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Firmware Engineer vs Embedded Engineer – What are the Differences?

Firmware Engineer vs Embedded Engineer – What are the Differences?

The world of technology can be a confusing concept, as it is a highly specialized field with a number of jargon not widely known. Most people, however, can tell you the difference between software (code or instructions) and hardware (the physical device on which the software runs, such as a computer or smart phone). But what is firmware and embedded engineering? And what do Embedded Software and Firmware Engineers do?

What Does a Firmware Engineer Do?

Firmware is a not so widely known a word, but in layman’s terms, it is a specialized software that’s not meant to be changed or updated often, if ever. Think of your garage door remote or the brake system on your car. Both electronics have firmware. You can think of it as “firm,” or fixed in place with very little need for alterations.

Firmware Engineers write the algorithms, or rules, that tell a device how to behave. When you hit the keys on your keyboard, firmware communicated to the device on how to interpret your commands and convert them into a signal your computer can understand.

Firmware Engineers work with both hardware and software. They need proficiency in both domains, such as programming in C or C++, and they must have hardware, circuit analysis, microelectronics, computer architecture, and real-time operating systems expertise. Firmware engineers evaluate a project’s firmware needs, designing a firmware solution to meet project needs, develop and implement new firmware (i.e., programming), debug firmware to ensure it functions properly, evaluate performance and troubleshoot as needed, incorporate client feedback into firmware revisions, manage budgetary and time constraints, and keep up-to-date on technological developments and industry best practices.

What Does an Embedded Software Engineer Do?

An Embedded Software Engineer is a hybrid between a software and electrical engineer and creates software and code. Any kind of electronic device, such as a smart phone, a GPS, and a TV, require software in order to function and run correctly. Embedded software engineers create and maintain that working software.

Embedded Software Engineers have specialized roles that require them to know basic skills such as C or C++ programming, operating systems such as Linux, and assembly language, such as ARM. They should also have a deep understanding of microprocessor and microcontroller fundamentals, basic electronics, algorithms, and design patterns. An excellent Embedded Software Engineer should be able to write efficient code and know how to make the software components as effective as possible. In their daily work, they oversee and address designing, developing, constructing, testing, and maintaining all aspects of an embedded system.

Since Embedded Software Engineers need to be able to deal with hardware in addition to software, they need to be able to create or configure custom operating systems that work specifically with the software they are handling. Their work can begin with the designing of a system and usually will make a diagram or blueprint of the system to be created. They must keep in mind the primary goal to be accomplished of the software in question. After the blueprint has been made, the refining process can begin either alone or in collaboration with other engineers, agencies, or clientele.

Both are in High Demand

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts the projected rate of growth in Software Developer jobs (with Firmware Engineering as a subtype) at an impressive 21 percent, which is faster than average. As the world is becoming more technologically driven, just about every device will need firmware of some kind. Importantly, developing the skills required to be a successful Firmware Engineer will position you to pivot into computer hardware engineering or higher-level software development.

Because the role of an Embedded Software Engineer is so specialized and complex, this job is in high demand. Compared to other jobs, Embedded Software Engineers have seen a higher-than- average growth rate. It is projected to grow over 20% by the year 2028. And, by 2028, it’s predicted that the number of postings for this kind of job will expand to nearly 300,000 nationwide.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re in search of an Embedded Software Engineer, you may find that they’re hard to come by as demand may be greater than supply. It may be a competitive market and you may struggle to find the programmer that you require. That is, unless you contact OSI Engineering.

Find an Embedded Software or Firmware Engineer

An advantage to outsourcing your software project to companies that offer engineering employment services like OSI Engineering is that you take a lot of the guess work out of hiring and the right team will be built especially for you. With decades of field experience in engineering between us, OSI Engineering has a pool of talent and lasting business and industry relationships that help us find the best talent. We know where the talent, resources, experience, and expertise lie to bring your projects to market.

OSI Engineering knows your technology because we are a company run by engineers. We can deliver candidates with the right mix of experience, technical skills, and knowledge, along with the essential cultural fit. We engage in the entire recruiting process, investing significant time and effort to know your organization. We know the compensation data and what our clients need up front, streamlining the process even further. We know these positions are critically important, so we can secure the most qualified person for your success.

Do You Need Help?

If you’re looking for a Firmware Engineer or an Embedded Software Engineer who excels in their field either onsite or to work remotely, look no further. At OSI Engineering, we have the professionals you need to run every aspect of your IT. Our embedded software engineers are unmatched and uniquely qualified to help you achieve what you need. Contact us today by calling (408) 550-2800. We look forward to hearing from you and learning about how we can best serve your needs. We can help you find the perfect solution so that you can create whatever it is you desire.