What is a Firmware Engineer?

What is a Firmware Engineer

Have you ever wondered who is in charge of programming technology and devices and getting them to function the way that we expect them to? Maybe you have wondered before how certain computer software works as well as it does.

Well, chances are that firmware engineers are the ones that are behind it! Firmware engineers are responsible for working on content that is programmable. This means that they work on a variety of different devices and make them function.

Continue reading to learn about what firmware engineers are, what duties they are responsible for, and how you can possibly become one in the future.

Very Important Engineers

What are Firmware Engineers?

Before we go over what a firmware engineer is, we should go over what firmware is. 

Programmable content, which provides the device with instructions for how it should operate, that is found in a variety of different devices from phones and remove controls, to medical devices and anything else that requires programming is known as firmware.

Firmware engineers are individuals who create the instructions that these devices are supposed to follow, and they implement them into the device via instructions known as algorithms. These algorithms that the firmware engineer creates are what the devices use in order to function and operate.

You can think of firmware engineers as the people who give devices and different forms of technology their “brains”, or the set of codes, algorithms, and instructions which the device will use so that it can function as intended. Without firmware engineers, these devices would not be able to function and would therefore be totally useless. 

Another responsibility that falls under the jurisdiction of a firmware engineer is that they may also need to change and organize the software of a device, in addition to modeling the device, for a bunch of different types of industries. 

Firmware engineers can find themselves working in a variety of fields such as the health care or automotive industry, and of course they can find work in industries such as consumer electronics.

Firmware engineers are not to be confused with software engineers. Software engineers tend to create software or applications that will run off of the hardware and available software of a computer.

On the other hand, firmware engineers are responsible for working with the hardware of a computer system in order to establish a software that will act as the groundwork for any later software that will be added on. 

In essence, firmware engineers create the brain of the system while software engineers merely build off of the work and framework that firmware engineers have already laid out.

What are the Duties of a Firmware Engineer?

Those who work as a firmware engineer hold many different responsibilities pertaining to programming and technology. In general, they are in charge of creating or developing software that is to be used in specific systems for industry, and then implement this software into the application or system so that it may be used.

Not only do firmware engineers handle the planning of software applications from when they are created up until they are put into use, but they also actively make improvements to the software and manage it.

They perform these responsibilities either by allocating certain resources to where they need to be in order to accomplish certain programming projects, as well as designing plans that are used in order to fully ensure that the firmware is functioning exactly as intended.

A common task that firmware engineers find themselves tackling is the preparation as well as the production of technical manuscripts that will provide users with information on how to use the firmware properly and operate it to its full extent.

Firmware engineers may also find themselves actually traveling to the location of some customers or team members in order to offer them support on how to install the applications that they have developed, as well as how to operate such applications.

Many firmware engineers find themselves working in offices or laboratories, though this may vary depending on the job and current project that they may have. As stated previously, firmware engineers may find themselves traveling quite a lot if their employer calls for it.

Those who are working under consulting firms or various providers of software may find themselves traveling a good amount in order to perform advisory roles for customers who are trying to use the software, and also perform managerial roles.

What are the Requirements to Become a Firmware Engineer?

For starters, firmware engineers will need to earn certificate programs that teach them skills that are related to technological developments, as well as skills that will help them with finding a career within the industry.

Firmware engineers may earn this by graduating with a degree in computer engineering. This course will help the individual to gain an understanding of how to design firmware for hardware systems.

There actually is not a specific degree that is required for someone to enter a job as a firmware engineer, though employers will often look for individuals who hold a degree in computer science or information science, as these courses give them a base understanding of what is needed.

Some jobs actually will require a graduate degree before they accept new aspirants. In general, employers look for individuals who have the most programming ability. This skill is the most important thing that employers look for, and it will dictate whether or not an employer hires an individual.

Thankfully, one may obtain programming skills while still in school, as well as through training and various internship opportunities that arise. Some employers may even offer aspiring firmware engineers the option to take classes and trainings in order to prepare them for the position.


So, overall, firmware engineers are responsible for creating and developing software which a computer system, device, or other forms of technology will utilize in order to function. They handle software from the moment that it is on the planning table until it is completely finished and sent out.

They also perform advisory roles and interact with customers in order to teach how to use the software that has been developed in a proper way, as well as perform installation of said software into devices and systems.

Should one desire to become a firmware engineer there are certain steps that need to be taken such as getting the proper education as well as training. 

Once these steps are complete an individual may begin their work as a firmware engineer and begin to build up tenure and repertoire throughout the various projects that they will inevitably work on in the following years.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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