Embedded Design Engineer
- An active member of the element14 community, Shrenik won the 2014 Rocking Raspberry Pi Challenge with his Karaoke Machine.
- Shrenik has more than three years of experience as an embedded design and software engineer in India.
- During his final year of college, Shrenik received national recognition for his creation of a USB-to-USB Data Transfer Device.
Is there a time you can point to and say, “That’s when I wanted to become an engineer?”
I was the first engineer in my family, so there was no one I could turn to for guidance. No one was there to tell me, “This is what you should do to become a successful engineer.” I had no idea what my career would look like. The moment I decided that engineering was for me came when I got some exposure to technical subjects as well as technical fields where that knowledge was applied to actual work. Before then, I didn’t know much about engineering. I heard of mechanical engineering, but I wasn’t at all familiar with what engineers did.
Once I started my classes in college, however, I began to learn more and I decided to major in electronics engineering since electronics was always something I had a passion for. I learned about both the theory behind it and how to apply my skills practically, which was really important for me to understand.
What is your favorite part of your job and why?
What I like most about my work is controlling hardware with software because you have to understand both of them in order to make something work. Hardware showcases what you can do, what your capabilities are. With the right hardware you can make anything. Software, on the other hand, is the intelligence that is used along with the hardware. It’s fun making use of both of them to see what I can accomplish.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
With embedded software engineering, one of the problems you run into is figuring out what the cause of a problem is. It can be difficult to tell whether something went wrong because of the hardware or software. It becomes very challenging since you can’t start fixing an issue unless you know what caused it in the first place. For example, if I am building a sensor, it is important that I understand exactly what the software and hardware are both doing so that if something ends up breaking, I can pinpoint the problem. Although this is something software engineers don’t necessarily have to worry about, embedded software engineers deal with this problem a lot.
What is one of the most exciting projects you’ve had the opportunity to work on?
Before I graduated from college, one project I worked on was called, “USB-to-USB Data Transfer Device.” I got the idea for it when I had a problem transferring some files without my laptop. So I tried to come up with a way to transfer data without using a computer or any other device. The project proved to be very successful, but more importantly, it was something that sparked my passion for embedded design engineering.
What inspired you to participate in element14's DreamBoard Project?
I am not a fan of buying a new board along with new accessories for each application I am working on at the time. Instead, I wanted a board that was compatible with a wide range of applications. That way it could be used for all kinds of different things in the IoT such as sensors, connectivity, security and data management. A smartphone is one device that makes use of all these components. My board will enable developers to easily create applications for the entire ecosystem a smartphone functions in without having to buy different boards each time.
What motivates you?
I love the work that I do, so I don’t really view it as a job, but instead as more of a hobby. It is important to find a job that enables you to pursue your passion because then you really aren’t working anymore. Right now I’m in the process of building a device driver and as I work on it I’m not focused on anything else. Regardless of what is around me at the time, I focus on the project since it is something that I actually enjoy doing. I may not even know if it’s going to work in the end since one small error in a line of code is all it takes for something to go wrong. But I keep working at it because I am genuinely interested in figuring out what it takes to make the project successful. Once you do get it right and the device starts working like it’s supposed to there is no greater feeling.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of element14 Community?
I love the idea of an active online community because it inspires people like me to do amazing things. The fact that I have free access to an entire group of fellow engineers is very inspirational. I especially appreciate the one-on-one support the community offers. Whenever I pose a question, replies starting pouring in from other community members within minutes, which is something that doesn’t happen too often on other forums or online communities. That quick response rate from people interested in teaching you what they know is extremely helpful.
I view myself as both an engineer and an artist because on the element14 Community I get to learn about the capabilities of different products and think of new and innovative applications for them. Once an artist knows what a piece of technology can do, he or she can come up with an idea that takes advantage of that potential. Imagination is the key to innovation. Any expert can help you implement a piece of technology, but the hard part is thinking of something that has a positive impact on society. When you combine that exposure to a new piece of technology with an imagination that looks for a way to use it, you create great engineering applications.