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You really are an embedded developer

September 22, 2009

rich.nass-September 22, 2009

A few months ago, I wrote a column asking our readers to become part of our Embedded Leaders group. Many of you took me up on the offer. Recently, I posed two questions to the group. The answers were so interesting, I thought I'd I'm share them with all embedded systems developers.

First, why do many embedded systems developers not consider themselves as embedded systems designers/developers/engineers? Second, how can we get them to change their way of thinking?

The responses were far too many (and, in some cases, ornery) to publish here. But what follows are some of the more interesting replies.

Question 1: One Embedded Leader said, "I consider myself an embedded system engineer but that's not what my title is: I'm called a software engineer. At my last company, I was called a microprocessor engineer, of all things. It dated back to the early 1980s when micros started showing up in the equipment."

Another response, "It's a mixture of reasons. If you're working environment looks like a typical hosted development environment and you're hidden from the embedded side, you don't think of yourself as an embedded developer. If your primary focus is graphics or hardware or something else, you probably don't think of yourself as an embedded designer." Yet another, "Very few projects these days are not considered an embedded system and, therefore, the term embedded is becoming so ubiquitous that it's already implied."

And finally, "Their degree is probably engineering or computer science. Embedded development is not thought of as a discipline. These same people would probably be fine with working on other projects that were not 'embedded.'"

Question 2: One respondent: "[Using the term embedded system in your title] is required to raise the profile of embedded engineers and explain the real value of their work to everyone. If people would understand that the impressive part of the machine only works because someone has designed an even more complex embedded system into it, I am sure people would like to become an embedded designer."

Said another, "It's a lost cause. It's likely that she views her skills as user-interface design, interaction design, and graphics. Whether that's applied to an embedded device or a mechanical system or a PC application is secondary."

And finally, "Educate them on the term 'embedded designers/developers/ engineers.' Make them realize that they are part of the exciting field of embedded development that is an important part of all electronics/appliances we use every minute of our lives."

We don't. Seriously. It's that simple. And that hopeless.

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