Re: Questions about career in embedded developer

Incidentally for those considering a high-tech career, a lady at my

> job centre who interviews people who are out of work over six months > says high-tech people make up _HALF_ the people she sees. > > Be prepared for drastic feast/famine cycles.

How would you all rate the chances of getting *back* into embedded systems after a long hiatus? I used to do this stuff, but over the years I gradually drifted more and more into "data processing" and "information technology" and finally unemployment.

A few hours at

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and here suggests to me that things haven't really changed that much in the last 15 or 20 years or so. I'm sure I could get back up to speed pretty quickly, with a project to get started on. I'd certainly be as useful as a new graduate, and I'd be grateful right now for a new graduate's salary (that is, the salary of the new graduate fortuante enough to get a job in the industry).

So what do you think of my chances?

Reply to
Ted Spradley
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It sounds like one of the real problems may not be what you deserve. When we see someone "older" we expect them to be much more experenced and therefore ask for much more money. Then when your not in the top end and want to get back in they will consider you obsolete and and younger person will be better able to adopt to the newer systems.

I'm not sure what you mean that things have not changed much in 15 years, some of the changes I've seen is a move to all surface mount designs, 4 volt logic, and much better development tools and the use of FPGA's on most of our new designs, along with new designs standards and document controls with ISO. (IMHO)

Reply to

Grim, right now.

Even without the long hiatus.

In 1999, I was getting up to 4 or 5 interviews per week. I have had about that many in the last _year_.

The lady at the DSS says things nose dived after 9/11.

People still need all the goods and services they did before, but a few people in stock exchanges sell off shares and the paper value plummets. Healthy companies fold because they have no value to stock traders.

Traders have done more damage than the terrorists!

Getting work is a bitch whatever your situation. A company will always find arguments to pay you as little as possible. If you are young they'll say you have no experience, and if you are old they will think you are too old (though they will give some other reason because it is illegal to discriminate on age). The job field is so wide that it is unlikely you will have experience in what they are doing, so they'll whine about that.

Well, they have. Before they used TTL and the odd GAL. Now they use a

208-pin FPGA and you have to write pages of VHDL. The Z80/6502 have been replaced with many different microcontrollers. Memory capacity has grown way faster than human capacity to fill it with quality software. Project time scales are still the same, only now they need 100 times more software. Before it would be great just to have a serial port. Now you often have to provide a TCP/IP stack, drivers, Ethernet modems, etc.

No commercial body has got the time or money to give anyone a project to get up to speed. Maybe the DoD though. Companies want you bringing in cash damn fast.

Like many others.

Personally I can't wait for some pointy-haired boss to provide an opportunity. I've taken time out to give myself some new skills (VHDL, FPGA). And if there isn't a company with a job that is just right for me, I'm going to make one!


Reply to

I expected that. Ah, well.

Well, I didn't mean to denigrate the progress. I was surprised that people were still talking about 68HC11s and 68332s that I used 15 years ago. I suppose the packages and the voltages have grown smaller and even harder to get a 'scope probe onto. There are certainly a lot of new names (XA? ATmega?), so it surprises me that the old names (8051!) are still around at the same time. In the world where I've been working the 80486s disappeared completely long before the Pentium IVs appeared.

Reply to
Ted Spradley

Yep, the amount of processing to run rice cookers etc hasn't changed and no point re-writing code if you don't need to. Unlike desktops where people will always find more work for them to do faster.

And 8051s come in so many varieties.

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