FPGA Embedded Firmware Engineer

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), a national leader in scientific research and development, located midway between Baltimore and Washington, DC is seeking a FPGA Embedded Firmware Engineer.

Job Summary: Responsible for system analysis, embedded systems software/firmware development, development and integration of digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms, system integration, and testing. Work with or lead a team of engineers to develop a prototype, perform laboratory/field/flight testing to assess performance, assist in real-time and post-processing data analysis, write test plans/reports, and present the results to sponsors.


  • Perform VHDL firmware development targeted for Xilinx FPGAs for Electronic Warfare (EW), digital radio frequency memory (DRFM), distributed sensors, digital receivers, analog/digital electronics, wideband RF systems, etc. Key design elements include (60%):

High-speed data interfaces such as A/D capture, DDR memory, Gigabit Ethernet

Integration of VHDL cores such as Ethernet, FFTs, DDCs

Implementation of DSP functions such as FFT, interpolation, decimation, Polyphase decomposition, DDC, delay memory

Digital IF data formatting such as VITA standards

Digital hardware control (state machine, SPI, I2C, Ethernet, USB)

Participation in all aspects of design (hardware & software design, integration, and testing)

  • Perform systems analysis for design specifications and test results in a laboratory and field-testing environment (25%)
  • Brief, document, and report on FPGA designs, test plan, and test results (10%)
  • Analyze emerging technologies and their applications in EW (5%)

Note: This job summary and listing of duties is for the purpose of describing the position and its essential functions at time of hire and may change over time.

Required Qualifications: BS degree in computer and electrical engineering or a closely discipline with at least 5 years of experience in the following disciplines:

  • Digital signal processing of wideband RF signals
  • Digital signal processing of channelized signals
  • High-speed digital design experience with interface protocols such as PCI-e, Serial Rapid IO, Gigabit Ethernet, JESD, XAUI, etc.
  • VHDL design experience
  • Experience with Xilinx or Altera FPGA design
  • Experience of achieving timing closure in large FPGA devices
  • Digital design experience including interfacing to hardware, peripherals and processors
  • Real-time embedded systems development
  • High-speed digital board design
  • Design for board level testability (JTAG boundary scan, etc.)
  • High-speed signal transmission line design
  • Multi-board analog and digital unit level design
  • Experience with object-oriented programming languages such as C , C#, Python, and Visual Basic
  • Experience with Chipscope, Vivado, and MATLAB/Simulink
  • Experience working in Linux environments

Desired Qualifications: MS or PhD in computer and electrical engineering, or a closely related discipline. Experience with embedded systems development on military and/or commercial systems. Familiarity with flight-testing, CUDA, as well as the tools listed above. Experience with Air Force, Navy, and/or other DoD programs.

Special Working Conditions: Periodically travel to government test ranges, working on field/flight testing.

Security: Secret Clearance is required. Applicants selected will be subject to a Government security investigation and must meet the eligibility requirements for classified information access. Preferred current SSBI. Eligibility requirements include US citizenship.

Benefits: APL offers a comprehensive benefits package including a liberal vacation plan, a matching retirement program, significant educational assistance, a scholarship tuition program for staff with dependents, and competitive salaries commensurate with skills and experience. For more information about our organization, please visit our web site at www.jhuapl.edu.

Equal Employment Opportunity: Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments Acts of 1972, as well as other applicable laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

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