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Become A Hardware Design Engineer

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Working As A Hardware Design Engineer

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

  • $93,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Hardware Design Engineer 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 Hardware Design Engineer

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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Hardware Design Engineer Career Paths

Hardware Design Engineer
Senior Hardware Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Principal Electrical Engineer
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Principal Design Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer
Principal Hardware Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Staff Design Engineer Senior Designer
Senior PCB Designer
13 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Controls Engineer Electrical Design Engineer
Senior Electrical Design Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Engineer Service Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Asic Design Engineer Digital Design Engineer
Senior Digital Design Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Test Engineer Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Director, Hardware Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
Electronics Design Engineer Electrical Design Engineer Electronics Engineer
Senior Electronic Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Electronics Design Engineer
Senior Electronics Design Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Hardware Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Hardware Development Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Manager, Hardware Engineering
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Hardware Design Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Hardware Design Engineer
Internship 3.9%
Engineer 3.8%
Top Careers After Hardware Design Engineer
Consultant 4.2%
Engineer 2.8%

Do you work as a Hardware Design Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$93,000
Show Salaries
$70,000
Min 10%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$123,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
New Mexico
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a Hardware Design Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Hardware Design Engineer in the United States is $93,590 per year or $45 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $70,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $123,000.

Real Hardware Design Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hardware Design Engineer Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jul 17, 2016 $173,000
Hardware/Physical Design Engineer Barefoot Networks, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 14, 2015 $150,000
Staff Hardware Engineer/Digital Design Method Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Apr 22, 2015 $140,005 -
$155,900
Hardware Design Engineer Arteris Inc. Campbell, CA Nov 22, 2016 $140,000
Hardware Design Engineer (Systems and Board Design) Pure Storage, Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 17, 2016 $140,000
Hardware Design Engineer Esperanto Technologies Inc. Los Altos Hills, CA Jun 15, 2016 $140,000
Hardware Design Engineer Esperanto Technologies Inc. Los Altos Hills, CA Jan 06, 2016 $140,000
Staff Hardware Engineer/Rfic Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 18, 2015 $139,006 -
$159,700
Staff Hardware Engineer/Circuit Design Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 06, 2015 $135,533 -
$171,100
Hardware Design Engineer Arteris, Inc. Campbell, CA Sep 03, 2016 $135,000
Hardware Design Engineer Arteris, Inc. Campbell, CA Feb 27, 2015 $135,000
Staff Hardware Engineer/Low-Power Circuit Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 12, 2015 $132,454 -
$159,700
Staff Hardware Engineer/Circuit Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jun 11, 2015 $132,205 -
$171,100
Hardware Design Engineer MIPS Technologies Santa Clara, CA Aug 01, 2016 $132,000
Hardware Design Engineer Zee.AERO Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 01, 2015 $114,996
Hardware Engineer-RF Design Vt, Idirect, Inc. Herndon, VA Jan 29, 2016 $112,549
Hardware Design Engineer Litepoint Corporation, A Teradyne Company Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2015 $111,526
Hardware Design Engineer Artesyn Embedded Computing, Inc. Tempe, AZ Feb 05, 2016 $110,739
Hardware Design Engineer Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA Jul 12, 2015 $110,032
Hardware Design Staff Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Nov 21, 2016 $109,720
Hardware Design Engineer Actiontec Electronics, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jul 26, 2016 $108,992
Wireless Hardware Design Engineer Energous Corporation San Jose, CA May 18, 2016 $108,992 -
$130,562
Hardware Design Engineer II Cavium, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 17, 2016 $99,846 -
$109,846
Hardware Design Staff Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Sep 01, 2015 $99,840
Hardware Design Engineer II Cavium, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 09, 2016 $99,671 -
$109,671
Hardware Design Engineer Hawk Shield Inc. Fresno, CA Aug 15, 2016 $99,133
Sync Development/Hardware Design Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Apr 21, 2015 $98,200 -
$105,360
Hardware Design Staff Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Aug 09, 2015 $98,000
Hardware Design Staff Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Sep 08, 2015 $98,000

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Top Skills for A Hardware Design Engineer

  1. Circuit Boards
  2. PCB
  3. Schematic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed schematics, printed circuit boards and performed prototyping of circuitry involved.
  • Designed new components and systems for implementation into new products, both in PCB Layout and in embedded/FW design.
  • Performed schematic design for a high-performance Spectrum Analyzer Motherboard.
  • Managed an integration engineering team to design diagnostic hardware and software to implement hardware design validation.
  • Design of analog and digital circuitry regarding Digital Video Imaging/ Inspection Systems.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Hardware Design Engineers

  1. Maryland
  2. Alabama
  3. California
  4. New Mexico
  5. Texas
  6. Michigan
  7. Washington
  8. Delaware
  9. Virginia
  10. District of Columbia
  • (570 jobs)
  • (210 jobs)
  • (4,084 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (1,363 jobs)
  • (558 jobs)
  • (844 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)
  • (866 jobs)
  • (164 jobs)

Hardware Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

79.4%

Unknown

10.3%

Female

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

47.7%

Asian

23.8%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Black or African American

8.1%

Unknown

6.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0%

Chinese

15.9%

Mandarin

15.9%

French

6.8%

Cantonese

6.8%

Portuguese

4.5%

German

4.5%

Japanese

4.5%

Korean

4.5%

Filipino

2.3%

Turkish

2.3%

Persian

2.3%

Slovak

2.3%

Shan

2.3%
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Hardware Design Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

10.3%

Northeastern University

7.3%

Purdue University

7.3%

University of Southern California

7.0%

Arizona State University

5.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

5.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.3%

Portland State University

4.3%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.0%

Santa Clara University

4.0%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.0%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

San Diego State University

4.0%

North Carolina State University

3.7%

University of Washington

3.7%

University of California - San Diego

3.3%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

3.3%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

63.3%

Computer Engineering

10.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.2%

Business

4.2%

Mechanical Engineering

4.1%

Computer Science

3.1%

Engineering

1.3%

Computer Networking

1.1%

Engineering Technology

0.9%

Physics

0.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.8%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Finance

0.7%

Law

0.6%

Education

0.6%

Biomedical Engineering

0.6%

Computer Applications

0.5%

Project Management

0.5%

Drafting And Design

0.4%

Information Systems

0.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.3%

Masters

40.6%

Other

6.3%

Doctorate

3.7%

Associate

2.5%

Certificate

1.3%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.1%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Hardware Design Engineer

5.0

Diversity of Product development

November 5, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Hardware Design Engineer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Hardware Design Engineer?

Hardware Design Engineer's are few intellectuals in a company who has exposure to all the aspects of product life cycle. It needs versatile knowledge of all most of the things.

I feel passionate dealing with electronics components and analyzing them. It is a flexible job. It is a Real time job... Show More

What do you NOT like?

At times software development team questions on hardware design without looking the code running the stuff irritates

Must have some knowledge of coding as well.. Show More

How Would You Rate Working As a Hardware Design Engineer?

Are you working as a Hardware Design Engineer? Help us rate Hardware Design Engineer as a Career.

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