We are not them - Embedded.com

We are not them


Stackoverflow has a new survey of their readership. It’s interesting.

Perhaps the most surprising result: we are not them. They claim 32 million visitors per month. Most estimates peg firmware developers at about 500,000 worldwide.

IDC figures there are, well, a lot of software engineers in the world. (ICT means “Information and Communications Technology.”)

Consider the age of respondents to the Stackoverflow study:

The most recent UBM study of the EE/Embedded market pegs the average age of those of us in this business at just shy of 48.

Or experience:

Again, that UBM study pegs us at an average of 20 years. I wonder if this is why EDN.com this morning wanted a password to view anything? Those young ‘uns writing web code need a little seasoning!

In a shocking result, considering how important software is to the functioning of the world, most Stackoverflowers have little formal education in the field:


70% of embedded developers write in C. Not so for the Stackoverflow crowd:


And in fact, we are not them. I long ago accepted puzzled looks from people when I use the word “embedded.” Most think I’m journalist in Iraq. We represent just 2.9% of Stackoverflow. And, I’m not even sure what “embedded application developer” means. Does that exclude those of us writing drivers and BSPs?

In developing countries, developers who always work remotely make almost twice those doomed to report to an office every day. That difference is much less in the United States.

76% of Stackoverflowers are happy with their jobs, compared to 66% in the UBM study of the EE side of things.

Here’s the money shot from the UBM survey:


What about you? Are you happy with your career? Do you feel you are paid fairly?

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 development process.

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7 thoughts on “We are not them

  1. “As a slight aside, here is an engineer's take on Stack Overflow, both as contributor and usernhttp://www.embeddedrelated.com/showarticle/741.phpn”

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  2. “I don't think much of surveys like these. They are not statistically valid because the respondents are self-selecting.nnThey are not us, but are we even us? What % of embedded engineers read embedded.com? What statistical biases are there?nn”

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  3. “Why would you want to switch from developing rare and essential skills programming embedded systems to compete with ten-a-penny code monkeys producing bloatware apps?”

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