Building an army of accredited engineers

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By eeNews Europe

The distributor has become the first ARM Accreditation Corporate Partner and will adopt the ARM Accredited Engineer (AAE) program worldwide throughout the company, with a particular focus on the ARM Accredited MCU Engineer (AAME) certification.
"We are actually training 300 engineers globally, 30 initially for the [Cortex] M3 and M4 programme and those will then be training and mentoring the other engineers by the end of 2014," said Steve Carr, Technical Director and Director of Vertical Markets at Future Electronics in Europe. "It isn’t just about having 30 engineers qualified. The main reason is we take a different approach to the market in terms of engineering resource, moving away from a customer-centric relationship to a client-based relationship."
To gain an Accredited MCU Engineer certification, the engineer must cover a broad range of topics laid down in the AAME syllabus, practise the implementation of ARM-based designs and then demonstrate knowledge in an exam independently administered by Prometric.
In becoming a worldwide corporate member of the AAE program, Future Electronics is extending its ability to provide advice and support on system architecture to manufacturers of embedded systems. "If we were doing it on an individual basis it would become rather ad hoc," said Carr. "We are doing all of that for them and making sure we are delivering consistency to our client base."
The first 30 (ten each in North America, EMEA and Asia) will provide training internally to Future Electronics staff to ensure that all field applications engineers who provide microcontroller advice and support to customers gain AAME certification by the end of 2014.
"We have to be more than an organization that’s offering spec sheets and devices, we have to be the trusted advisor based on our level of expertise," said Carr. "From the ARM training perspective it ensures that the clients get more than just internal training as this is an external qualification process. We want to remain relevant to our customers and we need to be at the forefront of the technology and continue to refresh our employees knowledge base. We need our engineers to be agnostic to parts but much more technology oriented to really understand what the best fit is for the customer at the front end of the design process"
"Help from an expert in ARM products at the beginning of a 32-bit project can help ensure that design teams make the right choice of architecture up front, and to avoid the mistake of choosing an under- or over-specified core," he said. "As ARM Accredited MCU Engineers, our FAEs will be better qualified than any others in the distribution channel to provide this advice."
Future Electronics’ corporate membership of the AAME program validates the company’s ability to support customers using microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M series of cores, including the ARM Cortex-M0, -M0+, -M3 and -M4.
The scheme will also be extended to the microprocessor skills next year.
"We have high end engineers that are skilled in RTOS and MPUs, we are able to do both and use our system design center, and we anticipate those guys going through to the AAE for A5, A7, A9 rather than the AAME. We haven’t looked at AAE yet, it will be 2015," said Carr.
Future Electronics provides technical support to OEM customers using a broad range of ARM-based microcontrollers, including devices from STMicroelectronics, NXP Semiconductors, Atmel, Microsemi and Cypress Semiconductor.

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