Full stack embedded engineering

Full stack embedded engineering
PCB design is only one part of full product lifecycle

What this term full stack even means?

If you ever wondered about creating a new product or doing a refresh of your old design you may have encountered classic conundrum regarding where to start.

In modern day and age technologies change rapidly, so it is crucial to know what options that we can choose to get the product ready.

Biggest question you can ask yourself is - what problem we want to solve?

Engineering is all about problem solving and your best friend is always an engineer - the whole purpose of that person is to make sure you do not have any of them!

Term full stack is usually used in web development - it is used for someone who can do both customer-facing glittery dynamic website, is able to learn new framework every week, and also someone who knows databases and efficient handling of the back-end of the infrastructure.

So we can say that full stack engineer is someone who knows every (or a range of) steps that will help you reach your goals. Understanding the customer needs is sometimes only part of it - because experienced designer will anticipate any potential shortcomings of the design, or even solve problems that whole system could have once we get into bigger scale.

Nowadays even embedded engineers can't forget about web development..

Person like this not only need to know HOW to do it, but also help you to decide WHAT and WHY we are doing that.

But for full stack embedded engineer the term expands a lot! Because the ground for embedded doesn't start at blinking LEDs or writing the code. It starts at the very beginning - The Idea.

When you want to create a website you mostly have to think about server-client relations. Of course server could be cloud based, there could be many different infrastructures involved, but in the end your front-end is usually limited to desktop, phone or tablet.

For embedded systems everything is a bit more complex... Ranges of applications are limitless, because they are based in reality - weather we are designing washing machine controller, a robot surveying concrete floor flatness, device controlling safety critical applications like backup power generator control for hospital, or data gathering device.

Sometimes environment makes you go creative..

Considering most things nowadays are “smart” and IOT you also have to know a fair bit about back-end and sometimes even front-end if you want to let users configure your product.

Incoming AI revolution is coming for us too! More and more chips are being developed using artificial intelligence accelerators, object recognition is getting more popular - even in kids toys, and we can only imagine what industrial (or military!) applications may be lurking in the fog.

This was UP - but if we go DOWN things are even more complex. Good product design starts with hardware - not only schematics, bill of materials or PCB design but the full product lifecycle process.

Recent even has taught us to not take anything for granted - component shortage has to be considered in designs that needs to be produced over longer periods of time.

This is all highly tied with environment the product needs to work in, EMC conditions, temperatures, humidity and many, many more potential problems can be solved with good engineering on every step of the creative process.

And even if we have everything well planned, we still have sometimes to put rails in front of our locomotive speeding at 88 miles per hour.

You make something great if you become the customer of what you create

Full stack embedded engineer is someone who knows a bit of everything that I written about above in my (definitely not exhaustive) list.

A good full stack embedded engineer is someone who managed to get through obstacles to deliver product to the end customer.

There is nothing wrong with being just embedded engineer. Specialisation will always be praised in every industry and focus is always a strong feat.

But I like being full stack - exploring ideas, finding solutions and helping others to solve their problems on every level - creating great products and making a change in the world with them.

So if you would like me to change your world, and solve your problems - do not hesitate to contact me.

Maciej 'sorek' Łoboda