What is Embedded Systems Development?

Embedded systems development refers to the creation and programming of digital programs and electronic devices. Embedded systems development involves both software and hardware platforms.

The Fundamentals

Developing embedded software and hardware systems involves many tools, such as compilers, emulators and simulators, which are all synthesized together during the development cycle. For starters, most embedded systems developers use the C programming language to write code in standard text editors. C is a higher level language, so it can be used to independently create extensions and architecture. Other programming languages are faster and portable, but they also result in double the code assembly size. Once the code is written, it must be translated into instructions that the system can execute. This naturally produces various glitches that are resolved through the debugging process. Embedded systems developers use standard debugger programs that are connected with emulators to validate and correct codes. After this is complete, there are simulators, starter kits and electronic devices that complete the development process.

Basic Embedded Systems Development Skills

Embedded systems developers need to master a few fundamental programming languages such as C, C++, Ada, Java and Python. Additional programming languages include VHDL, Verilog, SystemC and SystemVerilog. There are development kits for beginners who that allow users to freely re-write design parts without ruining their whole design. There are plenty of opportunities to experiment and re-write codes to more efficiently process speed and use memory. Becoming familiar with embedded software and architectures is helpful, according to PC Magazine. Most beginners start with learning interrupt driven and background loop processing before moving on to background schedulers and actual operating systems. There are plenty of free source control hosting sites that offer helpful tools and automatically back up code.

Recommended Degree Program

Most embedded systems developers have a bachelor’s in computer programming, software engineering or system development. Very few colleges offer embedded systems development bachelor degree programs, but many offer robust graduate level certificate programs. These programs are designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the development cycle states, such as design and implementation, for both hardware and software embedded systems. Most of these students have a degree in computer, electronics or communications technologies or engineering. These certificate programs teach the fundamental principles of digital and electronic design. These courses teach how to model digital hardware systems through digital circuit, logic synthesis and electrical interfacing design. These classes also teach how to prototype and test electronics, which includes amplification, voltage regulation and power supply design.

What Do Embedded Systems Developers Do?

When employers hire embedded systems developers, they want programming professionals who know how to develop, debug and modify embedded programs. They must know how to research requirements, determine software requirements and transform instructions into code through automatic tools. Embedded systems developers have the ability to breakdown program specs into simple elements and then translate them into complex codes. Embedded systems developers need strong writing skills because they continually create non-technical documentation for end-users. They are proficient in software system testing, analysis, integration and development. Employers will expect fluency in proprietary languages and familiarity with standard operating system environments such as Unix, Linux and Windows.

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Embedded systems development is a fundamental building of electronic computer systems. All microprocessors are created through embedded system programming and development.