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About a year ago I started working for a small company (10 employees). The position was as a python software developer for a cloud platform. My contract says I'm to work as a "python developer" However soon after having started I was put on a project to develop a C program for an embedded system. I'm the only one on the company working on this and nobody here have any knowledge of embedded development. When I was hired there was no talk of any embedded development.

I have never worked professionally with embedded development but have some basic knowledge from school and from projects that I have done on my free time. Nothing of that has been close to the complexity of this project however.

I've now been working on this for more than half a year and the project managers (that work on another company we are collaborating with) are starting to pressure me to finish the project. Which is not so easy when I don't have the skills or knowledge to really fix this but have to learn a lot on my own. I pretty much have to become a self-taught senior embedded developer. All the learning I have to do slows down development substantially.

Any ideas on how to handle this type of situation?

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    How short is the schedule? Have you suggested hiring an actual embedded developer to help you? Even if it's just an intern? Can you deliver a partially functioning software? Sometimes management is just worried you're getting nowhere, and not that you are not fast enough. – Mefitico Feb 7 at 18:19
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    Being thrown in the deep-end of writing embedded firmware is a lot. There are lots of small firms specializing in custom hardware/firmware turnkey projects for small companies in other spaces that do not want to hire on an embedded team. Is there any way you can approach someone else to assist as a consultant or contractor? The benefit of this to you is taking on more of an architect and project management role, good experience. – crasic Feb 7 at 19:42
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" are starting to pressure me to finish the project"

the nature of this question is simply

"in software what to do about deadline concerns?"

This is the most common situation, for software developers, in this universe.

100.000000% of existing software developers are feeling exactly what you say as we speak.

The answer is always the same in all situations,

  1. IMMEDIATELY (today, not tomorrow) give feedback being,

  2. State directly and clearly when you think it will be finished.

You just do these two things immediately.

That's all there is to it.

In the question you mention that you are learning some specifics to support the project at hand. This is completely normal in software.

In the question you mention that you have some lack of confidence, doubt, about the project. You must simply leave that on the side of the road. Using either verbal words or an email, simply do what it says in points (1) (2) above.

So to be clear, the OP should give very regular status updates, telling what they have just done, what they intend to do next, and any issues they've hit.

Very regular means MORE THAN once a week.

It's that simple. Do that and there are no issues at all.

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    I agree, except I would add to it that the OP should give very regular status updates, telling what they have just done, what they intend to do next, and any issues they've hit. – thursdaysgeek Feb 7 at 18:32
  • that comment is SO GOOD it has magically appeared in the answer. +1000000 – Fattie Feb 7 at 18:35
  • I followed this advice. Got told that apparently there had been a deadline on this project that they had never told me about and that it had just been passed. I was then told that I have 1/3 of the time I estimate that it will take to finish the project to fix it. I guess I will have to do a lot of unpaid overtime and update my resume just in case. – CastleDown Feb 12 at 17:27
  • Don't do a minute of unpaid overtime , @CastleDown . What are they going to do - fire you? They desperately need you. Worker's Rights! – Fattie Feb 12 at 18:08
  • "100.000000% of existing software developers are feeling exactly what you say as we speak" - be careful, that's a floating point number and therefore inexact :-) – Mawg Feb 13 at 12:53

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