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Post by Rich Moy on Oct 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Unlike many other software development roles, embedded software development isn’t quite as straightforward. In fact, it’s extremely challenging to understand what an embedded software developer does on a daily basis without any basic knowledge of embedded software. In the simplest terms, embedded software controls devices that the typical consumer doesn’t think of as a computer. Things like light bulbs and touchscreen refrigerators are possible because of the work of embedded software developers. Considering how popular the Internet of Things has become over the last five years, it’s no surprise that embedded software developers are in high demand. To help you stand out from the competition, here are a few things you should know about embedded software engineers.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, embedded developers just do not spend a lot of time on popular social media websites or recruiting platforms. Reaching the candidates that you’re looking for requires you to figure out which sites they turn to when they want to level up or commiserate with other developers working on embedded software. The forum at Embedded has grown into one of the most active communities of embedded developers online. Developers also turn to sites like Intel’s Developer Zone, Embedded Related, and All About Circuits to share and learn the newest tricks of embedded software. Additionally, the “embedded” tag on Stack Overflow currently has an active user base that has asked over 5,700 questions.

While these are great places to find potential candidates, tread carefully at first. Developers on these sites discuss the latest embedded software development trends, but they’re not necessarily there to find new jobs. Avoid kicking off interactions by trying to sell them on your job. Instead, start conversations with questions about their current projects. Once you build up a bit of rapport, the embedded developers on these sites will be more inclined to hear you out about your open role.

Know the Challenges They Tackle Everyday

At this point, you might understand that embedded developers create software that makes consumer products smarter. While candidates won’t expect you to know all the ins-and-outs of what they do, knowing some of the challenges they face will ultimately help you engage them in more productive recruiting conversations. Here are a few things companies lean on embedded software developers to tackle on a daily basis.

  1. Writing code parallel to hardware development. John Hagar, principal of Grand Software Testing, tells TechTarget that embedded development is often challenging because business owners want the hardware and software to be finished at the same time. He adds, “You have this chicken and egg problem of how do you write embedded software for a piece of hardware [when] you don't really know what it is.”
  2. Writing embedded software takes time. Alex Brisbourne of ReadWrite explains that developing software for the Internet of Things often takes a lot of time. He continues by saying, “They often have to start from scratch, slowing down the time to market considerably,” which makes it incredibly difficult for embedded software developers to scale their products quickly.
  3. Enabling products to talk to other products. Although making smart devices might sound straightforward to some professionals, embedded developers are responsible for making their products work with as many other platforms as possible. As Bonnie Cha wrote for Recode, there’s a wide variety of security and compatibility issues with other devices that many companies are still trying to resolve.

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