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Top Questions You Should Learn to Crack the Embedded Software Engineer Interview

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Demand for embedded software engineers has seen steady growth over the last few years. Devices with embedded microprocessors exist across industries in a large variety of products. This has been driving demand for software engineers with specialized tech skills upwards. 

Tech companies vying for a share of the market are always looking for skilled talent. With many software engineers trying to cash in on great opportunities at FAANG and other leading tech companies in the embedded systems field, you’ll need a hiring edge to land the role of an embedded software engineer at your dream company.

The best way to prepare for a FAANG software engineer interview is to upskill and become the kind of embedded software engineer leading tech companies would love to hire. Being well-versed in the top embedded software engineer interview questions can give you vital insights on the topics you’ll need to know to land the role you want. 

If you’re preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! 

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed 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!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

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In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What Interviewers Look for in an Embedded Software Engineer 
  2. Technical Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions
  3. Behavioral Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions
  4. Google Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions
  5. FAQs on Embedded Software Engineer Interviews

What Interviewers Look for in an Embedded Software Engineer

Embedded software engineer interview questions will depend on what the interviewer is looking for based on the role and company requirements. Interviewers will primarily try to uncover if you have the required skills to function as an embedded software engineer. Additionally, they will assess your skill level and whether you are a good cultural fit for the company.

Role of an Embedded Software Engineer

An embedded software engineer develops code optimized for an embedded system to manage a hardware device. In other words, embedded software is developed and used for a particular hardware system or platform, keeping end-user needs in mind. User needs vary depending on the industry or product purpose.

Skill Requirements of an Embedded Software Engineer

Embedded software engineer interview questions will be largely based on embedded software engineering skills. Here are some key skills requirements:

  • Programming language expertise: C, C++, C#, Python
  • Assembly Programming Language
  • Real-time Operating Systems (RTOS)
  • MATLAB
  • ARM
  • Software and Hardware programming at a low level
  • Tensorflow, Linux, RISC-V, Zephyr; other open source technologies
  • System of Chip (SoC) level software optimization - how to optimize memory, performance, and power
  • Microcontrollers, latest MCUs, and Microprocessors
  • System-level designing
  • Software development
  • Communication Protocols: SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface), 12C, GPIO (General Purpose Input Output), USB, Controller Area Network (CAN)
  • Device Drivers
  • Debugging 
  • Interrupt-driven design
  • IoT technologies
  • Data Structures
  • Project Management
  • Trouble-shooting
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical thinking

Embedded software engineer interview questions will be devised to discover your expertise in one or more key skills. Interviewers will also look for knowledge of both hardware and software design and embedded systems. 

Embedded systems are being adopted at an increasing rate in various industries. As such, embedded software technologies are ever-evolving. Ensure you stay updated on the latest skills and developments in this field to gain a competitive edge.

Take a look at some Embedded Software Engineer Interview Prep Tips here.

Technical Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

Technical interview questions for embedded software engineers will vary depending on the role and the interviewer. Some common questions are:

  • Explain embedded systems
  • Explain spin lock
  • Explain virtual memory
  • Explain inline functions
  • Explain buses in communication
  • Explain the troubleshooting process for embedded targets
  • Explain the process of debugging a system that goes blank
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  • Differentiate between component-based design and object-oriented design
  • Differentiate between mutexes and semaphores
  • Name some code testing tools
  • Name some of the latest technologies
  • How would you reduce interrupt latency?
  • How are timers used in embedded systems? Explain Watchdog Timer
  • What are model transformations?
  • Why would you need DMAC in ES?
  • Would you debug ISR using breakpoints?
  • Why do segmentation fault errors occur?
  • Write a program using the power-save super loop.
  • Which software configuration tools are you aware of?

C, C++, Embedded C Software Engineer Interview Questions

In your embedded software engineer interview, you can be asked specific questions on C, C++, and Embedded C, such as:

  1. Explain the different qualifiers in C
  2. Explain the use of ‘Volatile’ in Embedded C
  3. How do you code an infinite loop in C?
  4. How many storage classes are there in C?
  5. How do you write Function Itoa() in C?
  6. Why is a void pointer used in Embedded C?
  7. Why is C++ popularly used in embedded firmware development?

Coding, Data Structure, Algorithm Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

These questions stated below are similar to the software engineer interview questions on coding, algorithms, and data structures. You can practice these for your embedded software engineering interview.

  1. Questions on basic sorting and searching
  2. Differentiate between bubble sort and quicksort
  3. Questions on linked lists: How would you test for a loop in a linked list?
  4. How would you use a binary search algorithm without recursion?
  5. Write code to perform a level order search in a binary tree
  6. Can you use Union in Structure?
  7. Differentiate between Structure and Union

Bit Manipulation Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

In your embedded software engineer interview, you can expect questions on bit manipulation. Here are some sample questions:

  1. Add two integers using & and ^
  2. Reverse bits of a given 32 bits unsigned integer
  3. Find the single element that does not appear thrice in a given array of integers
  4. For a given number, find the number of ones in its binary representation
  5. Given nums=[0, 1, 3] return 2

Microcontroller Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

Microcontrollers are an important topic that you can expect questions on at your embedded software engineer interview. Take a look at the sample questions below:

  1. Can microcontrollers benefit from generic RTOS?
  2. Can a microcontroller be more advantageous than a microprocessor?
  3. How will you ensure the safety of microcontroller embedded data? 
  4. What is an ARM microcontroller?
  5. What is an 8501 microcontroller?

RTOS Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

In your embedded software engineering interview, you may be asked questions specifically on real-time operating systems. Learn the concepts, types, and features of RTOS used in embedded systems. Some sample questions are:

  1. Differentiate between RTOS and other OS
  2. Explain non-reentrant code
  3. Name some RTOS used in embedded systems
  4. What are the main features of Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS)?
  5. What kind of scheduling does RTOS use?

Behavioral Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

Behavioral questions are an essential part of embedded software engineering interviews. Behavioral questions will test your soft skills. They are usually situation-based to check your response to critical situations. These are some questions you can practice:

  1. Describe an embedded software project you are proud of
  2. How do you stay abreast of the latest embedded software engineering technologies and trends?
  3. Why did you choose to become an embedded software engineer?
  4. What is your approach to software design?
  5. What is your take on the company’s future and the embedded software market?
  6. Tell me about a time your colleagues disagreed with your solution to a problem. How did you resolve it?
  7. Describe when you used a creative, innovative approach to devise a solution.

Here’s a more detailed list of Behavioral Interview Questions for software engineers.

Google Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

The embedded engineer interview at Google comprises multiple on-site interviews, about four rounds of interviews. Below are the types of embedded software engineer interview questions that may be asked at Google. This may vary depending on your overall years of experience.

  • Round 1: Embedding programming concepts, architectural-level problem-solving
  • Round 2: Assembly language programming, computer memory hierarchy, and architecture, coding in C
  • Round 3: Profile discussion, Algorithm development concepts, dynamic programming
  • Round 4: Algorithm development, dynamic programming

Embedded software engineer interview questions can vary in complexity and difficulty depending on whether you’re applying for an entry-level embedded software engineer position or a senior embedded software engineer position. Cover all key topics related to the position, ensuring you have strong conceptual knowledge and the latest technologies. 

Learn more about Google’s Embedded System Engineer Interview, including sample questions.

FAQs on Embedded Software Engineer Interview Questions

Q1. How hard are embedded software engineer interview questions at FAANG?

FAANG interviews are highly competitive, and the embedded software engineer interview is no exception. Questions asked will aim to identify software engineers with deep knowledge and strong skills. You should be very clear about which position you are interviewing for at FAANG for an embedded software engineering role.

Q2. What should I consider for the coding embedded software engineer interview questions?

Some aspects to consider are proper compiler optimization, time and space requirements, the underlying hardware, code resilience, bit manipulation, efficient memory references, and data size optimization.

Q3. How can I prepare to answer embedded software engineer interview questions?

Begin your preparation well in advance and understand the role you’re applying for, as well as the company and its products. Develop your resume to showcase the right skills. Develop the right embedded software engineering tech skills by following a structured learning methodology. By enhancing your knowledge and upskilling, you can become a confident engineer who can easily answer embedded software engineering interview questions. Mock interviews are also a great way to prepare effectively for the interview.

Q4. How different are embedded software engineer interview questions from software engineer interview questions?

Embedded software engineer interview questions assess your understanding of software and hardware topics. Software engineer interview questions focus on software topics. However, there is an overlap between the two since software engineer interview questions on coding, algorithms, data structures, etc., are also asked during the embedded engineering interview. 

Q5. Which programming languages do embedded systems use?

C and C++ are generally used to develop code for embedded software. Other languages used are JavaScript and Python for microcontrollers. Assembly languages are also used.

Prepare for Your Next Tech Interview

As with software engineer interview questions, utilizing a structured approach to upskill is the best way to prepare for embedded software engineer interview questions. 

At Interview Kickstart, we have helped thousands of engineers upskill and uplevel their careers. Our technical interview prep courses, designed and taught by FAANG hiring managers and tech leads, have delivered stellar results to our alums, helping many of them land lucrative offers from FAANG+ companies.

Check out our Embedded Software Engineering Interview Course to learn how to prepare for and nail software engineering interviews at FAANG and Tier 1 tech companies.

Learn all about our interview prep courses and learning methodology by signing up for our FREE webinar now!

WEBINAR +LIVE Q&A

How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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