Embedded System Overview

What is embedded system?

Embedded Systems are simply the brain of most electronic systems that access, process, store and control data. If it needs to define in a sentence, Embedded Systems is a special purpose system or gadget, which encapsulates all the devices such as microprocessor, different type of memories, and different type of interface and cam control different tasks in a single package or board to perform only a specific application. Your smart phone is probably the best example of an advanced embedded system.

 Embedded systems are the dedicated hardware and software that lie at the heart of modern electronic devices: from aeronautical and automobile engine management systems, to mobile telephones and multimedia devices.

The embedded software industry can be classified into captive and non-captive units. The captive companies involve semiconductor companies that follow the IDM or fabless model and develop software that is required for chips and reference boards. OEMs also develop software for their own products. The non-captive companies are third-party embedded software developers, hardware/board designers or VLSI design companies that provide embedded software solutions as part of their service offerings. A few EMS and ODM companies also provide embedded software development services that are specific to the products that they design and manufacture for clients.

Embedded systems combine hardware and software components to achieve certain functionalities. A well-known example is the mobile phone of today – a handheld low-power device that carries out signal processing at the same time it is able to entertain its user with computer games, Internet sessions, and/or streaming audio/video.
Following are few examples of embedded systems:

  1.  Cell-phones
  2. Automatic Teller Machine
  3. The Digital Interfaced Gasoline Station
  4. Airborne Flight Control System
  5. Automotive Engine Health Monitoring System
  6. Home Security Systems
  7. Modern Air-conditioners
  8. Washing Machines
  9. Medical Equipment
  10. DVD Players
  11. Printers
  12. Medical Equipment……never ending list .

The design of these devices is a challenging task which requires the integration of hardware (microcontrollers, custom ASICs and FPGAs), application specific software, real-time operating systems, communications, sensors and actuators in a complex, highly reliable system despite a shrinking time to market.

Embedded system characteristics

  •  These systems are designed to do some specific task, rather than be a general-purpose computer for multiple tasks. Some also have real-time performance constraints that must be met, for reasons such as safety and usability; others may have low or no performance requirements, allowing the system hardware to be simplified to reduce costs.
  • Embedded systems are not always standalone devices. Many embedded systems consist of small, computerized parts within a larger device that serves a more general purpose. For example, the Gibson Robot Guitar features an embedded system for tuning the strings, but the overall purpose of the Robot Guitar is, of course, to play music. Similarly, an embedded system in an automobile provides a specific function as a subsystem of the car itself.
  • Any embedded system is teamwork of three different sets of people: hardware engineers, software engineers and application domain experts. The program instructions written for embedded systems are referred to as firmware, and are stored in read-only memory or Flash memory chips. They run with limited computer hardware resources: little memory, small or non-existent keyboard or screen.

Who is in Demand?

After successful completion of the training period, an engineer’s career graph grows from the junior level towards a project leader, project champion or project manager position. In addition to gaining technical expertise, it is always advisable to explore the business processes as that can accelerate the climb to the top.

So start digging out all possibilities to get a practical exposure. At the same time, keep abreast of the latest technological trends through newspapers, technical magazines, and technical seminars and, last but not the least, trade fairs. You can learn about ‘chip to ship’ of an embedded system only after completing a proper project.

What’s on offer?

Salary is never a constraint for the right candidate. Typically, an embedded fresher starts at the same level as other engineers getting their first job in IT companies. However, embedded professionals are required to be more of solution seekers and providers. Due to these roles, they get to develop their skills faster and their rise on the corporate ladder too is faster.

the average salary for a fresher in the embedded system field can range anywhere from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. Well-funded companies are prepared to offer upwards of Rs 25,000. Analysis of previous year’s industry feedback reveals figures ranging between Rs 1.2 million and Rs 2 million per annum for candidates with four to five years of experience. The compensation depends on the nature of organization and competency level and academic background of the candidate. The ability to handle multitasking jobs may also be a defining factor


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About author

This article was written by admin

Admin has over twenty years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. A frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and author of numerous technical articles. Working presently as Development Manager in India. A firm Believer in Knowledge grows when it shared.


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