When you hear the term “embedded systems”, you might have a confused look on your face, like me. To add to your confusion, if I told you that you use them every day, you would think I was crazy. But the reality is that embedded systems are a part of our daily life, despite our ignorance of it. They are in our washing machines, cars, printers and the more commonly used, our mobile phones.
So, what exactly are embedded systems? The answer to this question is simple and can be understood by even a non-techie. It is a piece of hardware or software, which belongs to a larger device, and performs a specific function within a fixed timed constraint, such as a traffic signal, switching from green to yellow to red at timed intervals.
They are built for the long run to work at maximum efficiency. Embedded systems usually belong in the following three categories:
- Standalone – Can function by themselves
- Real-time – Timed systems
- Networked – Work as part of a network such as motion sensors or security systems.
You can find these embedded systems in:
- Consumer electronics and household appliances – cell phones, washing machines, cameras etc.
- Industrial and medical equipment – scanners, assembly lines, etc.
- Automobiles – A/C, Anti lock braking systems, etc
- Aerospace and communication- GPS, satellite phones, routers etc.
The marriage between hardware and software has allowed for embedded systems to merge seamlessly into everyday life. The career prospects in this field are limitless, as you can have the power to create anything your imagination conjures up. Therefore, entering into this promising field means you can expect y our job role to include a variety of functions from designing to development and testing. For those aspiring individuals who want to work in the technology sector and wish to be part of changing the face of the future, a career in embedded systems can be both rewarding and fulfilling.