Embedded Software Engineering jobs and careers

Software that is embedded into a device or system to control its functions is known as Embedded Software Engineering. It requires the engineer to have a creative way of thinking as often these devices have a number of constraints such as limited processing power, or memory constants. The goal and aim is to make sure that the software operates as effectively and independently from other systems.

Why consider a career as an Embedded Software Engineer?

A career in embedded software engineering exposes you to an array of amazing industries. Your work can have you working on life-saving medical devices, including the creation of bionic limbs, neonatal monitors, and home-care systems. You can work with subsea technologies – mapping the seabed floor, or you can contribute to space exploration and the drones that look on from above. If you enjoy seeing an end product, embedded software engineering allows you to contribute to devices that have real-world impact. Not only this, but embedded software engineering is a skill that is in high demand, affording you the opportunity to explore industries with a prized and cutting-edge skill-set.

What a job or career in Embedded Engineering may entail…

As an Embedded Software Engineer, you will be software engineering on a hardware device – often refered to as a MCU or Microcontroller unit. You will review requirements, solve problems, and implement systems. Alongside this you will innovate existing tech – and detail potential improvements. As you will need to consider both the software and the hardware constraints, you will also liaise with hardware engineers to collectively resolve issues. In some industries that are built on reliability and safety (such as aerospace) you will be required to conform to safety standards – and pay close and critical attention to detail.

As a senior – you will have a mix of hands-on design, innovation, debugging, and leadership. You will often be charged with liaising with senior management the existing issues with tech – and the ways in which the team can push the technology forward. You will often also be charged with leading and mentoring the more junior engineers amongst you. Depending on your company – you may also be tasked with compiling and presenting on the current state of your device – and how you intend to take it forward.

Typical role titles include

C/C++ Software Engineer
Embedded Application Engineer
Embedded Architect
Embedded Software Engineer
Embedded Linux Engineer
Firmware Architect
Firmware Engineer
FPGA Engineer
FPGA Architect
IoT Engineer
IoT Architect
Middleware Engineer

Career progression example

Junior Embedded Software Engineer
Embedded Software Engineer
Senior Embedded Software Engineer
Embedded Software Engineering Manager

Salary and Day Rate Benchmarks

Here, we aim to provide an overall range of day rates and salaries.
There are always factors to consider when assigning a day rate and salary to a role, such as the skill demand, location, complexity, level of responsibility as well as what other benefits are on offer, such as remote working. It’s also worth noting that the ‘number of years’ of experience is not an ideal measure. However, as a general guide, it should provide some ballparks and pointers…

Salaries
At an entry level, Junior Embedded Software Engineers expect to be paid between £35k – £45k. This often comes down to specialty, location, and whether you pursued a masters.

At the mid-level, engineers normally sit between £45k and £55k. Seniors normally earn between £45k and £70k. Principals are normally £75k and up.

Day Rates
At an entry-level, for a junior/graduate, a typical day rate would be around the £250 mark, at the mid-level around the £450 mark and seniors can expect a day rate of £550+ as a benchmark.

Is it right for me? The skills it takes…

The following technologies and skills often appear on job descriptions;

C/C++, Embedded C, Embedded C++, Microcontrollers, ARM, PIC, Texas Instruments, Linux, Windows CE, Unix, freeRTOS, RTOS, VxWorks, Embedded Linux, safeRTOS, Communication Protocols, RS232, RS485, SPI, UART, I2C, Real Time Operating Systems, Firmware, WiFi, BLE, ZigBee, LoRaWaN, Sigfox, M2M, IoT.

What qualifications does it take?

Often clients will look for you to hold a Bsc in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Computer Science, or Physics. Otherwise they will look for candidates who have undertaken an apprenticeship related to the field. Some candidates make the move from computer science in embedded software engineering through industry experience and/or conversion courses. A technical background – be it academic or industry related – is normally necessary to secure a role in the field.

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