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I've read that Arduino's are actually not necessarily a good option for getting into robotics/embedded systems, as there are many shortcuts and you don't learn the real way of how it all works. When I started app dev, I jumped straight into it and never had any practice with simpler things such as Scratch or other app builders. I got straight into the IDE and learned the programming language. If Arduino's are just for hobbyists, I want nothing to do with them.

I'm able to grasp things quickly and study intensively, should I start with an individual microcontroller or still stick to the Arduino? If a microcontroller, which one and why? I understand the differences between the Arduino and a stand-alone microcontroller, have no previous experience programming hardware, but that was the same with app dev and I got on just fine with the programming.

Many thanks.

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Arduino boards are simple microcontroller boards that are a good complexity for learning. The arduino IDE hides the details of typical bare metal microcontroller development, but not in a bad way.

The difference between a hobbyist that only knows arduino and a professional is that a professional will select the right microcontroller for the job from the 1000's available, and will often (but not always) write software using a more sophisticated approach. Sophisticated is a vague idea but includes things like the way interrupts or DMA are used, or using an embedded operating system.

I think the biggest risk you would face if you started with arduino is that most of the information out there is written for hobbyist, which assumes the reader does not know or understand the fundamentals of embedded design, and sometimes is written by a hobbyist who does not know what they are talking about and will provide (unintentionally) misleading or wrong information.

Start with a course in embedded systems so that you understand some of the basic concepts. You can find useful stuff on the internet if you can't attend a real one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the response, and especially the link. After covering this content (which will take a while), would you think I'd be in a position to start with a proper individual microcontroller, or is Arduino still the way to start when programming? $\endgroup$
    – 4u53r
    Aug 30 '18 at 16:46

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