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Become A System Hardware Engineer

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Working As A System Hardware Engineer

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

  • $98,000

    Average Salary

What Does A System 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 System 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
Principle Engineer 4.5 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Engineer 3.3 years
Hardware Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before System Hardware Engineer
Engineer 6.0%
Internship 5.3%
Technician 3.3%
Top Careers After System Hardware Engineer
Engineer 4.7%

Do you work as a System Hardware Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$98,000
Show Salaries
$73,000
Min 10%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$132,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a System Hardware Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a System Hardware Engineer in the United States is $98,894 per year or $48 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $73,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $132,000.

Real System Hardware Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
RF Systems Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 01, 2013 $150,000 -
$170,000
System Hardware Engineer Bluelighttec, Inc. San Jose, CA May 26, 2014 $142,667
Sensing System Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 28, 2013 $139,069 -
$160,000
Staff Hardware Engineer/Graphics Systems Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 10, 2015 $136,075 -
$151,700
Staff Hardware Engineer/Systemc Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Dec 12, 2014 $130,853 -
$159,700
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Feb 23, 2016 $130,562 -
$175,400
System Hardware Engineer Bluelighttec, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 03, 2016 $130,562
Hardware Systems Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 19, 2015 $130,000
Senior System Hardware Engineer CNEX Labs, Inc. San Jose, CA Jun 08, 2015 $126,000
System Hardware Engineer Bluelighttec Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 27, 2015 $125,965
System Hardware Engineer Bluelighttec, Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 02, 2015 $125,965
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Mar 10, 2015 $124,030 -
$175,400
RF Systems Hardware Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 09, 2015 $121,410 -
$140,000
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Mobile Communications North America Allentown, PA Jan 01, 2015 $120,557 -
$152,800
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Mobile Communications North America Austin, TX Jul 14, 2016 $102,898 -
$129,500
System Hardware Engineer A2Z Development Center, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Dec 16, 2015 $102,606 -
$158,800
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Jul 10, 2015 $102,395 -
$129,500
Sensing System Hardware Engineer/Architect Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 03, 2012 $100,000 -
$120,000
Systems Engineer-Hardware Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Jan 01, 2015 $95,974 -
$129,500
Hardware Engineer-Vision Systems Valeo North America, Inc. Troy, MI Dec 10, 2015 $95,500
Hardware & Systems Engineer Aliphcom Sunnyvale, CA Aug 16, 2015 $95,000
Systems Engineer, Hardware Qualcomm Incorporated Santa Clara, CA Sep 06, 2011 $84,024 -
$104,676
Systems Engineer, Hardware Qualcomm Incorporated Santa Clara, CA Mar 25, 2011 $84,024 -
$104,676
Systems Engineer-Hardware In The Loop Testing Magna Electronics, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 19, 2015 $82,500
Systems Engineer, Hardware Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, CA Dec 02, 2011 $82,272 -
$95,520

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Top Skills for A System Hardware Engineer

  1. Windows XP
  2. SQL
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed work orders for users needing to migrate to Windows 7 from Windows XP.
  • Design, implement, and optimize database system in SQL Server 2000.
  • Provided on-site and remote technical support for laboratory terminals and customers in five-state service area.
  • Designed notebook hardware architecture according to cost and technical considerations.
  • Completed 3 different FPGA designs.

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Top 10 Best States for System Hardware Engineers

  1. Maryland
  2. New Mexico
  3. Alaska
  4. Virginia
  5. Alabama
  6. Massachusetts
  7. California
  8. Washington
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Delaware
  • (1,423 jobs)
  • (149 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (2,236 jobs)
  • (444 jobs)
  • (1,026 jobs)
  • (5,593 jobs)
  • (994 jobs)
  • (303 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)

System Hardware Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.2%

Female

11.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

50.9%

Asian

17.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

9.5%

Unknown

6.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.3%

Arabic

17.6%

French

11.8%

Chinese

5.9%

German

5.9%

Urdu

5.9%

Dari

5.9%

Persian

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%
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System Hardware Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.1%

San Jose State University

7.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

7.3%

Illinois Institute of Technology

7.3%

University of South Florida

5.5%

University of California - Los Angeles

5.5%

University of Houston

5.5%

Northeastern University

5.5%

Purdue University

5.5%

Ohio State University

5.5%

Syracuse University

3.6%

University of Maryland - University College

3.6%

Stanford University

3.6%

Southern Methodist University

3.6%

Cogswell Polytechnical College

3.6%

Santa Clara University

3.6%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

A-Technical College

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus

3.6%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

45.5%

Computer Engineering

9.0%

Business

6.5%

Computer Science

6.0%

Computer Information Systems

3.5%

Information Technology

3.5%

Computer Networking

3.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.5%

Physics

2.5%

Computer Systems Security

2.0%

Engineering

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Systems Engineering

1.5%

Drafting And Design

1.5%

Finance

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.5%

Computer Engineering Technology

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Management

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.4%

Masters

36.3%

Other

13.1%

Associate

5.7%

Doctorate

3.7%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

0.8%
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