Today I got an email from JobStreet. Upon opening it, it was my old friend, Intel Penang, looking for a senior BIOS engineer. Due to my background, coupled with the dire situation in Malaysia to find experienced and competent engineers, a lot of MNCs are looking everywhere to hire the suitable candidates.
I recall BIOS engineer is one of the rarest animals in the engineering kingdom, but the salary doesn't seem higher because of that. During my days in Intel, our department had been looking for years for a BIOS engineer.
Usually BIOS is the software that starts once CPU boots up until the execution is handed to the operating system. A bootloader is part of BIOS, but there are other modules like POST (Power On Self Test) and device configuration (RAID, HDD boot sequence, etc.). In a nutshell, BIOS deals mainly with initialization, self-test, and configurations of hardware system.
BIOS engineers not only need to know programming well (especially code optimization because the memory on chip is limited), they also need to know protocols like I2C, SPI, etc., and have an adequate understanding of electronics. On top of all the above, they must have a lot of patience in debugging because at the BIOS level, even the CPU is not yet fully initialized, let alone the memory systems and other peripherals. With all the above requirements, a good BIOS engineer will need typical 5 - 8 years of experience to be competent, and you understand why they are so rare now? ;)
Back to the resume request, I thought for a while, recalling all the memories I had back in Penang. I shook my head and rejected the request.
It is time to move on.