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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

  • $96,068

    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 jobs

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Senior Hardware Engineer Career Paths

Senior Hardware Engineer
Senior Test Engineer Staff Engineer Senior Member Technical Staff
Analog Design Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager Consulting Engineer
Contracting Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Contracting Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Staff Engineer Principal Engineer
Director, Hardware Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Principal Engineer Lead Mechanical Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Senior Engineering Technician Hardware Engineer
Lead Hardware Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Engineer Project Engineering Manager Senior Design Engineer
Principal Design Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Consulting Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Principal Electrical Engineer
14 Yearsyrs
Principal Hardware Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Principal Engineer Product Developer Mechanical Engineer
Principal Mechanical Engineer
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Engineer Designer Electrical Designer
Senior Electrical Design Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Lead Technician Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Staff Engineer Engineering Manager Contracting Engineer
Senior Electronic Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Lead Technician Senior Technologist
Senior Engineering Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Architect Computer Aided Design Designer
Senior PCB Designer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Staff Engineer
Senior Staff Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Hardware Manager 4.0 years
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 4.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.9%
Engineer 2.7%

Senior Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.7%

Female

7.6%

Unknown

6.7%
Ethnicity

White

64.5%

Asian

22.7%

Hispanic or Latino

7.9%

Unknown

4.0%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Chinese

13.2%

Spanish

10.5%

Carrier

10.5%

Mandarin

10.5%

Japanese

7.9%

French

7.9%

German

5.3%

Cantonese

5.3%

Portuguese

2.6%

Filipino

2.6%

Vietnamese

2.6%

Romanian

2.6%

Hebrew

2.6%

Amharic

2.6%

Greek

2.6%

Dari

2.6%

Urdu

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Persian

2.6%
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Senior Hardware Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

10.6%

San Jose State University

8.2%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

8.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

Johns Hopkins University

5.3%

San Diego State University

5.3%

Southern Methodist University

4.7%

University of Phoenix

4.7%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.7%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.7%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

4.1%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.1%

University of Alabama

3.5%

Arizona State University

3.5%

Drexel University

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.5%

University of Southern California

3.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.5%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

61.6%

Computer Engineering

10.8%

Computer Science

4.8%

Business

4.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.9%

Engineering

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Management

1.4%

Physics

1.3%

Marketing

1.0%

Computer Networking

0.9%

Information Systems

0.9%

Systems Engineering

0.8%

Drafting And Design

0.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.7%

Communication

0.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.5%

Project Management

0.5%

Computer Information Systems

0.5%

Finance

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.1%

Masters

35.9%

Other

8.6%

Doctorate

4.2%

Associate

3.2%

Certificate

1.5%

Diploma

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 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, SR. Staff Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 04, 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 Hardware Engineer Arteris Inc. Campbell, CA Jan 03, 2016 $155,000
Senior RF Hardware Design Engineer PCH Labs, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 09, 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/Wireless Power R&D Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 06, 2015 $106,184 -
$121,100
Senior Hardware Engineer/Rf Hardware Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 12, 2015 $106,184 -
$123,400
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 Feb 14, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 09, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700
Senior Hardware Engineer/Video Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA May 01, 2015 $95,930 -
$129,700

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Top Skills for A Senior Hardware Engineer

PCBBoardLayoutSchematicGigabitEthernetAnalogXilinxFpgaAsicMemoryPCIModuleHardwareDesignVideoVerilogAlteraCADDSPVhdlRFUSBCpld

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Top Senior Hardware Engineer Skills

  1. PCB
  2. Board Layout
  3. Schematic
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Direct PCB services and support design, integration and test.
  • Designed several small boards doing both the schematic capture and the board layout.
  • Performed schematic capture and PCB layout of accepted design changes.
  • Traveled to Oregon to support design and management of Fast Ethernet extender and Gigabit Ethernet switch and extender.
  • Designed precision instrumentation signal sources and precision analog signal conditioning.

Top Senior Hardware Engineer Employers

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