A firmware engineer is in charge of creating and installing software that allow electronic devices to serve their purpose. They ensure that the software installed has no glitches and update it in accordance with a company’s needs. What does a firmware engineer do?
What is Firmware?
Firmware is a type of software or set of instructions that makes hardware work as it is intended to. In contrast to conventional software, it is inseparably anchored with the hardware, thereby making them both dependent on each other.
No hardware device would work without specific software written directly onto them. Most of the time, the firmware is stored on a flash memory, ROM, EPROM or EEPROM and cannot be easily changed by the user.
You can find firmware in almost every technical device, such as in smart TVs, smartphones, DVD players, digital cameras or even in your car.
Is Firmware embedded software?
Firmware is a subset of computer software and is primarily used to control an embedded system. While firmware can be considered to be embedded software, the reverse is not true.
Responsibilities of a Firmware engineer
Firmware engineers are primarily responsible for developing and implementing software for industry specific hardware. They design firmware solutions based on company or project needs and allocate the resources needed to complete programming projects.
They design detailed firmware plans and make sure that the firmware is always functional and up-to-date. These engineers also evaluate existing firmware performance and troubleshoot when needed.
A firmware engineer is typically also required to create instructional technical manuscripts for firmware operations and incorporate any feedback into firmware revisions.
They manage budgetary constraints, perform code reviews, assist in optimising firmware and when necessary, provide product support to customers.
What are the responsibilities of a firmware engineer?
- Developing and implementing software for industry specific hardware
- Designing firmware solutions based on company or project needs
- Allocating the resources needed to complete programming projects
- Designing detailed firmware plans
- Ensuring that firmware is always functional and up-to-date
- Evaluating existing firmware performance
- Troubleshooting firmware
- Creating instructional technical manuscripts for firmware operations
- Incorporating client feedback into firmware revisions
- Managing budgetary constraints
- Performing code reviews
- Assisting in optimising firmware
- Providing product support to customers
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Skills of a Firmware engineer
Firmware engineers are required to have exceptional programming skills, particularly when it comes to C or C++. They must also be familiar with Microsoft SQL Server and have excellent debugging skills.
These engineers must be familiar with embedded firmware design and have expertise when it comes to understanding hardware components and design.
They are experienced in hands-on development, data structures and algorithms and have a solid understanding of non-volatile storage technologies such as EEPROM, NVRAM and ROM.
Firmware engineers are also required to have excellent communication, documentation and organization skills and must have the ability to work in fast-paced, collaborative product development environments.
What are the skills of a Firmware engineer?
- Proficiency in programming languages such as C or C++
- Familiarity with Microsoft SQL Server
- Excellent debugging skills
- Familiarity with embedded firmware design
- Expertise in hardware components and design
- Experience in hands-on development
- Familiarity with data structures and algorithms
- Solid understanding of non-volatile storage technologies such as EEPROM, NVRAM and ROM
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong documentation and organizational skills
- Ability to work in a fast-paced, collaborative product development environment
- Strong analytical skills
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How do I become a Firmware engineer?
A Bachelor’s Degree is often the first step to becoming a Firmware engineer. This can be in Computer Science, Engineering, IT or any other related field.
Training and certification also go a long way and luckily, there are various certification programs and courses online for you to choose from. Check out some options for these down below:
- Introduction to Embedded Systems Software and Development Environments
- Firmware Development Training
- Foundations of Embedded Systems with ARM Cortex and STM32
- Embedded Firmware Essentials
The salary of a firmware engineer can vary depending on the role and industry they are in.
Entry-level engineers can earn approximately $66,000 annually. The average salary for firmware engineers with a few years of experience is $87,000 whereas for senior engineers, the salary can go up to $126,000.
In Germany, the salary is between €40,000 to €69,000 while in the UK, it ranges from £25,000 to £54,000.
How much do firmware engineers make?
How much do freelance firmware engineers make?
The average freelancer hourly rate of a firmware engineer is $86. Considering an 8-hour working day, the daily rate would be around $688 (freelancermap price index – June 2021).