Let’s rotate the board!

So I mentioned it briefly on my Twitter account last week; alas, my time here in Trondheim is beginning to come to a close. As of Monday, the clock has started its 3 month countdown to me being unemployed, homeless, jobless, on the streets, woe is me, etc., etc. – you get the picture. In December I’ll be home for Christmas, but also home for good.

Deciding to move back home was a very, very difficult decision for me; I love my work, the company, my coworkers, the lifestyle and everything else that I’ve gained over the last two years, but ultimately and realistically with a long-distance relationship and family and friends so far away it was always a time-limited experience anyway. Sadly it looks like my original plan to keep working as an Applications Engineer remotely is being thwarted by the machinery of the company legal department, which now means I’m scouring Aussie job sites. It seems my university professors lied to me; the job market for embedded system engineers in Australia looks absolutely atrocious. If you know anyone that’s hiring, please let me know (will code for food). I’m not above selling out my dignity for employment, and landing a awesome job right after finishing my degrees has left me without any experience in this whole “people networking” think I keep hearing about.


Over the last few weeks our department (when we’re not trying to poison each other, that is) has been playing the role of Avon Lady, flying out to meet and greet customers and help them out with their new and potential SAM D20 based designs. Normally we’re an unruly bunch not fit to be placed in front of paying folk, but now that we’re the site with the most knowledge of how the SAM D20 parts work from an applications perspective, management decided we needed to get cleaned up and shipped out. Cue hotels, both swanky:

German Hotel - Heilbrunn

And, well, German:

German Hotel - Berlin

Which had a lovely view of a giant wood pile to keep me occupied.

Got wood?

Actually, the first hotel made me very glad I was traveling alone; I’m familiar with the concept of having a window between the bed and the shower (for, ahem, obvious reasons) but hadn’t seen one before that lacked a shutter…or that also overlooked the toilet. Odd.

Not pictured from this angle: shower, toilet.

But in any case, the trips were a interesting. I was asked to give a technical presentation on the SAM D20 twice – something I wasn’t aware of, so I had to “karaoke” my way through it – but ultimately they went OK since I’m already intimately familiar with the chips. The customers seemed to appreciate me pointing out the outright fabrications and half-truths from marketing via my colourful Australian language, at any rate (hey, I pointed out all the good stuff, too).

My personal quirk is that I love to try foreign beverages at all opportunities, which led me to this glorious stuff:

Beer for Germans that don't like beer (or are kids).

Which is a non-alcoholic pseudo-beer drink aimed at kids. Not bad, at any rate. I did get one chance to down a glass of damned good German Weiss beer, something I’ve come to love since I’ve been in Trondheim – highly recommended.


On the coding front, I’ve been quiet due to all the travel, but still chugging along with our current reference design at work. It’s actually shaping up really well, and I’ve learned a heck of a lot about how to code for an actual real-world product, rather than just toy applications and drivers. Right now I’m in the middle of power optimization, something made quite difficult by the Xplained Pro’s Embedded Debugger that consumes variable (and quite large) amounts of current. Investigations ongoing.


The other day I released another simple Atmel Studio extension, a basic Maximum Stack Usage checker. It’s very basic and the operation is simple – it just paints the stack area with a known 0xDEADBEEF constant, then after you pause execution it can dump the memory and see where the highest overwritten value is and present it as a percentage. Most of the extensions I’ve made have been to scratch personal itches, and while this one has limited utility I still think someone else might get some use out of it.

I’ve also got an update to my Data Size Viewer extension to add multi-project solution support, which I expect to be pushed out early next week.


Comments: 4

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Good choice.

I once made a career bending decision not to accept a much better job that would take me too far from my family. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I gone, but I’m content that I made the right decision. For some of us family is priceless.

Good luck,
Joe (aka smokey)


Dean, you being an internet celebrity among us, AVR guys, I am pretty sure you’ll find some decent job in Australia.


Dean, I agree with Joe – you’ve absolutely made the right decision. I was took a 6 month stint about a thousand miles away from my (now) wife, thinking she would move and join me which didn’t happen. Life’s too short to think career is all that important.

You’ll be better than fine, of course, so remember this too will pass. Best of luck.


I’m one of those who has made too many job changes, very few of my own choosing. I wish I could say that this gives me deep insight into the whole job search thing, but, no way. Every time has been different and each fraught with its own challenges.

That said, you DO have a lot going for you. Youngish and good personality; university degree and some real work experience; internet personality and a bunch of people around you who would all give you glowing references.

Odds are, it won’t be easy (but it COULD be). Odds are, it won’t be quick (but it COULD be).
Odds are, if there is a job, you will find it. Odds are, you will come out on top, in the end.

Cheers and best wishes,
Jim (aka KA7EHK)


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Vital Stats

  • 35 Years Old
  • Australian
  • Lover of embedded systems
  • Firmware engineer
  • Self-Proclaimed Geek

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