“Engineering jobs that drift overseas will go mostly unlamented,” says Jack Ganssle in this week's Embedded Pulse. His view is echoed in a recent article at Salon.com. Workers in manufacturing are entitled to benefits if their jobs go overseas, but those benefits don't apply to programmers because software is considered a “service” and not a “tangible commodity.”
Jack says that in the future, keeping an engineering job will require “a stunning variety of skills.” He predicts that that tomorrow's engineers will need writing skills that English majors will envy and presentation skills rivaling Dale Carnegie's.
The variation in integer size from processor to processor can be problematic, particularly in embedded systems development, which involves manipulation of fixed-width integer data, or in any instance in which code is ported to another processor. Fortunately, the 1999 update to the ISO C standard offers a solution. Read about it in Michael Barr's “Introduction to fixed-width integers.”