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Become A Lead Hardware Engineer

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Working As A Lead Hardware Engineer

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

  • $117,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 Lead 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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.9 years
Staff Engineer 4.2 years
Hardware Manager 4.1 years
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Lead Hardware Engineer
Engineer 5.3%
Supervisor 2.6%
Consultant 2.6%
Top Careers After Lead Hardware Engineer
Consultant 4.6%

Do you work as a Lead Hardware Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$117,000
Show Salaries
$86,000
Min 10%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Median 50%
$158,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Lyft
Highest Paying City
Berkeley, CA
Highest Paying State
New Mexico
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Lead Hardware Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Lead Hardware Engineer in the United States is $117,413 per year or $56 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $86,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $158,000.

Real Lead Hardware Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Hardware and Production Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 14, 2015 $180,000
Lead Hardware and Production Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 20, 2016 $180,000
Lead Hardware and Production Engineer Google Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jun 30, 2014 $180,000
Hardware Device Lead Palm, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 23, 2010 $165,562
Hardware Lead Engineer Infineon Technologies North America Corp Milpitas, CA Aug 13, 2015 $154,544
Hardware Lead Engineer Infineon Technologies Americas Corp. Milpitas, CA Dec 18, 2016 $152,382
Hardware Lead Engineer Infineon Technologies North America Corp. Milpitas, CA Dec 18, 2013 $145,000
Lead Hardware Engineer Condition One Inc. Brisbane, CA Jun 23, 2014 $145,000
SR. Lead Hardware Engineer Cavium, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 16, 2014 $140,192 -
$170,192
Lead Hardware Systems Engineer PLX Technology, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 04, 2012 $140,000
Lead Hardware Systems Engineer Avago Technologies Us Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 12, 2014 $138,016 -
$163,636
Hardware Engineer-Team Lead Verification Enginee Teradyne, Inc. North Reading, MA Aug 07, 2014 $135,000
Audio Hardware Engineering Lead Research In Motion Corporation Irving, TX Jul 25, 2013 $108,000 -
$129,700
Audio Hardware Engineering Lead Research In Motion Corporation Irving, TX Mar 08, 2013 $108,000 -
$129,700
Hardware PCB Design Lead Teradyne, Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 07, 2016 $107,004
Hardware Engineer (Test Lead) Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA May 23, 2016 $106,599 -
$126,599
Lead Hardware Engineer Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Pullman, WA Sep 25, 2012 $105,688
Lead Hardware Engineer Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Austin, TX Oct 15, 2012 $105,688
Lead Hardware Engineer MIPS Technologies, Inc. (A Part of Imagination TEC Sunnyvale, CA Dec 31, 2013 $105,280 -
$144,000
Hardware Engineer, MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD May 09, 2016 $86,733
Audio Hardware Engineering Lead Research In Motion Corporation Irving, TX Mar 08, 2013 $86,500 -
$129,700
Hardware Engineer, MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD Oct 01, 2010 $86,467
Hardware Engineer MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD Oct 01, 2009 $85,925
Hardware Engineer, MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD Sep 01, 2015 $85,904
Hardware Engineer, MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD Sep 15, 2010 $85,510
Hardware Engineer, MTS Lead Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD May 09, 2016 $85,010
Hardware Engineer, Team Leader Nsbu Netgear, Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 07, 2010 $85,000

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Top Skills for A Lead Hardware Engineer

  1. Fpga
  2. Hardware Architecture
  3. PCB
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created a Hardware Diagnostic Engine in FPGA, solving 'fail-over response time of 5ms' requirement.
  • Consulted on hardware architecture of interactive display experiences for Caesars Casinos.
  • Performed schematic entry, signal integrity analysis, PCB layout, and documentation of technical specifications.
  • Team made up of one hardware designer, one diagnostics engineer, one junior engineer and one engineering technician.
  • Applied for two US patents on the CPU thermal solution and the extensible PCI bus over ribbon cable solution.

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Hardware Engineers

  1. New Mexico
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Washington
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Michigan
  9. Alaska
  10. Colorado
  • (70 jobs)
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  • (537 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (436 jobs)
  • (516 jobs)
  • (358 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (368 jobs)

Lead Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

83.4%

Unknown

9.5%

Female

7.1%
Ethnicity

White

54.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Asian

15.1%

Black or African American

10.0%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

21.4%

Japanese

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%

Portuguese

7.1%

Serbian

7.1%

Chinese

7.1%

Cantonese

7.1%

Urdu

7.1%

Hindi

7.1%

Korean

7.1%
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Lead Hardware Engineer Education

Schools

Mississippi State University

8.7%

Johns Hopkins University

7.2%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

7.2%

San Jose State University

5.8%

Northeastern University

5.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.3%

University of Maryland - University College

4.3%

Louisiana Tech University

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

Western Governors University

4.3%

University of South Florida

4.3%

Southern Methodist University

4.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.3%

Stanford University

4.3%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.3%

Tennessee Technological University

4.3%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.3%

University of Miami

4.3%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

40.3%

Computer Engineering

10.2%

Business

9.9%

Computer Science

5.7%

Mechanical Engineering

4.2%

Information Technology

3.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.2%

Engineering

3.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.8%

Project Management

2.1%

Computer Networking

1.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.8%

Physics

1.4%

Industrial Engineering

1.4%

Accounting

1.4%

English

1.1%

Music

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

Aerospace Engineering

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.6%

Masters

29.9%

Other

13.5%

Associate

8.4%

Certificate

2.1%

Doctorate

0.9%

Diploma

0.6%
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