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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

  • $95,000

    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
Software Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Developer Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Architect Interior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Research And Development Engineer Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Hardware Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Field Service Technician Senior Technologist
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Electronics Engineer Field Service Technician Service Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Hardware Design Engineer Senior Hardware Engineer
Lead Hardware Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Mechanical Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Senior Technologist Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Manager Engineering Director
Director, Hardware Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Hardware Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Hardware Manager 4.1 years
Hardware Engineer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Hardware Engineer
Engineer 6.0%
Internship 5.9%
Technician 2.9%
Top Careers After Hardware Engineer
Engineer 6.4%
Consultant 3.2%

Do you work as a Hardware Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$95,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$71,000
Min 10%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$126,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Hardware Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Hardware Engineer in the United States is $95,638 per year or $46 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $72,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $126,000.

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 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 Jul 25, 2016 $180,000
Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 10, 2015 $180,000 -
$224,700
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 Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Apr 04, 2016 $175,000
Hardware DEV ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 09, 2016 $175,000 -
$195,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 05, 2016 $174,000
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 08, 2015 $174,000
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
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 Oct 22, 2015 $113,589 -
$167,500
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Boxborough, MA Jul 18, 2015 $113,526 -
$159,700
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Boxborough, MA Jan 12, 2015 $113,526 -
$159,700
Staff Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Boxborough, MA Nov 23, 2015 $113,526 -
$159,700
Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA May 01, 2015 $97,087 -
$112,000
Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Mar 20, 2015 $97,000 -
$175,400
Hardware Engineer Linkquest Inc. San Diego, CA Jul 13, 2016 $96,970
Graphics Hardware Engineer Intel Corporation Folsom, CA Feb 05, 2015 $96,853 -
$175,400
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 Mar 26, 2015 $96,400 -
$135,000

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Top Skills for A Hardware 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 prototype Printed Circuit Boards used for sub-circuit performance evaluation.
  • Reduced development cost and time-to-market by 50% utilizing common PCB structures to produce multiple products in a single development cycle.
  • Provided solutions to encountered hardware problems and updated schematic designs accordingly.
  • Performed mixed analog and digital electronic design and PCB co-design.
  • Worked on a variety of products related to the newly developed PCs (8086, 80186, 80286, 80386-based).

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Hardware Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Oregon
  3. California
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Texas
  6. Massachusetts
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Alabama
  9. Maryland
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (1,018 jobs)
  • (317 jobs)
  • (4,738 jobs)
  • (251 jobs)
  • (1,498 jobs)
  • (910 jobs)
  • (233 jobs)
  • (243 jobs)
  • (659 jobs)
  • (635 jobs)

Hardware Engineer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,673 Hardware Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Hardware Engineer Resume

View Resume Examples

Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

76.2%

Unknown

13.5%

Female

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

48.8%

Asian

24.4%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Black or African American

8.7%

Unknown

5.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

26.3%

Chinese

14.4%

Mandarin

11.0%

French

9.3%

Russian

5.1%

Carrier

4.2%

German

4.2%

Hindi

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Korean

2.5%

Cantonese

2.5%

Italian

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Vietnamese

1.7%

Portuguese

1.7%

Hebrew

1.7%

Cherokee

0.8%

Romanian

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Dari

0.8%
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Hardware Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

15.0%

Northeastern University

8.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.9%

University of Southern California

6.7%

Arizona State University

5.2%

Purdue University

5.1%

Santa Clara University

4.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.9%

University of Houston

4.7%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.8%

University of Florida

3.8%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.4%

Texas A&M University

3.4%

University of Washington

3.4%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.3%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.3%

Portland State University

3.3%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

51.6%

Computer Engineering

11.8%

Computer Science

5.7%

Business

5.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.0%

Mechanical Engineering

4.3%

Computer Information Systems

2.3%

Engineering

2.2%

Computer Networking

2.0%

Information Technology

1.9%

Physics

1.1%

Management

1.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.0%

Communication

0.8%

Biomedical Engineering

0.7%

Project Management

0.7%

Drafting And Design

0.7%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Computer Engineering Technology

0.6%

Computer Systems Security

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.1%

Masters

35.4%

Other

9.1%

Associate

4.9%

Doctorate

3.5%

Certificate

1.7%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.1%
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