The rise of embedded software engineering
Although embedded software is a relatively new phenomenon, it is already being used in numerous products. Whilst the use of automated, inbuilt software if often used in complex machines, such as vehicles and planes, companies are also using embedded software to enhance consumer products.
Due to this, there has been a continual need for talented embedded software engineers over the last decade. As technology continues to develop, the widespread need for expert engineers is only set to increase.
With artificial intelligence and embedded software giving rise to a whole new era of transport and communication, embedded software engineers are likely to be the driving force behind the majority of new products.
Indeed, it is embedded software which is facilitating the development of previously unseen technologies and products, such as driverless cars.
For engineers with existing experience in this new form of technology or computer software engineers looking to specialise in a niche area, embedded software is likely to bring numerous opportunities in upcoming years. Whilst embedded software offers a new and challenging sector for specialist engineers, the rise of the industry will also ensure that the sector provides a bountiful job market and enviable remuneration packages.
1. What is embedded software engineering?
Whilst software is a familiar concept when used on computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly prevalent in other products as well. Although embedded software is a form of computer software, it is used on alternative types of machinery and products.
As the term embedded implies, this software is built into products in order to provide a better user experience. Whilst embedded software is used in relatively simplistic form on some products, such as digital watches and clocks, it is also used in far more complex modalities. The automotive and aerospace industries, for example, regularly incorporate embedded software into vehicles and planes.
It is clear, therefore, that embedded software has significant capabilities. Without the need for human interaction, this type of software has revolutionised product design and functionality.
As a result, product designers and manufacturers are adding increasingly advanced forms of embedded software to new products and revolutionising older products by adding this new form of technology to existing designs.
2. Do you have computer software engineering experience?
Prior to the introduction of embedded software, engineers worked solely in the IT field. Whilst some software engineers may work on company or industry specific software, the product was designed to be used only on computers.
However, as the use of embedded software increases, there are more career options available to traditional software engineers. Whilst the computer software market may potentially become flooded with engineers, professionals with expertise in niche areas, such as embedded software engineering, will continue to be in demand.
If you’re currently operating as an in-house or independent software engineer, gaining experience in embedded software engineering could be the ideal way to increase your skill-set and get connected with the top employers.
3. What sectors offer the best jobs for embedded software engineers?
Due to the increasing use of embedded software, specialist engineers are certainly in demand. With embedded software being used in numerous industries, more and more companies are requiring experienced and competent engineers.
Although embedded software engineering is a specialism in itself, there are many variations within the sector. Due to this, IT professionals may wish to build their careers around one particular industry and its needs. Automotive embedded software engineering, for example, may require a different skill-set to embedded software engineering for use in missiles and projectiles.
In the last decade alone, the rise in embedded software has been prolific. Whilst electronics were once sparingly used in vehicles, for example, the automotive industry now relies on embedded software for a variety of functions, such as operating systems, safety features and onboard supercomputers.
Furthermore, the continual need for upgrades and new software means that engineers will have the opportunity to build on-going client relationships if they choose to work as a freelancer, rather than as an employee.
With product designers and manufacturers already using a variety of embedded software in consumer vehicles, even relatively basic car models require the services of embedded software engineers, both in the design and manufacturing stage. Used to increase travel safety and vehicle functionality, there will be numerous opportunities for engineers who wish to work on embedded software on products which are already reaching the market.
For engineers who want to focus on developing technologies, however, the automotive industry will provide a wide range of opportunities. The evolution of driverless vehicles, for example, is perhaps the most notable use of embedded software. Should embedded software engineers facilitate the on-going development of these vehicles, they are likely to be responsible for the biggest technological shift in a generation.
4. Honing your skills
If you choose to develop your career as a software engineer, you’ll want to ensure that you hone the right skills and gain relevant industry experience. Whilst embedded software engineering is likely to affect all industries in the near future, the automotive industry provides a wide range of opportunities for engineers.
When embedded software is used in consumer products, designers may require patented software, developed in accordance with a unique specification. This can mean that embedded software engineers will need to be fluent in a wide range of programming languages and have experience in multiple formats.
However, as the standard automotive supply chain is already complex enough, most manufacturers adopt the same standards-based approach when it comes to embedded software.
Whilst the role can still be challenging and rewarding, embedded software engineers in the automotive industry can work on numerous projects, for various companies, without the need to continually adapt to various in-house specifications.
In the evolving medium of embedded software engineering, this standards-based approach means that the automotive industry is seen as one of the top employers.
Furthermore, the advanced use of embedded software in the automotive industry has resulted in many other sectors attempting to emulate their use of the new technology. For engineers with experience in the automotive industry, this could be indicative of an increased demand for their particular skill-set. Should automotive embedded software engineers want to explore other sectors, their experience will give them the opportunity to design, develop, teach and project manage.
5. Increasing security with embedded software
Whilst the benefits of embedded software mean that they will continue to be used across industries, once the products, and, therefore, the software, is on the market, companies must be vigilant about security and the potential of hacking.
Due to this, embedded software engineers will have the opportunity to design, develop and improve software on a long-term basis, if they choose to. Whilst potential security threats may be onerous for businesses, the on-going development required to negate the threat lengthens the software development lifecycle and effectively guarantees work for engineers.
With traditional products continually being replaced with new electronic designs, the scope of embedded software engineering is vast. As companies strive to offer the latest technologies to consumers, there will be a continual need for talented embedded software engineers. Indeed, the increasing use of this technology may mean that engineers will be able to pick and choose the projects they work on, with a continuous work stream providing a reliable income.
6. Is embedded software engineering a full-time role?
The upsurge in demand for embedded software has resulted in numerous job opportunities becoming available. Whilst many companies require full-time, in-house engineers, there are also opportunities for independent contractors who wish to build or enhance their career network.
With the embedded software skill-set in high demand, experienced independent contractors are likely to have the opportunity to work with numerous businesses on a variety of projects. Similarly, engineers who prefer to work in-house may receive a significant number of job opportunities and may be headhunted due to their expertise.
Whilst computer software engineering is a highly skilled area, embedded software engineering requires an advanced skill-set and is therefore seen as a niche area. Although a significant number of businesses are realising the importance of embedded software in their products, many have yet to implement the new technology.
It is expected, therefore, that the growth of embedded software will increase exponentially. As consumers have adapted to the addition of electronics to almost every product, companies must strive to deliver more effective models with increased functionality, improved design and more secure software.
If engineers choose to specialise in embedded software now, they are likely to benefit from the growth of the industry and reap the rewards of a new technological era.
The success of any career, however, depends on effective networking and this is true of embedded software engineering too. Whilst individuals want to work for the best employers, companies are looking for top talent too.
In order to secure the ideal job or be commissioned to manage a new project, independent contractors need to be visible within the marketplace. In addition to this, engineers who get connected and endorsed are likely to receive additional attention.
Whilst developing your expertise and gaining experience are vital to performing well as an embedded software engineer, you will only have the opportunity to work in the industry if you build an effective hiring network.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get connected with top employers and recruiters with Endorsed. Whether you want to receive direct job offers for in-house positions or promote your services as an independent contractor, Endorsed provides the ideal platform for you to create your network.