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Become A Hardware Engineer

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Working As A Hardware Engineer

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

  • $81,507

    Average Salary

What Does A Hardware 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 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 Engineer jobs

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Hardware Engineer Career Paths

Hardware Engineer
Network Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Engineering Manager Principal Engineer
Director, Hardware Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Consultant Director Of Information
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer Lead Mechanical Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Design Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Project Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Hardware Design Engineer Design Engineer Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Senior Manufacturing Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Systems Engineer Project Engineer
Senior Mechanical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Hardware Design Engineer Electrical Engineer Systems Engineer
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    81.5%
  • Female

    11.5%
  • Unknown

    7.0%

Ethnicity

  • White

    62.9%
  • Asian

    24.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    7.3%
  • Unknown

    4.0%
  • Black or African American

    0.9%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    29.2%
  • Chinese

    13.3%
  • Mandarin

    9.7%
  • French

    7.1%
  • Japanese

    5.3%
  • Russian

    4.4%
  • Carrier

    4.4%
  • Cantonese

    3.5%
  • Portuguese

    3.5%
  • German

    3.5%
  • Hindi

    2.7%
  • Arabic

    2.7%
  • Vietnamese

    1.8%
  • Korean

    1.8%
  • Hebrew

    1.8%
  • Italian

    1.8%
  • Cherokee

    0.9%
  • Romanian

    0.9%
  • Ukrainian

    0.9%
  • Dari

    0.9%
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Hardware Engineer

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Hardware Engineer Education

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Real Hardware Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hardware Engineer Jump Operations, LLC New York, NY Sep 14, 2016 $250,000 -
$300,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 19, 2016 $214,000
Hardware Engineer, SR. Staff 1 Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Dec 21, 2015 $185,000
Hardware Engineer, SR. Staff Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 04, 2015 $185,000
Hardware Engineer, SR. Staff 1 Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 05, 2016 $185,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 25, 2016 $180,000
Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 10, 2015 $180,000 -
$224,700
Hardware Engineer Google Life Sciences LLC Mountain View, CA Nov 01, 2016 $180,000
Hardware Engineer Verily Life Sciences, LLC South San Francisco, CA Apr 29, 2016 $180,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 16, 2015 $179,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 24, 2016 $176,000
Hardware DEV ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 09, 2016 $175,000 -
$195,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Apr 04, 2016 $175,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 05, 2016 $174,000
Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 23, 2015 $114,376 -
$129,500
Graphics Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 12, 2015 $114,254 -
$145,300
Computer Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 18, 2015 $114,254
Graphics Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 20, 2015 $114,254 -
$145,300
Hardware Engineer Cercacor Laboratories, Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 06, 2015 $114,140
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 24, 2015 $114,100 -
$171,100
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Jul 20, 2015 $114,100 -
$171,100
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 18, 2015 $114,100 -
$171,100
Electrical/Hardware Engineer Hewlett-Packard Company Houston, TX Apr 22, 2016 $96,803 -
$135,474
Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 07, 2016 $96,720 -
$111,700
Hardware Engineer Cisco Systems, Inc. Parkton, NC Jun 23, 2015 $96,577 -
$112,800
Hardware Engineer Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 03, 2015 $96,400 -
$135,000
Hardware Engineer Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 26, 2015 $96,400 -
$135,000
Graphics Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Feb 02, 2015 $96,385 -
$112,000
Hardware Engineer, MTS III Panasonic Avionics Corporation Lake Forest, CA Apr 20, 2016 $96,371
Graphics Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Folsom, CA Oct 01, 2015 $96,353 -
$129,500

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Top Skills for A Hardware Engineer

PCBSchematicDesignPrototypeFirmwarePCLabAnalogEthernetCADWindowsXilinxFpgaCircuitBoardPCIVhdlAsicHardwareDesignRFVerilogTroubleshootCircuitDesign

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Top Hardware Engineer Skills

  1. PCB
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Prototype
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Recruited to manage the ATE PCB and mechanical designs for Probe, Docking, and Final Test hardware.
  • Provided solutions to encountered hardware problems and updated schematic designs accordingly.
  • Develop or evacuate test procedures to determine circuit requirement, develops diagnostics prototype mode.
  • Handled communication to firmware & software & database developers directly and/or to Software Team Manager.
  • Supported and reviewed PCB layout for a data display terminal, TDMA modem, and mobile modem carrier card.

Top Hardware Engineer Employers

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