2020 Salary Survey of Embedded Engineers

Other survey results:

Average income (estimated by respondents including benefits) by region:

Average slary for embedded engineers

In the USA here's salary by years of experience:

Average slary for embedded engineers

There wasn't enough data to create meaningful years of experience vs income for other regions.

Worldwide, we're, on average, 42 years old with 19 years of experience.

Average slary for embedded engineers

What's with the dearth of 45-49 year old engineers? The IEEE has long complained that for unknown reasons EEs leave the field mid-career, and I guess we're seeing that effect here. Probably those that remain engineers later in life are culled because the just love the field. In fact, on a scale from 0 to 3 (from "hate it" to "love it") the average happiness with our careers is 2.35, about in line with data from previous years' surveys.

49% of respondents expect a "Strong demand for engineers." 6% expect the demand to diminish and 43% expect the demand to remain unchanged.

54% of consultants report business is about the same as last year; only 14% report it getting better. The rest are seeing business trail off. Consultants' average rate is $104/hour, but the range is huge: $50 to $330 with a median of $82.

What about the effect of the novel coronavirus? (This data all is from the first three weeks of April and this situation is evolving rapidly). 2% have lost their jobs. Another 2% are not working and not being paid. Only 1% are not working but continue to draw a salary. 13% are still going to the office every day, which leaves a whopping 82% of us working from home. We're fortunate to have a career that allows such flexibility.

Many people left comments a few of the more interesting ones follows:

  • A trend I've noticed in my small corner of the world is moving embedded systems away from custom designs to embedded computers (embedded Linux/Windows IoT/Raspberry PI like boards) with FPGA handling the low-level hardware/firmware interface, and the firmware becoming more software-like.
  • Embedded software development does not have the sex appeal of machine learning or data science or mobile/web application development -- the stuff we do exists largely behind the scenes and you only even know it is there if something goes wrong -- which makes it tough to find recent college grads with an understanding of what we do, let alone an interest. Arduino is a blessing and a curse in this sense -- we've had candidates claiming to have expert knowledge based on some course/hobby work with Arduino kits, but no real idea of how a microcontroller actually works. , ,We've modified our approach (I work at a medical device company) to seek out strong _engineers_ that might not meet the skill requirements, but have the desire to learn and grow, and mentor them to build the missing skills. This is higher up-front cost with longer time to payoff, but it seems to be the easier route for us at the moment.
  • I actually find myself being more productive working from home. In fact, I start earlier and stop later. The only bad part is not having lab time with my Techs.
  • I think this Coronavirus will have a big impact on how things work in the embedded world, I really hope that managers embrace remote working and automation. In my current project all of the tools are manual because nobody expected to work remotely, so I hope this could be used to change that mindset and start working more efficiently by allowing time for automating tools.
  • I work for a company that makes medical equipment, so things are currently (for all the wrong reasons) going pretty well. It is very good to see on of my devices being used to save lives.
  • I'm the exception to about every rule there is. I graduated college at the age of 45 with the ""wrong"" degree (physics) and have still managed to succeed in this business. I've never had trouble finding a job. I've seen the age discrimination, but there are lots of companies who need engineers and don't care how old you are. They care that you a) know what you are doing and b) intend to keep it that way.
  • Working from home during the current coronavirus pandemic, if find that the transition from being in the office, surrounded by my co-workers, has been much easier that I ever thought it would be.
  • In this time, I've been building a new product and taking advantage of the downtime. It won't be like this forever. I'm learning new programming languages and furthering my abilities the best I can, prepping for my return to work.
  • Looking back on my career as I near retirement, I'm very happy I chose this career. I've seen some cool stuff over the years. However, I'm not sure I'd recommend the same career to younger folks. It seems few companies have any respect for your person time and family life.