Getting started in embedded systems
I have been developing embedded systems for about 20 years. It was a natural evolution from exploring the insides of old radios and tape recorders as a kid. From there it wasn’t long before I took apart a broken Commodore 64 computer, figured out what chip was burned out and got it running again. Seemed pretty obvious to me. Going into electrical and computer engineering was an easy career choice.
I still have that old C64 manual with these schematics.
Embedded systems engineering skills
Embedded system design is interesting and challenging. It takes a wide range of skills. Ideally, you need to be versed in analog design, digital design, schematic entry, board layout, C, assembly and PC GUIs in C# or CPP.
That’s just the basic skill set. It also helps to have some knowledge of algorithm theory, digital signal processing, RF design, power electronics, communications theory and mechanical engineering. You never know what a customer will be getting you into.
Engineering students … pay attention in class!
What MCUs do I design with?
I’ve designed with many brands of microcontroller, but being with Cypress means I have good access to PSOC samples, tools and collateral. It’s a very good family of ARM based MCUs, with additional programmable analog and programmable digital logic on board. Due to this architecture I can typically accomplish things with PSOC that you cannot with other microcontrollers. Cypress recently merged with Spansion, meaning we have several new lines of ARM core processors. I am looking forward to designing with these new Cortex FM4, FM3, FM0 and Traveo devices.