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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

  • $91,083

    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.


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.


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.


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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131,900 Hardware Engineer jobs

Fremont, CA
Hardware Engineer

$84,000 Estimated

Varite Inc.
Richfield, OH
Development-Hardware Eng I

$73,507 Estimated

Buffalo Grove, IL
Hardware Engineer Co-op Fall 2018

$68,078 Estimated

San Jose, CA
Hardware Engineer

$101,608 Estimated

Schneider Electric
Foxborough, MA
Hardware Engineer

$88,618 Estimated

United Technologies Corporation
Lisle, IL
Hardware Engineer

$68,078 Estimated

San Jose, CA
Hardware Engineer

$101,608 Estimated

Fort Meade, MD
Hardware Engineer

$94,708 Estimated

Fridley, MN
Hardware Engineer

$82,990 Estimated

Pequot Lakes, MN
Hardware Engineer

$80,560 Estimated

Menlo Park, CA
Hardware Engineer

$132,226 Estimated

Trident Technologies
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
Hardware Engineer

$98,821 Estimated

North Reading, MA
Hardware Engineer

$88,618 Estimated

North Reading, MA
Hardware Engineer

$88,618 Estimated

Farmington Hills, MI
Hardware Engineer

$84,150 Estimated

North Reading, MA
Hardware Engineer

$88,618 Estimated

Kratos Defense
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Hardware Engineer

$72,000 Estimated

Fort Meade, MD
Hardware Engineer

$94,708 Estimated

Fort Meade, MD
Hardware Engineer

$94,708 Estimated

Minneapolis, MN
Hardware Engineer

$82,990 Estimated

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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 -
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 19, 2016 $214,000
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, SR. Staff 1 Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Dec 21, 2015 $185,000
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 Google Life Sciences LLC Mountain View, CA Nov 01, 2016 $180,000
Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 10, 2015 $180,000 -
Hardware Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 16, 2015 $179,000
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Top Skills for A Hardware Engineer


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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

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Hardware Engineer

  1. Hewlett Packard
  2. Cisco Systems
  3. Qualcomm
  4. EMC Corporation
  5. GE Healthcare
  6. Mantech International Corporation
  7. Intel Corporation
  8. General Dynamics
  9. Lockheed Martin
  10. Westinghouse Electric Corporation
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