February 22, 2011 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment If you’re a math geek or a science nerd, you probably aspire for careers that can utilize your skills and provide you with mental stimulation. Apple, Google and Microsoft are always looking for bright, talented experts to join their companies. Imagine working for these three innovators in their specific areas of expertise. Planning ahead and getting the right education will give you the edge in this ever-expanding field of science and technology. Apple If you’ve ever picked up a smartphone (iPhone or Droid) you know that it uses touch screen technology. You also know that the major selling point for these types of phones is the apps that work with them. These apps are created using embedded engineering, one of the hottest trending careers for the future; and right now, there is a shortage in this field. In a recent article addressing this shortage, the path needed for this type of career is explained: Electrical engineers, computer engineers and computer scientists are all likely candidates for embedded-systems engineering positions. The electrical and computer engineers typically have some background in computer hardware and computer architecture. And even if they are not trained in software development, they can usually be brought up to speed in a few months. Today, a computer science education is more like information technology and focuses on database and Web design with a smattering of Java and data structures thrown in for good measure. The ability of a new hire to “hit the ground running” could save U.S. embedded systems companies millions of dollars each year. Working for Apple The iPad and iPhone have created a demand for embedded systems experts. If you snag a job at Apple, you can be one of the many employees who believe they are changing the world. Apple product launch days are exciting, especially if you’ve worked hard to get your part of the project completed. According to those who work there, everyone gathers in the cafÃ© and watches the event together. The employees believe in what they are doing and have a religious commitment to their projects. The benefits, according to most, aren’t as good as Microsoft’s or Google’s, but being part of something that revolutionizes technology outweighs the perks. Google If you’re interested in working for Google, software engineering should be your degree pursuit. Computer software engineer careers will grow by 38 percent through 2016, equaling 324,000 new jobs. These jobs will make, on average, $79,000 per year. The top 10 percent of software engineers make more than $120,000 per year. Computer software engineers generally specialize in applications or systems engineering. Applications software engineers develop specialized utility programs for computers, using programming languages such as C, C++, Java and Python. Systems software engineers develop and program an organization’s computer systems. Systems engineers are often responsible for setting up corporate intranets and networks as well as security and data assurance systems. A career in software engineering combines creativity, analytical thinking and technical prowess. Working for Google Google is ranked #4 in the Top 100 Companies to work for in 2010 by Fortune Magazine. In addition, Google announced in January of this year that it plans to hire a record number of employees, even more than the 6,000 they hired in 2007. On Google’s job site, they explain their work culture: Google is not a conventional company, and we don’t intend to become one. True, we share attributes with the world’s most successful organizations – a focus on innovation and smart business practices comes to mind – but even as we continue to grow, we’re committed to retaining a small-company feel. At Google, we know that every employee has something important to say, and that every employee is integral to our success. Another great way to find out what’s it’s like to work at Google is to watch some of their employee-created videos. Their perks are second to none: on site doctors, massages, creative work environments, free gourmet meals, and believe it or not free beer Fridays, just to name a few. Microsoft If you’re into research and development, Microsoft is where you want to be. Their innovative computer science research and technology is at the forefront of computer science and technology development. Microsoft is committed to advancing the state of computer science. Microsoft Research offers you the chance to work with world-class research colleagues on meaningful research and product incubations. It’s an opportunity to work on cutting-edge prototypes and help transfer technologies into Microsoft products. With a background in computer science and an interest in research, you will fit in well with other Microsoft innovators. Working for Microsoft Imagine free health benefits, free gym memberships at local health clubs, and free public transportation. These are just a few of the perks you will enjoy if you are hired by Microsoft. Some of Microsoft’s top researchers tell you what it’s like to work for them: Why I Work for Microsoft Research The path to these types of careers requires a natural intuition for math and science, and an attention to detail with a propensity toward perseverance and problem-solving. But if you’re lucky enough to possess those qualities and want to work for the “big boys”, your “cool” career can begin with one small step: get the right education. Do you have an idea for the next and greatest software application or iPhone app? Leave a comment and share your idea.