Top 5 Embedded C Interview Questions For Beginners

Embedded C is a popular choice for developers working in embedded systems. This area of computer science is concerned with creating software that runs directly on hardware components like microcontrollers and microprocessors. Here are the top 5 Embedded C Interview Questions that you should be familiar with if you are a beginner applying for a programming employment.

  1. Embedded C: What is it?

An embedded system is a computer system physically embedded within another equipment or product. Embedded C is a programming language developed with this type of system in mind. These systems must operate in real-time despite having restricted resources like memory and computing power. You can find embedded systems in many products, from microcontrollers to Internet of Things devices, car systems, and medical equipment.

  1. What makes Embedded C unique?

Regarding writing code for embedded systems, few languages compare to Embedded C due to its unique characteristics. Embedded C has several valuable features, such as:

  • Low-level Programming

Embedded C’s ability to manipulate hardware registers directly makes it ideal for managing and configuring the hardware in an embedded device.

  • Memory Management

Features, like embedded C’s pointer manipulation and bit manipulation are crucial in embedded systems, where memory is sometimes limited.

  • Real-time Programming

Embedded C’s real-time programming capabilities are crucial for time-sensitive systems like those found in automobiles, airplanes, and factory machinery.

  • Hardware Optimizations

To get the best performance out of embedded systems, programmers need to optimize their code for specific hardware architectures, and this is where embedded C comes in.

  • Minimal Code Size

Embedded C code is often designed to be small and efficient because of the space constraints of embedded systems.

  1. Why are volatile variables utilized in Embedded systems in C? 

The ‘volatile’ keyword in C denotes a variable whose value may fluctuate at any time without intervention from the program. This is particularly relevant in embedded systems because the values of variables can be altered outside of the code’s usual flow by hardware devices or interrupts. If a variable is marked as volatile, the compiler will never attempt to optimize it out of memory and instead use the registers directly.

  1. What is a C pointer, and How does it work in Embedded systems? 

In C, a pointer records the address in memory where another variable can be found. Pointers are widely employed in embedded systems for low-level tasks, including reading and writing hardware registers and manipulating memory-mapped peripherals. Pointers allow for direct memory access, often necessary for embedded systems. In an interview, you might be asked about pointer arithmetic, pointer-to-pointer, and using pointers to communicate with hardware components in embedded systems.

  1. What’s the difference between Static and Dynamic memory allocation in C? Which is used in Embedded systems? 

The term “static memory allocation” is used to describe the process of allocating memory before program execution, typically during the compilation phase. However, dynamic memory allocation occurs at runtime and uses memory allocation techniques like malloc() and free(). Static memory allocation is frequently used in embedded systems to allocate memory at compile time and prevent runtime overhead when memory is constrained. The pros and cons of static and dynamic memory allocation and related concepts like stack and heap memory may come up in an interview.


These are just a few typical questions for beginners at embedded C job interviews. To confidently answer these questions during an interview, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of C programming and how it is utilized in embedded systems and have previous practical experience working with embedded C programming.