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Embedded programing pay sucks compared to the web. I wouldn't do it. Just look at the number of web jobs vs system programmer jobs.

I've done embedded a few times in my career (usually higher level, embedded Linux) though I also did some stuff with PIC microcontrollers for a bit.

The pay sucks, but it is much more enjoyable work than web development. There's a lot less BS to deal with.

I feel there is the BS there too. You need to get board support packages. Sometimes the memory map is wrong. If you can get board up it might be a timing issue and you have to solder onto the Trace etc.

It also feels more like "real" programming. A lot of web development is dealing with BS problems resulting from building apps on a platform that was never meant for applications in the first place.

The number of web jobs is higher. The number of web programmers is higher, too. I don't think you can tell from the number of jobs how the pay situation is going to play out. (Look at the number of fast food jobs. It's huge. That doesn't result in high pay, though...)

I really can't tell whether an entry-level systems programmer gets paid better than an entry-level web programmer. But it seems to me that in web programming, you hit a wall at about ten years, where more experience quits translating into more pay. In embedded, you can find at least some jobs where 30 years experience gets you more pay than 20 years experience.

As with all these things, "sucks" is relative, and there are low paying jobs for anywhere in the stack. There's certainly fewer employers that need full time low-level software developers. So perhaps the contract/freelance approach is the way to go. It's certainly possible to achieve ~$1.5k/day consulting rates for low-level software development if you're an expert in a niche.

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