It's the Thanksgiving holiday where MCC is based in the US. Time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and in many households, time to overindulge in turkey dinners and Fall harvest foods. It's also a good time to stop, reflect, and be thankful.
The community in which I live has lopsided demographics, with a high percentage of older, retired persons living here. While most of them have families, there are many, like me, whose families are far away or hard to reach. It's tough to be alone on a holiday. So, in gratitude for the friendship and community spirit we have found here, my wife and I host a pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner celebration for those who cannot be with family.
In the spirit of the holiday, I would like to propose that members of the MCC community take a moment to reflect on the things we as a group have to be thankful for. One of the things I see that can go on that list is the unprecedented opportunities now emerging for us as developers.
When I started out in this field, I would often astound clients with what could be accomplished quickly using a microprocessor or MCU in a design. I could often change system behavior with a few simple patches to the code right there in front of their eyes. For those who knew nothing about these devices (they were pretty new, then) I looked like a wizard.
For a number of years thereafter, microcontrollers, and the whole idea of embedded computing, emerged as a whole new field of development. Trade shows and publications dedicated to expanding the understanding and expertise of developers using these devices appeared, and grew to substantial size.
Nowadays, MCUs have become a standard part of the development landscape, and the frenzy and excitement of those earlier years has abated. In other words, MCUs became rather ho-hum.
But the situation has changed in the last year or so. Once again, MCUs are at the center of what promises to be an exciting and opportunity-filled time.
Several things have happened to re-kindle a rush of enthusiasm for MCU development. One is the open hardware movement through such designs as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Those have brought awareness of MCUs and their role in modern electronic design to large numbers of folks, resulting in an explosion of creativity, as well as an appreciation of the technology.
Another thing that has happened is the advent of low-power, low-cost MCUs, with sufficient processing capability to handle the complexities of Internet and other network communications. Now, the Internet of Things is a real and viable opportunity for innovative MCU-based designs that leverage the ability to communicate worldwide and access immense data resources. And there are fortunes to be made.
There is also a jump in the intelligence of automotive systems underway. MCU-based designs are replacing mechanical ones for control of engines, steering, braking, instruments, and even windows. Cars are obtaining the ability to sense their environment and react, with or without driver involvement. They can even notice when the driver is not paying attention to driving tasks and demand more interaction. And, MCUs will continue to take over automotive functions as well as add new capabilities.
For us as a community, this means a surge in the demand for MCU developers, as well increasing opportunities to work on interesting and exciting projects. I, for one, am thankful that our field is seeing such times.
What are you thankful for?