Information Technology Careers | Firmware Engineer

Firmware Engineer

Career Area: Information Technology

Occupation Group: Network and Systems Engineering

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Firmware Engineer earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $100,161

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $108,104

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Develops the programmable content in electronic hardware devices. Works for a hardware company developing software for each hardware platform. Alters, organizes and models the functionality of software for a variety of industries, including the automotive, health care and consumer electronics industries.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina67+11.4%
Nationwide4971+9.3%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Firmware Engineer is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Teamwork / Collaboration: Experience working in collaborative efforts with a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.
  • Writing: Experience expressing business messages effectively in written form. This may include planning drafting and revising as necessary.
  • Troubleshooting: Troubleshooting or dpanneuring is a form of problem solving, often applied to repair failed products or processes on a machine or a system.
  • Problem Solving: Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Firmware: Working experience of Firmware. In electronic systems and computing, firmware is a computer program that provides the low-level control for the device's specific hardware. Firmware can either provide a standardized operating environment for the device's more complex software (allowing more hardware-independence), or, for less complex devices, act as the device's complete operating system, performing all control, monitoring and data manipulation functions.
  • C++: C++ (pronounced cee plus plus ) is a general-purpose programming language.
  • Embedded Systems: An embedded system is a computer system with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system, often with real-time computing constraints.
  • Software Development: Software development is the process of computer programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications and frameworks resulting in a software product.
  • Debugging: Debugging is the process of finding and resolving of defects that prevent correct operation of computer software or a system.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Firmware Engineer that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • VHSIC hardware description language (VHDL): VHDL (VHSIC Hardware Description Language) is a hardware description language used in electronic design automation to describe digital and mixed-signal systems such as field-programmable gate arrays and integrated circuits.
  • Linux Kernel: Working experience of Linux Kernel, which is an open-source monolithic Unix-like computer operating system kernel.
  • Board Bring-Up: Working experience of Board Bring-Up. Board bring-up is a phased process whereby an electronics system, inclusive of assembly, hardware, firmware, and software elements, is successively tested, validated and debugged, iteratively, in order to achieve readiness for manufacture.
  • Assembly (Programming Language): Working experience of Assembly (Programming Language), which is a low-level programming language for a computer, or other programmable device, in which there is a very strong (but often not one-to-one) correspondence between the language and the architecture's machine code instructions. Each assembly language is specific to a particular computer architecture. In contrast, most high-level programming languages are generally portable across multiple architectures but require interpreting or compiling.
  • Verilog: Verilog, standardized as IEEE 1364, is a hardware description language (HDL) used to model electronic systems.

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills:

  • VHSIC hardware description language (VHDL): VHDL (VHSIC Hardware Description Language) is a hardware description language used in electronic design automation to describe digital and mixed-signal systems such as field-programmable gate arrays and integrated circuits.

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years13%
3 to 5 years56%
6 to 8 years19%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Firmware Engineer
  • Senior Firmware Engineer
  • Embedded Systems Engineer
  • Embedded Firmware Engineer
  • Remote Senior Firmware Engineer

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