One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Two blog posts caught my attention this week. They are really about the same topic, yet they don’t really make sense when you look at them together.

I wrote the post “Elon Must Wants to Hire Me!” to show that embedded systems programmers are in demand. This is worthwhile stuff to learn.

My feeling was confirmed by The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: June 2017 . Check out the post. As always, C, the preferred language of embedded systems, is in the top 10 languages. Others come and go, but C and C++ remain in the top 10.

But, there is something in this Stack Overflow post New Kids on the Block: Understanding Developers Entering the Workforce Today  that feels wrong. According to the post, the majority of novice programmers are working on web development. Embedded Systems comes in a 8, just above “Other”. There are a couple of reasons this could be wrong.

First, Stack Overflow is great, but much of the content is directed at web developers. If members get great answers to web developer questions, and weak answers to embedded questions, the web developers stay. The community self selects to be mostly web developers.

Of course, you don’t believe me. Stack Overflow is awesomeness on the web incarnate. Well, here is the tag for Embedded. Few new questions, 26 this week, and many with 0 answers. The community had not formed here.

Second, there are jobs out there for embedded developers. From what I can see, just as many as there are for Ruby, Django, or JavaScript. The skills are in demand. So if we believe in the law of supply and demand, some portion of new developers must be going into embedded systems.

Third, because embedded covers so many domains and applications, many developers don’t identify themselves as embedded software people. They work on phone systems, or flow meters. Their startup is all about the IoT. It can all be under the heading of embedded. If they answered the survey, what would they say?

I wish more people would see themselves as doing systems, not single products. It would help best practices spread, and help with quality and security of all the devices out there in a more connected world.

Where do the embedded people congregate? If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments below.


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