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Working As a Hardware Test Engineer

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

  • $96,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Hardware Test 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 Test 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 Test Engineer Career Paths

Hardware Test Engineer
Test Engineer Quality Assurance Lead Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Test Engineer Senior Software Engineer Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Software Test Engineer Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Test Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Analyst Chemist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Senior Project Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Hardware Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Project Manager Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Senior Manufacturing Test Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Hardware Engineer
Lead Hardware Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Senior Software Engineer Lead Engineer
Senior Engineering Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Test Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Lead Engineer Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
System Test Engineer Embedded Software Engineer Hardware Design Engineer
Hardware Development Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Test Engineer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Hardware Test Engineer
Internship 4.7%
Engineer 3.7%
Technician 3.7%
Top Careers After Hardware Test Engineer
Engineer 4.2%
Consultant 2.9%

Do you work as a Hardware Test Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$96,000
Show Salaries
$76,000
Min 10%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Median 50%
$122,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Redwood City, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does a Hardware Test Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Hardware Test Engineer in the United States is $97,020 per year or $47 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $76,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $122,000.

Real Hardware Test Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2014 $193,700
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Apr 29, 2016 $152,131
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 16, 2015 $152,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 28, 2016 $149,068
Hardware Test Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jun 30, 2016 $146,459
Hardware Test and Validation Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 23, 2014 $145,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 26, 2014 $145,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 16, 2015 $138,000
Hardware Test Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 22, 2013 $138,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 28, 2013 $135,000
Wifi Hardware Test Engineer EERO Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 27, 2016 $135,000 -
$150,000
Hardware Test Engineer EERO Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 16, 2016 $132,912 -
$145,000
Hardware Testing Engineer Google, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 14, 2015 $115,000
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 13, 2016 $115,000
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 18, 2013 $115,000
Hardware Test Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 18, 2013 $115,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 23, 2015 $113,300
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 30, 2016 $112,500
Senior Hardware Test Engineer/Windows Driver Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 23, 2016 $112,487 -
$124,200
Staff Hardware Test Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2015 $110,448 -
$146,000
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 14, 2014 $95,221
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 05, 2014 $95,000
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 20, 2016 $94,300
Hardware Test Engineer (Signal Integrity Testing) Beyondsoft Consulting Inc. Redmond, WA Jan 09, 2016 $93,600
Hardware Test Engineer and Software Development Aluratek Inc. Irvine, CA Feb 10, 2015 $92,102
Hardware Testing Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 26, 2014 $92,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 15, 2015 $92,000
Hardware Test Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 07, 2015 $92,000

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Top Skills for A Hardware Test Engineer

  1. Test Procedures
  2. Test Cases
  3. Lab Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed QA test on all manufacturing test software releases, documented results and updated manufacturing test procedures.
  • Created test cases/scenarios across development project.
  • Hand on experience on lab equipment Oscilloscope, Logic analyzer, and digital power meter.
  • Analyzed hardware and firmware requirements to determine feasibility within time and cost constraints.
  • Install and Configure hardware, software and Linux servers.

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Top 10 Best States for Hardware Test Engineers

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Rhode Island
  4. California
  5. Connecticut
  6. Nevada
  7. Washington
  8. Virginia
  9. Alaska
  10. Michigan
  • (189 jobs)
  • (690 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (3,813 jobs)
  • (208 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (769 jobs)
  • (1,283 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (469 jobs)

Hardware Test Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.8%

Unknown

13.0%

Female

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

49.4%

Asian

24.6%

Hispanic or Latino

12.6%

Black or African American

7.5%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

22.2%

Mandarin

22.2%

Spanish

13.9%

Russian

11.1%

Cantonese

8.3%

Portuguese

5.6%

German

2.8%

Hebrew

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Persian

2.8%

Korean

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%
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Hardware Test Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

13.8%

University of Washington

10.0%

Northeastern University

6.9%

Purdue University

6.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.4%

North Carolina State University

4.6%

Arizona State University

4.6%

University of California - Davis

4.6%

Santa Clara University

4.6%

Wake Technical Community College

4.6%

University of Phoenix

4.6%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.8%

California State University - Long Beach

3.8%

University of California - San Diego

3.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.1%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.1%

More Tech Institute

3.1%

Ohio State University

3.1%

San Francisco State University

3.1%

Colorado State University

3.1%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

48.5%

Computer Science

12.2%

Computer Engineering

7.7%

Business

4.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.9%

Mechanical Engineering

2.9%

Information Technology

2.5%

Biomedical Engineering

2.3%

Computer Information Systems

2.0%

Computer Networking

2.0%

Political Science

1.6%

Computer Systems Security

1.4%

Computer Applications

1.4%

Engineering

1.4%

Information Systems

1.1%

Graphic Design

1.1%

Systems Engineering

0.9%

Management Information Systems

0.9%

General Studies

0.9%

Physics

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.8%

Masters

21.1%

Other

15.1%

Associate

8.8%

Certificate

3.2%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

0.9%
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Updated May 19, 2020