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Embedded Systems

With the ongoing recession, job prospects in the IT industry are getting dim. But that’s the case only for general computer jobs, the demand for specialists is still going strong. There is a requirement for trained professionals in fields like animation, hardcore programming, data warehousing and embedded systems programming.

What are embedded systems?
Embedded systems are devices used to monitor, control or assist the operation of a certain device. All embedded systems are or include computers or microprocessors. An embedded system is a closed system where once programmed, the software cannot be changed; this is what makes it different from your PC.

Campus of University of California, Irvine, where students spend four months studying embedded technology

Programming of embedded systems requires a knowledge of both the hardware & programming. Some common devices that use embedded systems are cell phones, digital diaries, PDAs, TVs, set-top boxes, smart chips & even the chip that controls your car’s fuel injection system. Embedded systems are here to stay, they already form an integral part of our daily lives & as time goes by will be even more essential. You can already surf the net from your cell & it won’t be long before you can monitor your air conditioner from your mobile as well.

What advantage does India have over the rest of the world?
Though we are a little late, the train hasn’t left the station yet. What comes to our advantage is the fact that Indian programmers know their software’s like the back of their hand, and integrating them with the hardware requires just that kind of intimate knowledge.

Where can I learn embedded systems programming?
Courses are offered at: Micromax Informatics Ltd
27, Crescent House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, (Next To Metro Shoes), Colaba Causeway, Mumbai – 400 001. Tel: 91-22-22043411, 22043412, 22043455
Email: mumbai@micromaxinfo.com
Website: http://www.micromaxinfo.com/contact.htm. CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing)
Pune University Campus: Ganesh Khind, Pune – 411 007Tel:+91-20-569-4000 /01/02/03

What are the eligibility criteria?
You need to be an engineering or science graduate with a percentage of above 60 and a working knowledge of C for the Micromax Infomatics course. For the CDAC course, you need to have an engineering diploma with 3 years experience or an engineering degree. There is a national level CET which is basically a 120 minute objective aptitude test. For further info check http://www.cdacindia.com/html/misc/desd/desd.asp.

How much does it cost?
Micromax Informatics Ltd Charges USD 4100 (approximately Rs 2,00,000) for a course which is partly held in India (6 months) and partly at the University of California, Irvine (4 months). The CDAC course costs Rs 40,000.

What are the job prospects abroad?
In India, companies like Reliance, Texas Instruments (Bangalore), Infosys, Wipro, TAT ELXSI, Mistral Software, HCL are currently hiring embedded programmers. Abroad, all cell phone companies and phone service provider companies continuously require embedded programming professionals. After the WTC incident, it has become increasingly hard to get employment in the US but there are still plenty of job opportunities in South East Asian countries. Companies like LG, Samsung, Motorola etc. hire a lot of embedded programmers.

What’s the pay scale like?
You start off with around Rs 30,000 a month. Then on, you get paid according to experience.