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Working as an Embedded Software Developer

What Does an Embedded Software Developer Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

How To Become an Embedded Software Developer

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

Education

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.

Advancement

Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.

Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.

Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.

Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.

Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.

Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

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Average Salary$82,374
Job Growth Rate21%

Embedded Software Developer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Embedded Software Developer

Top Careers After Embedded Software Developer

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Average Salary for an Embedded Software Developer

Embedded Software Developers in America make an average salary of $82,374 per year or $40 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $108,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $62,000 per year.
Average Salary
$82,374

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Sunnyvale, CA
Salary Range103k - 155k$127k$126,610
Redmond, WA
Salary Range90k - 133k$110k$109,715
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range80k - 113k$96k$95,589
Natick, MA
Salary Range76k - 114k$94k$93,546
Washington, DC
Salary Range74k - 109k$91k$90,534
Flagstaff, AZ
Salary Range73k - 109k$90k$89,830
$55k
$155k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Embedded Software & Firmware Openings
Embedded Software & Firmware Openings
Aerotek
Aerotek
11/20/2020
11/20/2020
$100,00011/20/2020
$100,000
Embedded Developer
Embedded Developer
Management Decisions, Inc.
Management Decisions, Inc.
04/20/2020
04/20/2020
$120,00004/20/2020
$120,000
Embedded Software Developer
Embedded Software Developer
Randstad
Randstad
02/21/2020
02/21/2020
$114,78502/21/2020
$114,785
R&D Embedded Software Developer
R&D Embedded Software Developer
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
02/21/2020
02/21/2020
$69,50002/21/2020
$69,500
Embedded Software Developer
Embedded Software Developer
Greenlight Professional Services (GPS)
Greenlight Professional Services (GPS)
01/27/2020
01/27/2020
$146,09001/27/2020
$146,090
See More Recent Salaries

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Embedded Software Developer Demographics

Gender

male

78.1 %

female

15.8 %

unknown

6.1 %

Ethnicity

White

55.5 %

Asian

28.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Korean

33.3 %

Chinese

11.1 %

German

11.1 %
See More Demographics

Embedded Software Developer Education

Degrees

Masters

51.6 %

Bachelors

40.4 %

Doctorate

3.7 %

Top Colleges for Embedded Software Developers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

3. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

6. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Enrollment
33,495

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,353
Enrollment
24,841

10. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Embedded Software Developer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.5% of embedded software developers listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For an Embedded Software Developer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an embedded software developer. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Texas, and Massachusetts. Embedded software developers make the most in California with an average salary of $117,707. Whereas in Washington and Texas, they would average $108,944 and $94,116, respectively. While embedded software developers would only make an average of $93,549 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Embedded Software Developer Jobs:
1,853
Highest 10% Earn:
$157,000
Location Quotient:
1.61
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Embedded Software Developer Jobs:
7,682
Highest 10% Earn:
$173,000
Location Quotient:
1.51
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Embedded Software Developer Jobs:
1,649
Highest 10% Earn:
$135,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Embedded Software Developer Employers

1. Ford Motor Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$86,224
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
49+
2. Fortinet
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$120,610
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
33+
3. General Motors
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$85,816
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
21+
4. Robert Bosch
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$88,397
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
9+
5. BlackBerry
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$116,895
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
9+
6. Volt Information Sciences
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$91,627
Embedded Software Developers Hired: 
8+

Embedded Software Developer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020