Like many who got onto the IT bandwagon, I never got to utilize what I was trained in – electrical engineering. After a career of high-level application development (i.e. in the IT Industry), I’ve taken the plunge, into the embedded world – back to my roots.
It really is an exciting and much more challenging area to be in – compared with drudgery of enterprise software development (“fatware”) – where you don’t care about efficiency, you just slap on more memory, disk, cpu’s.
I have to thank the Slug for getting me into the world of embedded systems: embedded Linux, embedded hardware, ARM processors, 8-bit microcontrollers.
Surprisingly very little has changed since the Zilog Z80 (years ago) in terms of how they work. What has changed is that the CPU and all its peripheral components (RAM, EEPROM, Flash, USART, ADC, DAC, clock circuitry) have been all compressed into a single unit – the microcontroller (uC or MCU), the size of thumbnail, less than $2, consuming less than 1W (compare that with $200 and 40W of CPU used in PCs – I know it’s an unfair comparison, but today’s MCUs (especially ARM chips) where like the CPUs of 15 years back).