Time and again it has been proven that you do not always need a university degree to be able to learn something and excel at it. If you are an electronics or robotic enthusiast, there are numerous free resources available online. As University of Texas puts it, you can “Shape the World” with Embedded Systems and you certainly can. The lab based course on edX will teach you the ins and outs of embedded system design, with hands-on guide of many micro-controllers.
A detailed coursework is made available by the University of Texas that will assist you on your embedded systems learning journey. You access the coursework here and see the Youtube video tutorials for a better learning experience.
You will be able to use the cheapest of micro-controllers like the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero and build the most amazing things. Once you learn the input and output of micro-controllers, you will have tons of peripherals and sensor kits to choose from, in order to build the project of your dreams. You can find the best GPIO extension boards, cameras, barometers, motion sensors, LCDs, Touchscreens, Bluetooth dongles and modules, GPS modules, power supplies, motor drivers, IMU modules, camera modules, and what not. You may even be able to build your own smartphone with that amazing micro-controller board.
If Raspberry Pi is not your cup of tea, there are many other great microcontrollers to choose from.
Arduino is considered more of a DIY starter board, and there are so many versions that you can choose from to fit the requirements of your handy project. The peripherals available for the Arduino are pretty abundant, and you can choose the best of LCD modules, Bluetooth modules, motor drivers, RF modules, GPS modules, ethernet shields, keypads, moisture sensors, thermocouples, cameras, and lots more. If you are beginning at basics, you may choose from one of these starter kits that come with everything you may require at the beginning.
You can become an Embedded Systems master, all by yourself, with a little dedication and time commitment.