Challenges and Solutions from an Embedded Programming Bootcamp

Authors J. Pedro Amaro , Jorge Barreiros , Fernanda Coutinho , João Durães , Frederico Santos , Ana Alves , Marco Silva , João Cunha

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J. Pedro Amaro
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
Jorge Barreiros
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
Fernanda Coutinho
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
João Durães
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
Frederico Santos
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
Ana Alves
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
Marco Silva
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal
João Cunha
  • Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, Portugal

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J. Pedro Amaro, Jorge Barreiros, Fernanda Coutinho, João Durães, Frederico Santos, Ana Alves, Marco Silva, and João Cunha. Challenges and Solutions from an Embedded Programming Bootcamp. In First International Computer Programming Education Conference (ICPEC 2020). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 81, pp. 2:1-2:11, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Due to the proliferation of IT companies developing web and mobile applications, computer programmers are in such high demand that universities can’t satisfy it with newly graduated students. In response, some organisations started to create coding bootcamps, providing intensive full-time courses focused on unemployed people or individuals seeking for a career change. There is, however, a different set of skills that is becoming increasingly required, but is not addressed by those courses: embedded programming. In fact, the Internet of Things is connecting every device to the internet, thus making knowledge on hardware and C/C++ programming very relevant skills. A group of computer science and electrical engineering university teachers, in collaboration with several industry stakeholders, have promoted an embedded systems programming course in C and C++. This course is based on an intensive project-based approach comprising 6 months of daylong classes followed by 9 months of paid internships. After two editions, thirty embedded programmers, with no relevant previous programming experience, have been placed with the partners’ working force. In this paper, the course organisation and pedagogical methodologies are described. Problems, challenges and adopted solutions are presented and analysed. We conclude that in spite of the intense rhythm and demanding nature of the subject matter, it is possible to find the structure and solutions that keep students engaged and motivated throughout the course, allowing them to gain the required competences and successfully transition into a new career path.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Social and professional topics → Computing education
  • Coding Bootcamp
  • Embedded Programming
  • Career Change


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