A behind-the-scenes look at embedded software jobs
Coding, testing, documentation, configuration management, certification… embedded software engineering calls on a broad spectrum of skills. The many different aspects of this rapidly evolving line of work offer interesting career opportunities for candidates. Two Safran engineers share their experiences.
Laureline Le Duigou, 25, sees programming languages as a kind of “second language”. “I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to work in embedded software, so I made sure I chose the right curriculum,” she says. She studied engineering at ENSEEIHT(1), a French engineering school that offers a program in applied mathematics and computing. This involved several international internships working on a host of different projects, including anti-collision algorithms for drones and semi-autonomous humanoid robots. But she had her heart set on working in aviation. So she applied for a job at Safran Electronics & Defense and was hired in 2019 to work on developing real-time embedded software systems.
A semi-fresh start
Raphaël Ah-Kane, age 32, took a different pathway. While on a general engineering degree program at ENSAM(2), he was accepted on an end-of-study internship at Safran Electronics & Defense, where he helped develop software for the calibration of aircraft location beacons. He learned these skills on the job. At the end of his assignment, he was offered a job at Safran Landing Systems in Vélizy. ”The first project I worked on was a software upgrade for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 braking system,” he recalls. “It involved critical embedded software, which is subject to highly specific certification standards. This type of software development was completely unknown to me, but I quickly mastered the necessary skills!”
Building on skills
Having initially worked on an electro-optical surveillance system, Laureline is currently part of a team tasked with developing software for the JIM Compact family of infrared binoculars. “I specialize in coding. I apply the rules I learned in school but also the highly specific rules for defense software certification. This wasn’t something I was taught; I learned them from co-workers on the job. This year, I’ve been asked to complete a training program on embedded software systems with Safran University(3) to help expand my skill set. And at the same time, because the technologies and tools we use are constantly evolving, I learn something new every day!”
Interacting with people across the company
Meanwhile, Raphaël completed a training with Safran University shortly after being hired. After a few years’ experience, he was given responsibility for work packages in several successive projects. His role now involves coordinating a team, managing budgets and schedules, and organizing work to ensure quality, cost and delivery objectives are met. “It’s a job that requires coding and testing skills but also meticulous attention to detail and a thorough understanding of methodologies. Plus, you need good interpersonal skills because we’re required to interact with people in other job fields who contribute to embedded software systems, like mechanical, electronic and system engineers, as well as program managers, certification authorities, internal and external customers, suppliers, and so on.” In 2020, Raphaël joined the team in charge of developing the software for the Patroller drone, one of Safran Electronics & Defense’s flagship programs.
Promising career prospects
Since they joined Safran, both Laureline and Raphaël have experienced first-hand how important embedded software has become. Raphaël offers an explanation: “The number of projects is increasing all the time due to Safran’s contract wins and the growing volume of automated functions integrated into our products. What’s more, robust cybersecurity has become a crucial requirement, calling for specific developments.” As a result, Safran is seeking to hire more talent in this fiercely competitive job segment. What does the Group have to offer? Nothing less than unrivalled aerospace expertise based on proven methodologies, especially for defense certification. Young software development engineers would have everything to gain from joining us!
(1) École nationale supérieure d’électrotechnique, d’électronique, d’informatique, d’hydraulique et des télécommunications (Toulouse).
(2) École nationale supérieure d’arts et métiers (Paris).
(3) A degree program delivered by EUROSAE, which is also included in the internal embedded software retraining program launched by Safran in March 2021.
- © Safran