Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Demand For Embedded Systems Engineers Has Multiplied

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There is undoubtedly a euphoric feeling whenever the term embedded systems and embedded system engineers are mentioned. In fact, embedded is a standalone domain which is slated to reap maximum benefits from modern smart technology. At this juncture, it is worth understanding that embedded systems forms the micro-level hardware and software architectures of almost all technically-driven innovations.

With rapid penetration of smart technology, embedded systems (embedded engineering) has become the buzzword. However, domain experts (engineers specializing in embedded systems) still feel that fresh engineers and engineering students require awareness about the all-pervasive embedded sector in India. In a bid to offer clarity to budding embedded engineers in India regarding the key scenario of embedded systems in 2017, we obtained valuable insights from specialists. Check these out below:

You would be solving societal problems smartly with your embedded skills

Embedded Systems engineers believe that the key to make our society smart lies within engineering of embedded systems.

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“Programming embedded systems smartly is key to a Digital India, almost all aspects today are driven by technology. With our decision makers laying increased emphasis on schemes like smart cities, the demand for embedded system engineers has definitely multiplied,” states Aravindan Nair – chief executive officer at an upcoming startup based in Bengaluru. Aravindan also consults for governmental agencies on multiple aspects of smart cities.

Aravindan also believes that the Internet-of-Things (IoT) has delivered a much-needed fillip to embedded systems research in India thereby opening-up increased opportunities for engineers. Also, with other experts remaining optimistic about the deployment of IoT-driven solutions for larger society, the onus naturally is back to embedded engineers to offer micro-level smart solutions for solving real-world problems.

“By putting IoT machines where a person can push a button to send an alert to his farm for a refill, middlemen can definitely be eliminated. The onus is now on the IoT service providers and embedded engineers to design and deploy such smart market devices,” states Swetha Gaded who works as business analyst at Inventrom.

“Machine learning has been increasingly capable of accurately diagnosing a range of physical and mental health conditions in recent years,” adds Bastin Robin who is chief data scientist at CleverInsight.

The above insights, by Bastin and Swetha, are indicators about the societal impact that embedded engineers can achieve today.

Also, with embedded engineers currently happy about the increased scope for aspects such as design engineering and application development in India,  engineering students (and the fresher engineers) have lots to cheer about as far as motivation to take up embedded systems as standalone skillsets is concerned.

Societal sectors driving maximum demand for embedded systems in India

With an increase in the number startups specialising in research & development (R&D) in the embedded systems domain, jobs here for engineers has also quadrupled; more so over the last couple of years. With research towards mitigating existing issues being the focus, experts have rated specific areas as driving demand along with reaping maximum benefit from embedded engineers currently.

“I would rate healthcare, medical electronics, retail, robotics, and agriculture as key areas which are now reaping benefits of the increased global research with respect to implementing smart embedded solutions,” informs Aravindan.

These skillsets can bring out the embedded side of you

Now, fresh engineers desirous of building careers in embedded systems after completion of graduate engineering (BE/B.Tech) degree, the below skillsets are recommended by domain experts to bring in the ‘lucrative’ touch:

  • Embedded Linux programming
  • Mandatory knowledge of languages such as Python, R, Perl
  • Embedded software
  • Real-Time operating systems (RTOS)
  • Shell Scripting
  • 8051 microcontrollers
  • Embedded C, embedded C++
  • QNX
  • QNX Neutrino
  • Internal architecture of microcontrollers
  • Schematics drafting skills
  • FPGA
  • Kernel Programming
  • Debugging
  • Thorough understanding of Analog and Digital circuits

Embedded engineers believe that with these skillsets, new engineers (spanning across streams) stand a chance at working in basic projects. For M.Tech embedded systems post-graduate engineers, domain experts recommend that you master these skillsets:

  • ARM Cortex microcontroller programming
  • Embedded Linux
  • Firmware programming
  • UART

Also, companies preferring engineers for hardware generally seek Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) Design skillsets.

“Firms today mostly hire engineers with knowledge of Embedded Linux. This skillset is like an indispensable asset for new engineers,” states Vinay Kaul – a Mumbai-based independent embedded systems trainer.

Apart from the above specific skillsets, there are also generalised ones that need mastering in the right stages, post which a career in embedded becomes unsatisfying. These; including a bachelors in engineering degree in electronics, instrumentation, computer science, information science, and electrical; are:

  • Problem-Solving ability
  • Effective designing skills
  • Hardware designing skillsets
  • General programming skills
  • Arduino
  • MSP430 (development board)
  • PSOC4 (development board)

In addition to the above skillsets, there are those that are defined specifically by firms based on the job profiles. The multi-national corporations (MNCs) generally offer in-house training to fresher embedded engineers. However, today’s startups prefer engineers to be fully skilled before starting work on embedded projects. These firms prefer to save on both time and money involved in training.

Mastering embedded skillsets – do it yourself

“My advice for engineers would be to do a lot of do-it-yourself (DIY) electronic stuff and turn into electronics hobbyists rather than opting for training from external centres,” states Chethan Krishna who is a Bengaluru-based freelance embedded engineer preferring to call himself an electronics hobbyist.

“Seek a true embedded system professional and obtain guidance on programming aspects. Indulge in programming small boards and projects and evolve on these ideas,” adds Vinay.

Embedded development kits can also be procured online through trusted vendors like element14; and by checking out websites of semiconductor companies in India. Also, purchasing conventional AC Voltmeters does a world of good to beginners desirous of indulging in DIY.

Of course, the above is independent of academic engineering curriculum which experts now believe needs improvement.

As far as landing industry jobs in embedded is concerned, recruiters always check workability and aptitude via live demonstration (required from candidates during the technical interview phases). Therefore, it is vital that you face technical interviews with shrewdness.

Pay packages for fresher engineers, designations, preferred recruiters

At this juncture, it is worth noting that engineers are recruited as embedded software engineers, system software engineers, application system engineers, and even as field application engineers. Exact designations for engineers are purely dependant on the employers.

“Fresh engineers with sound embedded skills can expect to earn anywhere in the ₹4 lakh per annum range,” states Dr Radhakrishnan – a Bengaluru-based career expert working closely with fresh engineers.

“Today startups employ a chunk of embedded systems engineers. However, engineers should not expect fancy pay scales here and should be willing to start with ₹2 lakhs per annum (approximate average),” informs Prashanth Chandrashekhar a lead embedded software engineer in Bengaluru.

As per Dr Radhakrishnan, preferred recruiters include the likes of Texas Instruments, LG, Samsung, Nokia; there are also a host of ‘other’ firms such as Quest Global Engineering that generally top the preference list amongst wannabe embedded engineers.

“Begin with startups, work on projects for about 3 years before venturing to bigger firms,” advises Vinay Kaul.

“In case you are successful in placements, stick with the company you have got placed into, stick on to this for at least four years,” adds Vinay.

Typical job profiles

Exact working nature depends on recruiters, but the below is a generalised set of job profiles that you should find yourself into:

  • Software development and Testing
  • Debugging embedded systems
  • Writing secure codes
  • Design review, along with code
  • Working towards making existing system efficient. In other words, improve scalability of systems
  • Analyse requirements and develop embedded system software
  • Effectively integrate software with hardware design; improve scalability
  • Improve overall input-output performance of embedded systems

Embedded system careers in 2017 in a nutshell

Careers in embedded systems are generally satisfying as smart solutions can be developed
Embedded Systems lets engineers work in varied disciplines
Embedded industry seeks professionals with practical working knowledge
Embedded opens up a plethora of opportunities with respect to DIYs
Embedded system engineers have comparatively more jobs in the startups in India

Contributors to the story

Aravindan Nair – chief executive officer at an upcoming startup based in Bengaluru

Bastin Robins J – Chief Technology Officer and Chief Data Scientist at CleverInsight

Swetha Gaded – Business Analyst

Vinay Kaul – Mumbai-based independent embedded systems trainer.

Chethan Krishna – Electronics Hobbyist

Prashanth Chandrashekhar – Lead embedded software engineer in Bengaluru

Dr Radhakrishnan – Bengaluru-based career counsellor working with engineers


Looking for more guidance? Check out career guidance for other streams.

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