Most of the electronic devices around us contain a processor with some embedded software. Unlike desktop computers, which can be programmed to do any general-purpose task, these embedded systems do highly focused and specific jobs. The market for embedded systems is quite big. Increasing sales of consumer electronics goods, telecom/ networking market and growth in the use of portable/wireless products globally are driving the growth of the semiconductor design industry.
If you have a creative and innovative bent of mind, a career in embedded systems can be extremely rewarding. The industry offers a variety of jobs in the areas of chip design, applications engineering, product and test engineering, systems design and embedded software development. The positions in these job families range from the role of a technical individual contributor to technical lead position to an engineering management role.
Available Career Options
Embedded engineers write the software that controls the overall system. Embedded software can be any code which interacts with the hardware layer, ranging from the hardware abstraction layer, device drivers, kernel programming to application programming.To take up embedded software development as career, you need to have a working knowledge of C, C++ and Java, with some exposure to application software development. If you have already done some programming for an embedded system, you can expand your horizons by broadening your skill sets. Embedded software is being developed using a variety of embedded and real-time operating systems, such as embedded NT, Windows CE and RTLinux. In addition, a variety of development tools and IDEs for C, C++ and Java are available. You need to learn application development in these various environments.
To be a successful programmer, you need a good understanding of design alternatives—how to choose a processor, an operating system, a programming language so that you can develop cost-effective, reliable embedded software with minimal development time. As many of the systems become network enabled, a working knowledge of network programming is also important. Also, you need to be aware of the diversity of application areas and the specific requirements of each.
As a hardware/board designer, you could work on reference board design, new board design, and board design derivatives and modifications on existing boards. Reference boards are used to validate the capabilities of designed silicon chips. The embedded hardware designer is responsible for hardware design schematic , PCB layout, BOM creation, hardware board debugging and testing, and system integration testing. Desired skills are hardware design using 8-/16-/32-bit microcontrollers, microprocessor-based systems, design of medium-frequency boards, hardware design of analogue , mixed signal and digital, and understanding/ implementation of the EMI and EMC concepts to hardware design.
Some of the major recruiters in this sector are Texas Instruments (TI), STMicroelectronics, Intel, Freescale Semicondcutor, Honeywell, Delphi, Huawei, Tata Elxsi, Bosch, Mistral, LG Electronics, Samsung, Microchip Technology, eInfochips, Serveen, ATS, Sankhya Technologies, Bluefont, Intoto, Wind River and DCM Technologies.
“ In the embedded industry, the jobs exist in the early phases of product life cycle like design, verification and validation, architecture support, functional test and rapid control prototyping,” adds Solaikutty Dhanbal, manager, NI India Academics.
Marc McComb, academic program sales engineer, Microchip Technology Inc., elaborates, “As new technologies emerge, embedded systems are being integrated into more products. Therefore engineering students with knowledge related to embedded systems will find that their skills will become increasingly valuable to a number of different sectors including, but not limited to, automotive, medical, consumer electronics, aerospace, military, and much more. Also, the current trend in the industry seems to be expanding the applications that utilise embedded systems. With India’s wealth of engineering talent, I believe manufacturers will take advantage of this and continue to hire from this region. ”
There is a need of embedded engineers across verticals in R&D, automotive, telecom infrastructure to engineer the LTE devices, base stations etc. Apart from these, embedded engineers are much in demand in the consumer space as well as in the gaming industry also.
So dig out all the possibilities to get a practical exposure and make sure the fundamentals are clear. Finally, your future is in your hands.