The state of the industry is not what it once used to be especially on the bleeding edge. With the continued advance of operating systems in the 32-bit embedded space much of the "old school" brute force engineering is now gone. It has been replaced by reuse of highly unoptimized Linux/QNX/WinCE software.
The good thing about these changes are that $/MIP is lower than it ever has been and those same operating systems come with drivers that let you make fairly complex systems very quickly.
However, for those of us willing to challenge ourselves and optimize "systems" there is still a lot of room to innovate!