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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

  • $91,336

    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 jobs

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Hardware Design Engineer Career Paths

Hardware Design Engineer
Software Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Member Technical Staff
Analog Design Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Lead Technician Engineer
Contracting Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Consulting Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Senior Engineer Principal Engineer
Director, Hardware Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Hardware Development Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Senior Project Engineer Lead Mechanical Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Application Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Principal Design Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Principal Electrical Engineer
14 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer Senior Engineer
Principal Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Hardware Engineer
Principal Hardware Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Manager Controller
Senior Controls Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Quality Engineer Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Design Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Electronics Engineer
Senior Electronic Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Software Engineer Senior Technologist
Senior Engineering Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Engineer Senior Engineering Technician Senior Designer
Senior PCB Designer
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Staff Engineer
Senior Staff Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 3.7%
Internship 3.2%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.8%

Hardware Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

83.5%

Female

10.4%

Unknown

6.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Asian

24.1%

Hispanic or Latino

8.4%

Unknown

5.2%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.9%

Chinese

15.8%

Mandarin

15.8%

Cantonese

7.9%

German

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%

Korean

5.3%

Portuguese

2.6%

Filipino

2.6%

Turkish

2.6%

French

2.6%

Slovak

2.6%

Shan

2.6%
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Hardware Design Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

11.1%

Northeastern University

8.0%

Purdue University

7.1%

University of Southern California

6.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.9%

Arizona State University

4.9%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.4%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

Portland State University

4.4%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.0%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.0%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

San Diego State University

4.0%

Cornell University

4.0%

University of Washington

3.6%

University of Louisville

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

62.1%

Computer Engineering

10.6%

Business

5.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.5%

Mechanical Engineering

4.3%

Computer Science

3.1%

Computer Networking

1.2%

Engineering

1.2%

Engineering Technology

1.0%

Physics

0.9%

Biomedical Engineering

0.8%

Systems Engineering

0.6%

Finance

0.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.6%

Project Management

0.6%

Information Systems

0.6%

Computer Applications

0.5%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.5%

Education

0.5%

Mathematics

0.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.5%

Masters

40.8%

Other

5.4%

Doctorate

3.0%

Associate

2.7%

Certificate

1.3%

License

0.1%

Diploma

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 (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 Arteris Inc. Campbell, CA Nov 22, 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 Mar 18, 2016 $108,992
Hardware Design Engineer Actiontec Electronics, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jul 26, 2016 $108,992
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
Hardware Design Staff Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ May 15, 2015 $97,500

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Top Skills for A Hardware Design Engineer

PCBLayoutSchematicDesignHardwareDesignAnalogEthernetCADPCICircuitBoardFirmwareModuleSignalIntegrityVerilogXilinxAsicArchitectureVhdlAlteraFpgaUSBRFI/O

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Top Hardware Design Engineer Skills

  1. PCB Layout
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Hardware Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Net list verification before routing components in the PCB layout.
  • Performed component selection, schematic design, and PCB layout, routing and plane definition.
  • Lead hardware design assurance engineer for Siemens Business Communications in Austin, Texas.
  • Design of analog and digital circuitry regarding Digital Video Imaging/ Inspection Systems.
  • Design and implement Programmable Logic Devices for Audio Control Panel and Ethernet Networking within Server products.

Top Hardware Design Engineer Employers

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