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Become A Computer Hardware Developer

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Working As A Computer Hardware Developer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $110,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Hardware Developer Do

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. These engineers discover new directions in computer hardware, which generate rapid advances in computer technology.

Duties

Computer hardware engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new computer hardware, creating schematics of computer equipment to be built
  • Test the completed models of the computer hardware they design
  • Analyze the test results and modify the design as needed
  • Update existing computer equipment so that it will work with new software
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for computer hardware
  • Maintain knowledge of computer engineering trends and new technology

Many hardware engineers design noncomputer devices that incorporate processors and other computer components and connect to the Internet. For example, many car parts have computer systems embedded in them. Computer hardware engineers also are designing a growing number of medical devices with a computer system and the ability to connect to the Internet.

Computer hardware engineers ensure that computer hardware components work together with the latest software. Therefore, hardware engineers often work with software developers. For example, the hardware and software for a mobile phone frequently are developed jointly. Hardware engineers also may perform some computer programming in a hardware description language (HDL), which describes the digital circuits in hardware. Using this language, computer hardware engineers can simulate how the hardware design would work, test for errors, and then fix the design.

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How To Become A Computer Hardware Developer

Most computer hardware engineers need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited computer engineering program.

Education

Most entry-level computer hardware engineers have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, although a degree in electrical engineering or computer science also is generally acceptable. A computer engineering major is similar to a major in electrical engineering but with a heavy emphasis on computer science.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Employers may prefer students from an accredited program. To prepare for a major in computer or electrical engineering, students should have a solid background in math and science.

Because hardware engineers commonly work with computer software systems, a familiarity with computer programming usually is expected. This background may be obtained through computer science courses.

Some large firms or specialized jobs may require a master’s degree in computer engineering. Some experienced engineers obtain a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). All engineers must continue their learning over the course of their careers in order to keep up with rapid advances in technology.

Other Experience

Some students participate in internships while in school so that they can gain practical experience.

Advancement

Some computer hardware engineers can advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer hardware engineers use computer programming tools to analyze the digital circuits in hardware to determine the best design.

Creativity. Computer hardware engineers design new types of information technology devices.

Critical-thinking skills. These engineers use logic and reasoning to clarify goals, examine assumptions, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to problems.

Problem-solving skills. Computer hardware engineers identify complex problems in computer hardware, develop and evaluate possible solutions, and figure out the best way to implement them.

Speaking skills. Engineers often work on teams and must be able to communicate with other types of engineers as well as with nontechnical team members.

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Computer Hardware Developer Jobs

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Computer Hardware Developer Demographics

Gender

Male

69.7%

Female

21.2%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

51.7%

Asian

21.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.9%

Black or African American

10.6%

Unknown

5.4%
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Languages Spoken

Arabic

33.3%

French

33.3%

Spanish

33.3%

Computer Hardware Developer Education

Schools

Old Dominion University

11.5%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

7.7%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

7.7%

Tennessee Technological University

7.7%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

7.7%

Sullivan College of Technology and Design

3.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

University of California - Santa Barbara

3.8%

University of Florida

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend College

3.8%

Inver Hills Community College

3.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.8%

University of Maryland - University College

3.8%

Lehigh University

3.8%

Pierce College at Puyallup

3.8%

Portland State University

3.8%

Drexel University

3.8%

Western Carolina University

3.8%
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Majors

Computer Engineering

22.7%

Electrical Engineering

22.7%

Computer Science

16.0%

Mechanical Engineering

5.3%

Computer Information Systems

4.0%

Business

4.0%

Physics

4.0%

Drafting And Design

2.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.7%

Engineering

2.7%

Systems Engineering

1.3%

Management Science

1.3%

Design And Visual Communication

1.3%

Political Science

1.3%

Secondary Education And Teaching

1.3%

Community Organization And Advocacy

1.3%

Geology

1.3%

Marketing

1.3%

Computer Technical Support

1.3%

Law

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.7%

Masters

17.4%

Other

10.5%

Doctorate

10.5%

Associate

5.8%

Diploma

1.2%
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Real Computer Hardware Developer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Developer Connvertex Technologies Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Dec 28, 2015 $187,830
Hardware Developer (Computer Hardware Engineer) Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 10, 2015 $148,200 -
$155,743
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 23, 2016 $145,392 -
$154,593
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jan 22, 2016 $145,392 -
$154,593
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 02, 2015 $142,486 -
$173,048
R&D Hardware 4 Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Dec 19, 2016 $141,003
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Apr 12, 2015 $140,000 -
$154,592
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Belmont, CA Sep 18, 2015 $138,715 -
$173,048
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 19, 2016 $135,000 -
$154,592
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 08, 2016 $135,000 -
$139,133
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Feb 05, 2016 $135,000 -
$154,593
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jun 10, 2016 $135,000 -
$139,133
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Burlington, MA Aug 14, 2016 $133,747 -
$155,743
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jan 08, 2016 $132,000 -
$139,133
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 30, 2015 $114,254 -
$135,000
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 20, 2016 $114,000 -
$122,013
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 02, 2016 $114,000 -
$122,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 15, 2016 $114,000 -
$122,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 08, 2016 $114,000 -
$122,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Dec 07, 2016 $114,000 -
$122,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Austin, TX Oct 24, 2016 $114,000 -
$132,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 19, 2015 $111,883 -
$139,133
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 20, 2015 $111,883 -
$140,000
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Burlington, MA Apr 12, 2015 $111,821 -
$139,132
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. CA Sep 14, 2016 $110,552 -
$122,014
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 16, 2015 $110,250 -
$122,013
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jun 30, 2015 $110,032 -
$118,459
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 11, 2015 $110,032 -
$118,459
Hardware Developer Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 03, 2016 $110,032 -
$122,013

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Top Skills for A Computer Hardware Developer

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  1. Hardware Development
  2. PCB
  3. Database
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Traffic data collection device hardware development, fabrication and assembly !
  • Designed the schematic diagram and PCB diagram and optimized the selected algorithm for hardware design.
  • Incorporated workflow structure of course approvals and leveraged Google Big Table Database.
  • Designed, developed, and maintained computer-based training modules for proprietary pharmaceutical wholesaler Web-based ordering, reporting, and catalog programs.
  • Developed a user interface for real time board testing of FPGA systems using RS232 (serial) communication.

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Top Computer Hardware Developer Employers

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