at Google make every year?
An Embedded Systems Engineer at Google can earn anywhere between $191K to $1M per year.
Q. What is the difference between an embedded systems engineer and a software engineer at Google?
In addition to coding, embedded engineers also work with hardware and have the responsibility to develop or configure a custom operating system that is unique to the memory map of the device they are working with.
Are You Ready for Your Google Embedded Systems Engineer Interview?
Undoubtedly, the Google Embedded Systems Engineer interview process is a tough one to crack. But like all other tech interviews with grueling coding interview challenges, with a bit of strategic prep, you can crack it and make your dream of working at Google come true.
This is precisely where Interview Kickstart can make a difference in your life. Join Interview Kickstart’s Embedded Software Engineering Interview Course — the first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed specifically for Embedded System Engineers. Click here to learn more about the program.
You’ll get the opportunity to learn from the very best, as you can practice 1-on-1 with tech leads and hiring managers from FAANG+ companies. We have an extremely structured curriculum that focuses on the critical concepts one needs to master to ace the Google embedded systems software engineer interview process.
So get one step closer to your dream, and register for a free webinar.