Just starting out as an embedded software engineer? Or maybe you’re just looking to refresh your skills?

Working as an embedded software engineer can be tricky – you need a wide range of niche technical skills, along with an extensive understanding of key programming languages, real-time operating systems, and device drivers.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with this handy guide. Keep reading for our 10 embedded software engineer tips.

C/C++ Programming

The first tip on our helpful list is all about getting your C and C++ programming skills up to scratch. As an embedded software engineer, these common programming languages will be your bread and butter.

How do you get them up to scratch? There’s no cheat sheet here, unfortunately – you just need to do some studying.


The second tip on our list is another common programming language – Python. As you may already know, Python is a language for programming that is used at a high level. It’s considered a ‘general-purpose’ language, meaning almost all software engineers will need to know about it.

There’s no way around learning Python if you’re in the software sector. Luckily, there are many resources available online to help you learn about it.

Assembly programming language

Another programming language, assembly just means any programming language that is low level and has high correspondence between language instructions and instructions of the machine code.

Learning assembly will be a requirement for many embedded software engineer jobs on the market.

Linux operating system

Embedded software engineers may have to use the Linux operating system and its applicable programming languages – these are PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, Go, Haskell, Rust, and Java.

Linux also includes the traditional purpose-specific languages for programming that are targeted at scripting, system configuration, and text processing.

Real-time Operating Systems (RTOS)

If you don’t know what RTOS is, it stands for ‘real-time operation systems’, in which a software component switches between different tasks rapidly, to give the impression that more than one program is running simultaneously on one processing core.

Any successful embedded software engineer will need to know how to use real-time operation systems.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet-based Technologies

You’ll only need a basic understanding of this, but you’ll need to know how IoT can be used in conjunction with software.

There is more and more IoT devices being developed by the minute, so this is an important skill to have in your arsenal.

Microcontrollers, or MCUs

Following on from IoT devices, microcontrollers are part of the IoT world. They are a type of integrated compact circuit that govern specific operations in embedded systems.

As an embedded software engineer, this will become very important to your line of work.


A good base of knowledge to have is that of microprocessors – they contain the logic, arithmetic, and control circuitry that is needed to carry out the main functions of a computers’ central processing units.

Debugging skills

The last two tips on our list, starting with debugging skills, are quite general, but still very important.

Debugging is all about finding and removing errors in the program that is actually called ‘Debugging’. To use the platform, you need to identify the bug, then find the source and correct it, to make a program usable.

Ability to work with existing codebases

We’ve saved of the most important and difficult ones until last – working with existing codebases.

To get to grips with existing codebases, you first need to read carefully the unit tests, then refactor the code, introduce unit tests, and finally break the code. Don’t worry, breaking the code is just a way to see how things work – you can change it back afterward.

Bottom line

These are our essential tips for embedded software engineers. We hope we’ve helped you to outline a game plan for what you need to study up on.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We love talking about the jobs we recruit for, and just about anything else as well.