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Top 10 Firmware Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for firmware engineers and advice on how to choose the best one for your career.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for a firmware engineer in the job market because they demonstrate that the engineer has a certain level of knowledge and experience. By obtaining certifications, engineers can prove to potential employers that they have the skills necessary to develop and maintain firmware. Certifications also provide evidence that the engineer is up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the industry. This is especially important in an ever-evolving field like firmware engineering, where having current knowledge is essential to success.

This article reviews the top certifications for Firmware Engineers and explains how they can enhance a firmware engineer's career by providing additional knowledge and skills.

What are Firmware Engineer Certifications?

Firmware engineer certification is a formal recognition of an individual's knowledge, experience, and abilities in the field of firmware engineering. It is typically achieved by passing an exam that tests a person's understanding of the fundamentals of firmware design and development, including programming languages, microcontrollers, embedded systems, and other related topics. Having a certified firmware engineer on staff can help ensure that products are developed with high quality standards and are able to meet customer requirements. Furthermore, having such certification also serves as an assurance to employers that the individual has the necessary skills to develop reliable firmware solutions. As such, it can be a valuable asset when seeking employment or promotions within the industry.

Pro Tip: When pursuing a firmware engineer certification, make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field, as standards and technologies can change quickly. Additionally, take advantage of online resources like tutorials and practice exams to help you prepare for your certification exam.

Related: What does a Firmware Engineer do?

Top 10 Firmware Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Firmware Engineers today.

1. Certified Firmware Engineer (CFE)

Certified Firmware Engineer (CFE) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the development, testing, and maintenance of embedded firmware. The CFE certification is offered by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

The CFE certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as embedded systems architecture, programming languages, debugging techniques, and system security. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

To become a Certified Firmware Engineer, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having at least three years of experience in designing or developing embedded firmware and completing an approved course in embedded systems engineering or related topics. You must also submit a completed application form and pay the associated fee.

The cost for the CFE certification varies depending on your country of residence and whether you are applying as an individual or through an organization. Generally, the cost ranges from $400 to $800 USD.

2. Certified Embedded Systems Engineer (CESE)

Certified Embedded Systems Engineer (CESE) is a professional certification designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to design, develop, and maintain embedded systems. An embedded system is a combination of hardware and software that performs a specific function in an electronic device or system. The CESE certification is offered by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

The CESE certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as embedded systems architecture, operating systems, programming languages, networking protocols, debugging techniques, and safety practices. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes about two hours to complete.

To become certified as a CESE, you must first meet the eligibility requirements set by ISA. These include having at least three years of professional experience in the field of embedded systems engineering or related disciplines. You must also submit proof of your experience in the form of education transcripts or work references.

Once you have met the eligibility requirements, you can register for the CESE exam through ISA's website. The cost of the exam is $295 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees. After passing the exam, you will be issued a certificate recognizing your achievement as a Certified Embedded Systems Engineer (CESE).

3. Certified Embedded Software Engineer (CESW)

Certified Embedded Software Engineer (CESW) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual's expertise in developing embedded software applications. It is designed to recognize the knowledge, skills and abilities of embedded software engineers who design, develop and maintain embedded systems.

The CESW certification is offered by the International Society for Embedded Software Engineering (ISESE). To become certified, candidates must first pass an online exam consisting of multiple-choice questions. The exam covers topics such as embedded programming languages, microcontrollers and real-time operating systems. Candidates must also have at least two years of experience developing embedded software applications in order to be eligible for the exam.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on the country where it is taken; however, it typically costs around $500 USD. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and results are available immediately after completion. Once a candidate passes the exam, they will receive their CESW certification within two weeks.

To maintain their certification, CESWs must complete continuing education requirements every two years. This includes attending conferences or workshops related to embedded software engineering or completing online courses related to the field.

4. Certified Firmware Developer (CFD)

Certified Firmware Developer (CFD) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the expertise and knowledge of firmware developers. It is administered by the IEEE Computer Society, which is the world’s leading professional organization for computing professionals.

The CFD certification program consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical project. The written exam covers topics such as firmware development process, software engineering principles, embedded systems architecture, system-on-chip design, debugging techniques, and more. The practical project requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to develop a working firmware application using an embedded system platform.

It takes approximately 6 months to complete the CFD certification program. During this time, applicants must study for and pass the written exam as well as complete their practical project.

In order to get certified as a CFD, applicants must first submit an online application form on the IEEE website and pay the applicable fee. Once accepted into the program, applicants will receive access to course materials and instructions on how to complete their practical project.

The cost of getting certified as a CFD varies depending on where you are located in the world but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD.

5. Certified Firmware Professional (CFP)

Certified Firmware Professional (CFP) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the development and maintenance of embedded firmware. It is offered by the Embedded Systems Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and skills of embedded system professionals.

The CFP certification program consists of two parts: a written exam and an online practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as embedded systems architecture, hardware/software integration, debugging techniques, memory management, and communication protocols. The online practical exam tests the candidate’s ability to design, develop, debug, and deploy embedded firmware applications.

The entire certification process typically takes about four weeks to complete. Candidates must first register for the written exam through the Embedded Systems Institute website. Upon successful completion of the written exam, candidates are then eligible to take the online practical exam.

The cost for the CFP certification program varies depending on whether you choose to take both exams or just one of them. If you choose to take both exams together, it will cost approximately $1,000 USD; if you choose to take just one of them separately it will cost approximately $500 USD.

6. Certified Firmware Architect (CFA)

Certified Firmware Architect (CFA) is a certification program offered by the International Association of Certified Firmware Architects (IACFA). The CFA certification is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills and abilities of firmware architects who are responsible for designing, developing and maintaining embedded software.

The CFA program consists of two parts: a written exam and a hands-on lab. The written exam covers topics such as embedded systems architecture, firmware development processes, debugging techniques, memory management, system performance optimization, security considerations and more. The hands-on lab requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to design and develop an embedded system from scratch.

The entire CFA program can take up to 12 months to complete depending on the candidate’s experience level. Candidates must first pass the written exam before they can move on to the hands-on lab portion of the program. Once both exams have been successfully completed, candidates will receive their CFA certification.

The cost for taking the CFA program varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $2,000-$3,000 USD.

7. Certified Embedded Systems Designer (CESD)

Certified Embedded Systems Designer (CESD) is a professional certification program for embedded systems designers and developers. It is managed by the Embedded System Designers Association (ESDA), an international non-profit organization that promotes and certifies embedded systems design professionals.

The CESD certification program consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical project. The written exam tests knowledge of embedded systems design concepts, techniques, and practices. The practical project requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to design, develop, debug, and deploy an embedded system.

It typically takes 6-12 months to complete the certification process depending on the applicant’s experience level. Applicants must first register with ESDA and pay a fee of $200 USD before they can begin the process. Once registered, applicants will be given access to online resources such as study materials and practice exams that can help them prepare for the written exam. After passing the written exam, applicants must submit a completed project for review by ESDA experts in order to receive their CESD certification.

The cost of obtaining a CESD certification depends on how much time it takes for each individual applicant to complete the process. In addition to the $200 registration fee, applicants may also need to purchase additional study materials or pay for travel expenses related to attending workshops or other events hosted by ESDA.

8. Certified Internet of Things Professional (CIoTP)

Certified Internet of Things Professional (CIoTP) is a certification program designed to help professionals demonstrate their expertise in the field of IoT. The certification is offered by the Open Group, an international consortium of IT vendors and professionals. It is based on the Open Group’s IoT Reference Model, which provides a framework for understanding and implementing IoT systems.

The CIoTP certification requires candidates to pass two exams: one that covers the fundamentals of IoT and another that covers advanced topics. Candidates must have at least five years of experience in developing or managing an IoT system before taking the exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

To become certified, candidates must pay a fee of $1,000 USD plus applicable taxes. This fee covers both exams as well as access to online study materials and practice tests. Once a candidate passes both exams, they will receive their official CIoTP certificate from the Open Group.

The CIoTP certification is valid for three years from the date it was earned, after which time it must be renewed by passing both exams again or completing continuing education credits.

9. CompTIA A+ Certification for Hardware and Networking Professionals

CompTIA A+ Certification is a globally recognized certification for hardware and networking professionals. It is designed to validate the skills necessary to install, configure, diagnose, maintain, and repair computer systems. The certification is vendor-neutral and covers a wide range of hardware components and software technologies.

To get CompTIA A+ Certification, you must pass two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). Both exams are 90 minutes long and consist of multiple-choice questions. The exams cover topics such as security, networking, mobile devices, operating systems, troubleshooting, customer service, and more.

It typically takes about three months to study for the CompTIA A+ Certification exams. However, the amount of time it takes will depend on your individual learning style and experience with computers. It is recommended that you have at least nine months of hands-on experience in the IT field before attempting the exams.

The cost of CompTIA A+ Certification varies depending on where you take the exam. Generally speaking, it costs around $200 per exam or $400 for both exams combined. You can also purchase practice tests for an additional fee if you want to prepare for the exam more thoroughly.

Once you have passed both exams successfully, you will be awarded your CompTIA A+ Certification which is valid for three years from the date of issue. To maintain your certification status after this period expires, you must retake the two exams or complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

10. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: IoT

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: IoT (MCSE: IoT) is a certification program designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills in developing, managing, and maintaining Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. It is an advanced-level certification that requires a combination of hands-on experience and technical knowledge.

The MCSE: IoT certification requires individuals to pass two exams: Exam 70-537 – Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack and Exam 70-532 – Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions. The exam topics include developing cloud applications, designing cloud infrastructures, deploying cloud services, managing cloud resources, configuring hybrid clouds, and troubleshooting cloud solutions.

It typically takes around three months to prepare for the MCSE: IoT certification exams. Individuals should have at least six months of experience working with Azure or related technologies before attempting the exams. It is also recommended that they have a basic understanding of Windows Server technologies such as Active Directory and Hyper-V.

To get the MCSE: IoT certification, individuals must first register for the two required exams through Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers. Once registered, they can begin studying for the exams using Microsoft's official training materials or any other third-party resources available online or in print form. After passing both exams, individuals will receive their MCSE: IoT certificate from Microsoft directly via email within five business days.

The cost of taking the MCSE: IoT certification exams varies depending on which testing center you choose and which country you are located in. Generally speaking, each exam costs around $165 USD plus taxes if applicable.

Do You Really Need a Firmware Engineer Certificate?

No, you do not necessarily need a firmware engineer certificate to be successful in the field. A firmware engineer certificate is a valuable asset and can give you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs, but it is by no means a requirement. With the right experience and skills, you can still be successful without having a certificate.

Having strong knowledge of engineering principles, coding languages, and software development processes are essential for any aspiring firmware engineer. You should also have experience with embedded systems development and debugging hardware/software issues. It’s important to have good problem-solving skills as well as an understanding of electronics and computer architecture.

Having a firmware engineer certificate may help demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the field, but it isn’t necessary if you have the right skillset. Employers will look at your past work experience and portfolio when evaluating candidates, so make sure that you have tangible proof of your capabilities. You should also take advantage of online courses or bootcamps to gain additional knowledge in the field if needed.

In conclusion, while having a firmware engineer certificate is beneficial and can give you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs, it isn’t strictly necessary for success in the field. With the right experience and skillset, you can still be successful without one.

Related: Firmware Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Firmware Engineer Certifications

Q1: What is a firmware engineer certification?

A1: A firmware engineer certification is a certificate that demonstrates proficiency in the design, development, maintenance, and troubleshooting of embedded firmware. It is typically obtained through a recognized training program or by passing an exam administered by an accredited organization such as CompTIA or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Q2: What are the benefits of becoming a certified firmware engineer?

A2: The benefits of becoming a certified firmware engineer include increased job security, higher salaries, access to industry-leading resources, and improved credibility in the field. Certified engineers are also better equipped to develop new technologies and apply them in innovative ways.

Q3: How long does it take to complete certification?

A3: The time required to complete certification depends on the specific program or exam taken. Generally speaking, most programs require at least six months of study and practice before taking the final examination.

Q4: What qualifications do I need to become a certified firmware engineer?

A4: The qualifications for becoming a certified firmware engineer vary depending on the program or certification taken. However, most programs require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience in engineering or related fields. Additionally, some programs may require applicants to pass certain prerequisites such as mathematics courses or programming languages like C++.

Q5: Are there any online resources available for studying for my certification exam?

A5: Yes! There are many online resources available for studying for your certification exam including tutorials, practice questions, and study guides. Additionally, some organizations offer online classes that can help you prepare for your certification exams.