IDC Worldwide Global DataSphere IoT Devices and Data Forecast states that the number of IoT devices is growing and is expected to reach over 41B connected devices by 2025. The embedded software market is expected to reach $127.5B by 2027, as a result of a rise in demand for electromobility solutions for electric vehicles and solutions for various wearable devices.
High demand for embedded software development services, in turn, leads to an acute talent shortage. According to LinkedIn, companies from the USA struggle to fill in 2,500 vacancies in the field as of October 2020.
No wonder that more and more companies are looking for embedded software developers overseas. But where to hire embedded engineers, what skills are required, and how to choose a reliable provider? Let’s find out.
Why outsource embedded development?
The industries that benefit from embedded solutions the most are automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare, telecom, etc. Businesses from these industries struggle to hire embedded engineers for new solutions development.
The increasing demand for embedded software makes embedded software developers highly valuable in the labor market. Glassdoor states that an embedded systems developer makes, on average, $45,363 a year in the UK and $87,621 in the USA.
Amid the global pandemic, when businesses are looking both to implement innovations and optimize costs, finding a reliable offshore or nearshore partner looks like a viable solution. What’s more, there are simply not enough skilled local professionals in the USA and UK to satisfy market needs. IoT Signals report by Microsoft presents the information that 47% of businesses surveyed do not have enough experienced embedded software developers to implement IoT solutions.
That’s why more and more businesses are looking for embedded engineers in the iT outsourcing destinations.
Where to look for the best embedded software developers?
Usually, companies consider outsourcing destinations such as Eastern Europe and Asia as spots with vast talent pools and modest rates.
Embedded software developers in Eastern Europe
Clients often consider embedded software providers in Eastern Europe, in contrast to India or China. Although the rates in Asia are lower, there are many factors that hamper outsourcing markets in the time of pandemic in these countries. Firstly, Internet quality is lower than that in Europe. Secondly, the cultural mindset of Asian engineers is not suitable for Work From Home mode, as they are more accustomed to working under supervision and monitoring. These and other factors make outsourcing to Asia a rather challenging endeavor.
Eastern Europe, in turn, offers reasonable pricing without compromising quality. This region is known for its strong tech education and a vast talent pool of qualified engineers. The destination is home to many experts in IoT, Big Data, Cloud, and others. In terms of embedded solutions development, there are over 170,000 C/C++ developers in Eastern Europe, according to LinkedIn.
Ukraine and Poland are the most developed countries in the region when it comes to embedded software development outsourcing. Let’s dive into the state of the embedded development market there.
Embedded software developers in Ukraine
On par with other countries of Eastern Europe, Ukraine boasts a highly-skilled tech talent pool. The country houses the second largest talent pool in the region, with over 190,000 software engineers. Among these professionals, there are 10,000 C/C++ programmers and 2,800 embedded software developers, according to LinkedIn.
The majority of these specialists work for outsourcing companies. There are 1,600 software development vendors located in Ukraine. What’s more, 13 of the Ukrainian companies were recognized by IAOP as the best outsourcing providers worldwide.
Ukrainian embedded software developers have strong technical skills and knowledge of programming languages friendly for embedded solutions: low-level languages such as Assembly, C, and C++, and high-level programming languages, such as Java, and Python.
Embedded software developers in Poland
Poland is home to the most significant number of software developers in Eastern Europe - 295,000 professionals. However, 40% of them work in the BPO sector, thus are not available for outsourcing.
Nevertheless, Poland remains a lucrative destination if you want to hire embedded developers. The country is home to 11 trusted outsourcing companies that offer embedded and IoT software development, according to Clutch.co.
The talent pool in Poland is also highly educated: Skillvalue recognizes Polish developers as among the top 5 most skilled in the world. In terms of embedded software development outsourcing, Poland houses 75,000 C/C++ developers as well as 5,600 embedded software developers.
Education and experience of Ukrainian and Polish developers are the key reasons why many businesses choose these countries as outsourcing destinations. But how to choose a reliable partner to hire embedded engineers from?
How to choose a vendor for embedded software development?
Here are vital steps and selection criteria you should consider while choosing a vendor to hire embedded engineers from:
- Compile a long list of embedded software development vendors you will analyze according to their services quality, expertise, and security standards;
- Keep in mind the size of your potential partner from which you will hire embedded engineers, as mid-size and large providers are more likely to have recruitment capabilities and resources you need internally;
- Look for a company with a substantial portfolio of successful embedded and IoT-related projects in different industries;
- Gather real customer feedback about shortlisted companies: you can use Clutch.co, Goodfirms, vendors’ websites, etc. to find client reviews and testimonials;
- Make sure your potential vendor complies with key international security regulations, such as ISO 27001:2013, PCI DSS, ISO 9001:2015, GDPR, and HIPAA. The latter is of utmost importance in the healthcare industry;
- Assess the skills of embedded systems developers your potential partner employs.
Requirements for qualified embedded systems developers
The tech stack of embedded software developers differs between projects and depends on product complexity and specific requirements. However, embedded systems developers need to have experience with algorithms, design patterns, data structures, as well as control systems. They also need expertise in software architecture and prototype design, firmware, hardware testing, and system integration.
Embedded software developers have to ensure the ultimate security on the project. Each stage of both software and hardware development needs to correspond to a wide range of security standards and regulations. For example, embedded software in the healthcare industry has to be as secure, reliable, and quick as possible.
The main goal of embedded software engineers is to exploit the hardware’s capabilities to bring the maximum benefit for the end-user. That is why the embedded software developers have to possess solid knowledge of the hardware they work with. An advanced embedded systems developer must understand how hardware components function to build solutions for a specific device.
When it comes to building a team for embedded projects, the core specialists that cover full-cycle embedded software development services with C++ are:
- Two-four C/C++ embedded developers (Lead, Senior and Middle);
- At least one hardware designer (Senior);
- One or more embedded QA specialists (Senior).
Skills that make a high qualified embedded systems developer:
- 3-5 years of experience with C/C++ programming;
- Knowledge of both basic protocols, such as I2C, SPI, UART, LIN. and advanced protocols such as SATA, PCIe, USB, CAN, MOST;
- Strong expertise in General-Purpose Operating Systems (GPOS), such as Linux as well as Real-Time Operating Systems;
- Experience with microprocessor and microcontroller architectures;
- Knowledge of networking technologies including Ethernet, TCP/IP;
- A strong understanding of the different types of memory, including RAM, ROM, and Flash.
Companies that benefited from outsourcing embedded developers
Embedded software development is widely used in automotive, manufacturing, energy, aviation, and many other spheres. Global companies, including Weinman, Cardo Systems, Anoto, Locinox, have chosen to use it as a competitive advantage. Let’s view these success stories in more detail.
Weinman is a company based in Germany that develops ventilation and defibrillation solutions for emergency medicine. In 2019, the company partnered with N-iX to extend their engineering capabilities. Our client wanted to hire embedded systems developers that have experience in healthcare projects.
N-iX professionals have been working on embedded Linux firmware development with C++ using the Qt framework. Our goal was to expand our client’s development capabilities and improve the time to market of the MEDUCORE Standard² solution.
Our developers have reinforced Weinmann's development capabilities and contributed to the product’s successful development.
Cardo Systems is a USA-based company that develops DMC and Bluetooth communication and entertainment systems for motorcycle riders. The company partnered with N-iX back in 2016, and the fruitful cooperation is still in progress.
N-iX specialists have performed software and hardware testing for a wide array of their connectivity solutions for motorcycle riders. N-iX gathered a strong QA professionals team to carry out functional and regression testing, hardware-to-hardware integration testing, and hardware-to-software integration testing.
Anoto is a digital writing company based in Sweden that engineers, develops, as well as markets mobile data capture solutions for handwriting. N-iX professionals were involved in the development of a range of Anoto products.
For instance, our engineers took part in the development of the Anoto Digital Pen, a combination of an ink pen and a digital camera designed to record everything written with the pen.
The pen recognizes a specific non-repeating dot pattern, printed on the paper. The non-repeating nature of the pattern means that the pen can distinguish which page is being written on, and where on the page the pen is.
Locinox develops mechanical and electro-mechanical components for fences and gates. This client is based in Belgium and partnered with N-iX to design and develop effective and secure both indoor and outdoor hardware for fences and gates from the ground up.
N-iX has provided testing and QA services on every stage of firmware and hardware development. Our professionals have applied a wide array of best practices and industry know-how to meet the complex technical requirements of the project.
N-iX specialists were responsible for prototype design, firmware, and hardware development, as well as development for technical documentation for the project.
Why choose N-iX as your embedded partner?
- N-iX has offices in Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, and Malta that allows you to tap into an extensive talent pool;
- Our embedded expertise covers hardware and firmware development. N-iX specialists ensure embedded software and hardware components successfully handle both internal and external factors that affect their performance;
- Our teams are skilled in embedded firmware development for consumer electronics, wearables, and industrial automation solutions;
- N-iX has a strong portfolio of embedded projects, including cooperation with industry leaders, such as Weinman, Cardo Systems, Anoto, AES corporation, Televic Rail, and many others;
- Our embedded software developers possess advanced knowledge of C/C++ as well as other low-level programming languages commonly used in embedded solutions;
- N-iX professionals build embedded products that meet international standards, including radiated emission, levels of electromagnetic interference conducted, and others.