ALL – WARE ENGINEER – Embedded Design -Software, Hardware or All Ware?

29 Mar



The blog “”Battle of the engineers” was quite interesting.  While I could notice diverse views in reader’s comments, I was also curious to know that most of them were united in saying – there are fundamentally two types of engineers – hardware and software.

Day by day, the density of components integrated into chips is increasing as the performance whereas power consumption levels are nose-diving. When large scale integration is yesterday’s buzz word, very large scale integration is today’s mantra.

Chips have become general purpose and it depends on the designer and the end application to decide how they want it to perform. The designer programs the chip to suit the application requirements.  Does this therefore mean that the designer is a software engineer?

If so, how do they know that the chip will function as required? Will things like the power levels and the necessary PCB layout techniques be taken into account? How is the hardware designed to comply to EMC/EMI standards?  Does this therefore mean that our designer is in fact a hardware engineer?

I think the answer could be that the designer could actually be both?  So this asks the question, “What do we call somebody who knows both?”  Like in cricket, where we have bowler, batsman and all-rounder, can we call the designer an “All-ware” engineer?

Where do we draw the line? Or is the line really necessary?

Sooner or later, every engineer, willingly or unwillingly needs to know a bit of software and hardware – the percentage of knowledge could vary.

So, as more and more intelligent devices are produced, it perhaps seems inevitable that Hardware and Software engineers will need to understand each others worlds.

Can we call this “All-ware engineer” an “Embedded Engineer”?

What are your thoughts?…

DesignSpark 22/03/12


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