Re: Questions about career in embedded developer

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On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 16:03:45 +0100

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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 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?

Re: Questions about career in embedded developer
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

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Re: Questions about career in embedded developer
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Like many others.

Personally I can't wait for some pointy-haired boss to provide an
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!


Re: Questions about career in embedded developer
On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 12:11:37 +0100

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I expected that.  Ah, well.

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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.

Re: Questions about career in embedded developer
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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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