What can be learned from embedded systems

Embedded Systems Engineer: What is this job?

Embedded systems are installed everywhere. Engineers who are familiar with the development and implementation of such systems are therefore in demand. We show what you need for the job and who is hiring embedded system engineers.

More than 70 embedded systems are installed in a modern mid-range automobile alone.

Photo: panthermedia.net/ dmindphoto

What is an embedded system?

On the face of it, they are invisible, hidden behind an elegant design or inconspicuous surfaces. Nevertheless, we encounter embedded systems many times a day: When we drive to work in the car, when we return home, turn on the washing machine and then make ourselves comfortable in front of the television set and game console. The software embedded in the hardware processes the data in the devices, controls, monitors and, in the first place, makes the devices work. In a modern mid-range car alone, the driver is surrounded by over seventy embedded systems.

What does an embedded systems engineer have to bring with him?

The embedded systems engineer plays a special role in the development of such embedded systems, which are part of the cross-sectional technologies. He finds solutions and ideas for the needs of private, business and industrial customers and accompanies the development of new software systems through to market readiness and production.

In order to be able to fulfill this demanding task at the interface between different departments, the Embedded Systems Engineer Know-how from many sub-disciplines: Knowledge of hardware development, software technology and knowledge of programming algorithms are part of it. In addition, they must have specialists with an understanding of electrical engineering, construction and simulation, sensors and actuators, measurement and control technology, physics and mathematics. One possible course that prepares students for this is technical informatics.

Tasks of the embedded software developer

Equipped with this knowledge, the embedded systems engineer can design microelectronic and micromechanical components, work on software-based components, integrate software systems into the hardware and optimize the systems in terms of speed, costs and energy efficiency with the greatest possible safety and reliability.

Depending on the individual task in the individual company, not only the programming and implementation of the software falls under the responsibility of the embedded software developer, but also quality control. This is all the more important as many systems, such as those in aircraft technology, do not tolerate any errors.

Degree programs for engineering knowledge of embedded systems

Employers who have a position as embedded systems engineer are usually looking for graduates in computer science, electrical engineering or mechatronics. As an alternative to these degrees, universities such as the University of Freiburg or the University of Duisburg-Essen offer their own courses in Embedded Systems Engineering. The bachelor's degree is aimed at high school graduates with a technical interest, while the Master of Science can be added in two years to those who have already successfully completed their bachelor's degree in a related MINT subject.

Engineers employers are plentiful across all industries

In any case, the career prospects with this qualification are brilliant: Corporations and medium-sized companies in Germany have finally recognized the opportunities that digitization and the Internet of Things offer. Embedded systems are essential for Industry 4.0 and are required in medical technology, vehicle technology, communication technology, in household appliances, entertainment electronics, industrial and manufacturing systems as well as in building management.

In addition, embedded systems play an important role, especially in the branches of industry in which Germany is a global leader, such as automation technology, mechanical and plant engineering and the automotive industry. In other areas, such as environmental and energy technology, there are opportunities to be among the pioneers in the future. The opportunities for starting a career and further career prospects are correspondingly diverse.

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A contribution from:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.

  • Tatjana Krieger