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Become A Principal Firmware Engineer

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Working As A Principal Firmware Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $108,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Firmware Engineer 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.

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How To Become A Principal Firmware Engineer

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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Principal Firmware Engineer Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.9 years
Staff Engineer 4.2 years
Firmware Engineer 3.3 years
Firmware Developer 3.2 years
Embedded Engineer 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Principal Firmware Engineer
Consultant 1.9%
Top Careers After Principal Firmware Engineer
Owner 1.6%
Volunteer 1.6%

Do you work as a Principal Firmware Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$108,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$79,000
Min 10%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Median 50%
$149,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
San Carlos, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a Principal Firmware Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Principal Firmware Engineer in the United States is $109,075 per year or $52 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $79,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $149,000.

Real Principal Firmware Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Firmware Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jan 09, 2016 $182,300
Principal Firmware Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Mar 14, 2016 $170,000
Principal Firmware Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Aug 22, 2016 $168,000
Principal Embedded Firmware Engineer Sunculture Solar Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 16, 2016 $165,000
Principal Engineer, Firmware Development Microsemi Storage Solutions (U.S.), Inc. Colorado Springs, CO Jun 29, 2016 $160,333
Principal Firmware Engineer SK Hynix Memory Solutions Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 01, 2015 $160,000
SR. Principal Firmware Engineer Cadence Design Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 04, 2016 $157,477 -
$165,100
Principal Firmware Engineer Proteus Digital Health, Inc. Redwood City, CA Feb 22, 2016 $155,000
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jun 09, 2014 $155,000
Principal Engineer, Firmware Development PMC-Sierra Us, Inc. Colorado Springs, CO Sep 01, 2015 $154,911
Manager, Firmware Engineering Management Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Sep 01, 2013 $150,000
Principal Firmware Engineer Stec, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Jul 15, 2012 $150,000
Manager, Firmware Engineering Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Sep 27, 2013 $150,000
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA May 01, 2014 $144,206 -
$183,500
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jan 05, 2014 $144,206 -
$183,500
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA May 01, 2014 $144,206 -
$183,500
Principal Firmware Engineer Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC Santa Clara, CA Sep 11, 2016 $143,257 -
$150,000
Principal Firmware Engineer Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC Santa Clara, CA Jul 11, 2016 $143,257 -
$150,000
Principal Firmware Engineer Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC Clay, CA Jul 11, 2016 $143,257 -
$150,000
Principal Firmware Engineer Energous Corporation San Jose, CA Mar 14, 2016 $142,376 -
$164,382
Manager, Firmware Engineering Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Jan 18, 2014 $141,751
Principal Firmware Engineer HGST, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Dec 15, 2013 $128,000 -
$148,000
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Nov 22, 2013 $127,450
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Jan 20, 2014 $127,442 -
$183,750
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA May 01, 2014 $127,442 -
$168,300
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Jan 05, 2014 $126,547 -
$172,575
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA May 01, 2014 $126,547 -
$172,575
Engineer, Principal-Firmware Broadcom Corporation Matawan, NJ Dec 14, 2009 $125,846
Principal Firmware Engineer HGST, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 22, 2016 $125,600 -
$148,012

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Top Skills for A Principal Firmware Engineer

  1. Hardware Platform
  2. Device Drivers
  3. Architecture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Utilized the C/8051 languages for code which runs on an 8051 as part of a System on a Chip hardware platform.
  • Implemented device drivers for Phillips SAA7xxx EnhancedVideo Processor, Texas Instruments TVP5160 NTSC/PAL/SECAM/Component Digital VideoDecoders and Xilinx Spartan series FPGA.
  • Created system architecture, facilitated requirements verification and validation, and wrote product and architecture specifications.
  • Worked on Linux environment hybrid firmware development simulation and testing.
  • Optimized cache management on the base of ThreadX RTOS and ARMCC.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Principal Firmware Engineers

  1. New Hampshire
  2. California
  3. Washington
  4. Virginia
  5. Colorado
  6. New Jersey
  7. Maryland
  8. Massachusetts
  9. North Carolina
  10. Utah
  • (197 jobs)
  • (4,231 jobs)
  • (741 jobs)
  • (1,409 jobs)
  • (707 jobs)
  • (385 jobs)
  • (969 jobs)
  • (851 jobs)
  • (405 jobs)
  • (175 jobs)

Principal Firmware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

68.2%

Unknown

25.2%

Female

6.5%
Ethnicity

White

50.3%

Asian

25.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Unknown

6.3%

Black or African American

6.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Shan

50.0%

Italian

50.0%

Principal Firmware Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

10.4%

University of Colorado at Boulder

8.3%

University of Southern California

8.3%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

8.3%

Purdue University

6.3%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

6.3%

Boston University

6.3%

University of California - Santa Barbara

4.2%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.2%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.2%

Wright State University

4.2%

North Dakota State University -

4.2%

Colorado State University

4.2%

Oklahoma State University

4.2%

Stanford University

4.2%

University of Arizona

4.2%

University of Washington

2.1%

Indiana Institute of Technology

2.1%

University of Nevada - Reno

2.1%

Columbia College (South Carolina)

2.1%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

32.2%

Computer Science

27.0%

Computer Engineering

17.4%

Business

4.3%

Physics

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering

2.6%

Engineering

1.7%

Computer Engineering Technology

1.7%

Systems Engineering

0.9%

Architectural Technology

0.9%

Management Science

0.9%

Computer Information Systems

0.9%

Mathematics

0.9%

Fine Arts

0.9%

General Studies

0.9%

Computer Technical Support

0.9%

Engineering Science

0.9%

Mathematics And Computer Science

0.9%

Meteorology

0.9%

Computer Networking

0.9%
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Degrees

Masters

41.0%

Bachelors

38.5%

Doctorate

9.4%

Other

8.5%

Associate

1.7%

Certificate

0.9%
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