Computer Hardware Engineers
Career, Salary and Education Information
What They Do: Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components.
Work Environment: Computer hardware engineers usually work in research laboratories that build and test various types of computer models. Most work in computer systems design services and in manufacturing.
How to Become One: Most computer hardware engineers need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program.
Salary: The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers is $128,170.
Job Outlook: Employment of computer hardware engineers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of computer hardware engineers with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as a computer hardware engineer with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Top 3 Computer Hardware Engineer Jobs
Embedded Hardware Engineer
- Staffing Technologies
- Bellevue, WA
A Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering , Computer Engineering , or equivalent required * 5 years of hardware development experience including full life cycle and design-to-delivery experience
Embedded Hardware Engineer III
- Denali Advanced Integration
- Redmond, WA
Embedded Hardware Engineer 's III responsibilities are to provide technical experience to a multi ... Design, develop, and create applications and code for computer systems or programs based on ...
Intern, Hardware Engineer
- Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise USA, Inc.
- Agoura Hills, CA
Alcatel Lucent Enterprise is looking for Hardware engineer intern to work in our Calabasas facility ... computer science or the like
What Computer Hardware Engineers Do[About this section] [To Top]
Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers.
Duties of Computer Hardware Engineers
Computer hardware engineers typically do the following:
- Design new computer hardware, creating schematics of computer equipment to be built
- Test 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
Many hardware engineers design devices used in manufactured products that incorporate processors and other computer components and that connect to the Internet. For example, many new cars, home appliances, and medical devices have Internet-ready computer systems built into them.
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 mobile phones and other devices frequently are developed at the same time.
Work Environment for Computer Hardware Engineers[About this section] [To Top]
Computer hardware engineers hold about 76,900 jobs. The largest employers of computer hardware engineers are as follows:
|Computer systems design and related services||22%|
|Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences||9%|
|Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing||12%|
|Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing||5%|
Computer Hardware Engineer Work Schedules
Most computer hardware engineers work full time.
How to Become a Computer Hardware Engineer[About this section] [To Top]
Get the education you need: Find schools for Computer Hardware Engineers near you!
Most computer hardware engineers need a bachelor's degree from an accredited computer engineering program.
Education for Computer Hardware Engineers
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. Employers may prefer candidates who have graduated 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 is usually 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 for Computer Hardware Engineers
Some students participate in internships while in school so that they can gain practical experience.
Advancement for Computer Hardware Engineers
Some computer hardware engineers can advance to become computer and information systems managers.
Important Qualities for Computer Hardware Engineers
Analytical skills. Computer hardware engineers use computer programming tools to analyze the digital circuits in hardware to determine the best design.
Critical-thinking skills. These engineers use logic and reasoning to clarify goals, examine assumptions, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions.
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.
Communication skills. Engineers often work on teams and must be able to communicate with other types of engineers, software developers and programmers, as well as with nontechnical team members.
Computer Hardware Engineer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]
The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers is $128,170. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $77,100, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.
The median annual wages for computer hardware engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences||$164,980|
|Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing||$131,560|
|Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing||$127,690|
|Computer systems design and related services||$127,690|
Most computer hardware engineers work full time.
Job Outlook for Computer Hardware Engineers[About this section] [To Top]
Employment of computer hardware engineers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 5,300 openings for computer hardware engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Employment of Computer Hardware Engineers
Demand for these engineers is expected to grow as more industries outside of the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry begin to research and develop their own electronic devices. However, centralized computing and networking services may mean fewer engineers will be needed because these worksites cover large networks and geographic areas.
An increase in hardware startup firms and the ongoing increase in the number of devices with computer chips embedded in them, such as household appliances, medical devices, and automobiles, may also lead to some job growth for these workers.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2021||Projected Employment, 2031||Change, 2021-31|
|Computer hardware engineers||76,900||80,600||5||3,700|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.