Mechanical engineers are in a prime position to learn embedded systems.
Since mechanical engineers already have extensive knowledge of machines, they only need to learn a few extra courses in software engineering or programming to work with embedded systems.
In this guide, you will learn how you can work with embedded systems in more detail.
A mechanical engineer can learn how to design and develop embedded systems with reasonable effort.
Mechanical engineers already have an excellent base knowledge, as they understand how the components of machines work together to create working processes or systems.
Therefore, they can easily tackle the hardware element of embedded systems.
They may need to take specialized classes in engineering drawing, circuit design, and CAD design.
Since mechanical engineers are not typically proficient in software engineering, they will need to learn these aspects of computers and embedded systems.
Learn more: Do Mechanical Engineers Study Quantum Mechanics?
An embedded system is a combination of hardware and software designed to perform specific functions placed in a larger system or machine.
Put simply, it is a computing system that can either perform a single task, a complex set of tasks, or tasks along with other embedded systems in devices other than PCs, laptops, and smartphones.
For instance, you can think of the computer in your washing machine or microwave oven as simple embedded systems.
These systems require careful construction and assembly of analog sensors, microcontrollers or microprocessors, and software.
You can find embedded systems in manufacturing systems, appliances, phones, vehicles, airplanes, motion sensors, medical devices, and other machines.
Embedded software engineering is a growing career path as technology rapidly expands to meet consumer needs and market gaps.
It is reasonable to expect embedded software engineering jobs to follow the same trend as software engineers.
Software engineers will grow 22% by 2030, introducing 189,200 job openings annually.
Since the average growth rate for all occupations in the United States is 8%, you can imagine the scale on which industries need embedded system and software engineers.
To become an embedded system engineer, you can follow these simple steps:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, computer science, or a closely-related field.
- Pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering, software engineering, or embedded systems engineering.
- Ensure you have the proper certifications or classes or embedded engineering:
- Popular computer languages such as C, C++, Assembly, Rust, Java, and Python
- Technical writing
- Data analysis
- Popular frameworks and platforms such as Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure
- Hardware design
- Software design
- Earn optional certificates such as Certified LabVIEW Embedded Systems Developer or Certified Automation Professional.
- Follow an internship or volunteer at a software engineering firm emphasizing embedded systems, computer hardware, or software development.
Python is an excellent programming language for certain types of embedded systems or at certain levels in embedded systems.
Since many contemporary devices have Linux as an operating system, it is easy to use Python to program its software.
Likely, you will only use Python if you have microcontrollers, system-on-a-chip, and sensor reading.
There are plenty of programming languages you can use for embedded systems.
The most popular ones are C and C++.
They’re well-structured, and their syntax is easy to comprehend.
Both languages give developers complete control over memory management, but C++ has more advanced functionality in that regard.
When writing code at the hardware level, the developer needs to account for each byte of data as embedded systems usually have highly limited capacities.
Another difference between C and C++ is that the latter enables object-oriented programming, making code maintenance significantly easier.
Is A Laptop An Embedded System?
Most computers are not embedded systems.
An embedded system has a self-operating, dedicated function, such as cruise control or a modern smart thermostat.
A laptop is a computer that stands on its own as a computer system, so it is not an embedded system.
Additionally, a laptop can perform thousands of tasks simultaneously.
Mobile phones appear to be embedded systems, as they are not technically computers and they do run specific processes.
Yet, modern smartphones are actually not embedded systems.
They are small, handheld computers that can download and run numerous programs and applications simultaneously.
While this is true, companies treat and program mobile phones as embedded systems for some of their functions, such as making calls or sending SMS.
Therefore, mobile phone companies need embedded system engineers to design and develop their products.
Learn more: Do Mechanical Engineers Make Phones?
Best Free Online Sources To Get Started
If you are looking for free online resources to start learning about embedded systems, software development, or programming languages, you have come to the right place.
A few of the best accessible sources include:
- Embedded Artistry: Embedded Artistry offers many resources to learn to program, start work on embedded systems, and stay up-to-date on the latest industry information.
- Embedded Systems: Courtesy of Georgia Tech, you can learn the basics of embedded systems.
- Embedded Systems – Shape The World: Microcontroller Input/Output: If you wish to dive deeper into embedded systems, take this microcontroller input/output course.
- Introduction to Embedded Systems: This free course discusses the design and development of embedded systems.
- Learn Python: Learning Python is easy when you take these free tutorials.
- Learn C: Start with the basics of C programming, or get into more advanced topics with Learn C.
- C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners: If you are ready for a more advanced programming language, you may wish to learn C++ through this helpful tutorial.
Embedded systems is an exciting, evolving domain within software engineering.
Whether entering embedded systems as an engineer, a computer science student, or a graduate, you have an excellent foundation for excelling in this field.
You will also have the chance to work on interesting, innovative devices, designing the very system that allows them to operate well.