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Become A Senior Hardware Engineer

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Working As A Senior Hardware Engineer

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

  • $102,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior 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 Senior 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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Senior Hardware Engineer Career Paths

Do you work as a Senior Hardware Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Senior Hardware Engineer
Engineer 4.0%
Top Careers After Senior Hardware Engineer
Consultant 5.5%
Engineer 2.9%

Do you work as a Senior Hardware Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$102,000
Show Salaries
$76,000
Min 10%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$137,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
New Mexico
Avg Experience Level
5.3 years
How much does a Senior Hardware Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Hardware Engineer in the United States is $102,828 per year or $49 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $76,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $137,000.

Real Senior Hardware Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR. Hardware Engineer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Mar 23, 2015 $200,000
Senior Hardware Engineer Osterhout Design Group, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 30, 2016 $189,000
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
Senior Hardware Engineer Imagintation Technologies, LLC Santa Clara, CA May 16, 2016 $170,000
Senior Hardware Engineer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Sep 19, 2016 $169,749
Senior Hardware Engineer (Senior Optical Engineer) Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 15, 2016 $164,000 -
$184,000
Senior Hardware Engineer Riverbed Technology Sunnyvale, CA Oct 21, 2016 $157,477
Senior Hardware Engineer Tile Inc. San Mateo, CA May 12, 2016 $155,000
Senior RF Hardware Design Engineer PCH Labs, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 09, 2016 $155,000
Senior Hardware Engineer Arteris Inc. Campbell, CA Jan 03, 2016 $155,000
Senior Hardware Engineer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Jan 06, 2016 $154,939
Senior Hardware Engineer Ineda Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 03, 2015 $154,544
Senior Hardware Engineer Commscope Technologies LLC Forest, VA Oct 01, 2015 $106,515
Senior Hardware Engineer Availink (Us), Inc. Germantown, MD Oct 19, 2015 $106,500
Senior Hardware Engineer/Digital Circuits Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA May 15, 2015 $106,475 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer/Dsp Core Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. Austin, TX Jun 01, 2016 $106,454 -
$159,700
Senior Hardware Engineer/Rf Hardware Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 12, 2015 $106,184 -
$123,400
Senior Hardware Engineer/Wireless Power R&D Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 06, 2015 $106,184 -
$121,100
Senior Hardware Engineer/Signal Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Apr 13, 2015 $106,163 -
$129,700
Senior Analog Hardware Engineer National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Jan 26, 2015 $106,000
Senior Hardware Engineer/Digital Design Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Mar 19, 2015 $96,117 -
$109,800
Senior Hardware Engineer/Corp R&D Signal Integrity and Power Integrity Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 30, 2015 $96,096 -
$125,800
Senior Hardware Engineer/Digital Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 10, 2015 $96,054 -
$100,700
Senior Hardware Engineer/Digital Circuits Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Mar 19, 2015 $96,034 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Mar 22, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Mar 19, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Diego, CA Mar 23, 2015 $95,930 -
$123,400

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Top Skills for A Senior Hardware Engineer

  1. Circuit Boards
  2. PCB
  3. Ethernet
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Researched and resolved customer/service affecting issues on over twenty circuit boards across four different platforms.
  • Performed digital PCB design and assisted/supported other engineers with their designs.
  • Designed over 25 different Ethernet and Token Ring Data-Communication products.
  • Designed and developed Multi-Mux analog input card for rack mounted vibration analysis system released in FY10.
  • Developed and debugged XILINX designs.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Hardware Engineers

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. New Mexico
  4. Washington
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Michigan
  9. Delaware
  10. Arizona
  • (5,012 jobs)
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  • (827 jobs)
  • (211 jobs)
  • (594 jobs)
  • (851 jobs)
  • (484 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (393 jobs)

Senior Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

81.0%

Unknown

11.5%

Female

7.4%
Ethnicity

White

49.0%

Asian

23.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.8%

Black or African American

8.6%

Unknown

5.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

12.8%

German

12.8%

Spanish

10.3%

Carrier

10.3%

Mandarin

10.3%

Japanese

7.7%

French

7.7%

Cantonese

5.1%

Portuguese

2.6%

Dutch

2.6%

Filipino

2.6%

Vietnamese

2.6%

Romanian

2.6%

Hebrew

2.6%

Cherokee

2.6%

Amharic

2.6%

Greek

2.6%
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Senior Hardware Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

12.6%

Northeastern University

9.9%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

7.1%

University of Southern California

5.9%

Arizona State University

5.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.1%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.7%

San Diego State University

4.3%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

Purdue University

4.0%

Johns Hopkins University

4.0%

Santa Clara University

3.6%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.6%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3.6%

Southern Methodist University

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

University of California - San Diego

3.6%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

61.3%

Computer Engineering

10.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.6%

Computer Science

4.5%

Business

3.7%

Engineering

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering

1.7%

Management

1.3%

Physics

1.1%

Drafting And Design

1.0%

Computer Networking

1.0%

Information Systems

1.0%

Marketing

1.0%

Information Technology

0.9%

Communication

0.8%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.7%

Computer Information Systems

0.7%

Engineering Technology

0.5%

Project Management

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.0%

Masters

37.0%

Other

9.0%

Doctorate

5.4%

Associate

3.3%

Certificate

1.0%

Diploma

0.2%
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