The word “Embedded Systems” is not new and has been in existence since the 1960s. However, the recent advances in technology has given a completely new dimension to Embedded Systems. In this article we make our reader aware of Embedded Systems domain, existing companies working in this area, job opportunities and how to make a good career in Embedded Systems.
What is an Embedded System? Where do we find one?
An Embedded System is a simple computing system (could be a small/big computer) that is meant to perform a single or a set of specific operations. Embedded Systems have so much so become an integral part of our lives today that we cannot live without them. For example mobile phone is an embedded system which we cannot live without. We will find an embedded system anywhere and everywhere in this world today. Modern washing machines, tablets, modern toys, advanced wrist watches, aircrafts, satellites, military equipments, automobiles, television, TV set-top box, industrial robots and many more are all embedded systems.
Everything is getting smaller and more and more smarter. For instance, the size of modern LED TVs has shrunk by several magnitudes and yet they are much more smarter than their predecessors. You can surf the Internet and talk via skype on your TV today. The embedded industry comes with great promises and set to be the trend setter in India and elsewhere for the few decades to come. It is going to be the next big thing!
What skills are required? Is the Embedded Industry only for Electronics graduates?
NO! Its a common misnomer where people think that embedded systems involves designing and building electronic circuits and chips and thus, is suitable only for electronics graduates (BE in E&C). This is NOT true. An Embedded System can be anything from a simple electronic circuit to a complex network of computers running modern software applications. There are various skills required and equally used in this industry. Below I have listed a few important ones:
Embedded Operating System development (Embedded Linux),
Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS),
Device driver development,
Embedded Application development (in C, C++, Java),
Micro-controller based applications (in C or assembly),
FPGA based system development (in VHDL, etc.),
Analog device development,
Circuit design and development,
Robotics system design,
Mechanical system design.
Each of the above skills will get you a job in the embedded industry. Many of these skills exists in graduates from Computer Science, Electronics and Communication, Information Science Engg., Mechanical, many more backgrounds.
In India, which Companies work in Embedded Systems?
There are hundreds of companies working on embedded systems and many more being incorporated as we speak. In Belgaum we have two companies who work on this domain namely Spundhan Software & Vayavya Labs. Embedded Systems is a fast growing market and the demand for embedded engineers is ever increasing. Following is a random list of a few (not a complete list) companies working in this area: Texas Instruments, Intel, NDS, Robert Bosch, Mistral Solutions, Broadcom, PathPartner, Symphony Services, STMicro, DRDO, ISRO, WindRiver etc.
The above companies seldom come for campus recruitment in Belgaum. How can we prepare or what do we need to get a job there?
Yes. It is true that most of the above companies hardly visit college campuses for recruitment. If you are focused and want to really make a good career in Embedded industry, then you will have to brush up and polish your skills. You will need to do more than just the BE course. To get a good job and to cut yourself an excellent career, if you are from CS, E&C, E&E, Telecoms, ISE background, you will have to be good in the following:
Advance knowledge and hands-on experience of C programming language,
Hardware interfacing techniques,
Working knowledge of Linux,
Software Engineering concept such as indentation, source control, Makefiles, etc.
Can I join a training course to acquire these skills? Does training really help?
Yes. Certainly. Getting professional really makes a huge difference. Most of us, when we studied C programming in our regular course, never really learnt the real C programming the way it should be for the industry. We simply studied what is required for the examinations. I am pretty sure you get jittery/scared when you hear C pointers and advanced data structures. Professionals who train use advance teaching practices and techniques to teach you the complex of the topics in a very simple and easy-to-learn way.
Thus, training plays an important role in acquiring any skill we want. Getting trained on specific areas will no doubt enhance your skill-set and would also give you an added advantage over a fellow candidate applying for a same job. In fact, today training institutes are present in every nook and corner. Simply attending a training just for the sake of obtaining a certificate is no good. Your employer will certainly verify during your interview whether you actually know what you have been trained for.
Having said that, there are a few institutes which provide industry specific course with excellent world-class training material delivered by experienced professionals. You should visit them, see who is behind the training institute, ask a few good questions to judge their abilities and then join the course.
About the Author:
Dr. Ameet Patil, Co-founder of Spundhan Softwares Pvt. Ltd. & Bredboard academy, Belgaum, has over 10+ years of experience in the area of Embedded Systems. Dr.Ameet has a PhD. in Embedded Systems from the University of York, UK and is considered an expert in building embedded systems, real-time operating systems. He is a voracious reader, a great listener, always open to learning new things and very keen to teach what he knows to todays young minds. Ameet can be reached at 0831-4203291 or [email protected].