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10 skills embedded engineers need now

Karen Field

February 09, 2015

Karen FieldFebruary 09, 2015

From getting familiar with open source software to developing apps, industry professionals are urging embedded engineers to get out of their comfort zone and acquire new skills to stay relevant.

Back in the early days of embedded in the 1980s, the guy (and it was mostly guys then) who designed the mixed signal circuits, the guy who connected the microcontroller, the guy who wrote a bunch of low-level assembly code, and the guy who got the prototype out the door—well, it was all the same guy.

One engineer pretty much did it all.

Then, as embedded systems became bigger and more complex—millions of lines of code now ship with devices--embedded skill sets became partitioned by discipline: hardware developer, firmware developer, software developer.

In many big companies that is still the case. But the pendulum appears to be swinging back, as more and more companies are consolidating engineering roles, looking for developers who are fluent in both hardware and software, and trying to accomplish more with less. Certainly a bigger percent of engineers say they work on both hardware software, as compared to the group that only does one or the other.

Given that it’s not possible to keep up with everything embedded, how do you make sure that the new skills you acquire are the most relevant?

EE Times turned to nine embedded professionals and a recruiter and asked them to tell us what they think are the most important things engineers should learn now.

Though opinions differed on the specific skills that are most important, they all agreed on one thing all engineers should do: Never stop learning.


Join over 2,000 technical professionals and embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware developers at ESC Boston May 6-7, 2015 and learn about the latest techniques and tips for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the embedded development process.

Passes for the ESC Boston 2015 Technical Conference are available at the conference’s official site with discounted advance pricing until May 1, 2015. Make sure to follow updates about ESC Boston’s other talks, programs, and announcements via the Destination ESC blog on embedded.com and social media accounts Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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