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Computer Hardware Engineer

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What Does it Take to Be a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Job Description: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.

What Do Computer Hardware Engineers Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Specify power supply requirements and configuration, drawing on system performance expectations and design specifications.
  • Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.
  • Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.
  • Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.
  • Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.
  • Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.

Computer Hardware Engineer Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Computer Hardware Engineers say are important on the job.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Other Computer Hardware Engineer Job Titles

  • Computer Hardware Designer
  • Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
  • Computer Architect
  • Microchip Specialist
  • Senior Hardware Engineer

Computer Hardware Engineer Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 73,600 jobs for Computer Hardware Engineer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,000 new jobs for Computer Hardware Engineer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 5,100 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Computer Hardware Engineer are North Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Minnesota, Idaho, or Oklahoma. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Computer Hardware Engineer Average Salary

The salary for Computer Hardware Engineers ranges between about $66,700 and $172,630 a year.

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Computer Hardware Engineers who work in California, District of Columbia, or Maryland, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Computer Hardware Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $108,040
Arizona $110,600
Arkansas $109,810
California $131,570
Colorado $117,120
Connecticut $105,980
District of Columbia $126,770
Florida $97,830
Georgia $100,190
Hawaii $96,080
Idaho $106,680
Illinois $101,630
Indiana $82,130
Kansas $88,630
Kentucky $85,340
Louisiana $81,660
Maryland $125,290
Massachusetts $123,650
Minnesota $107,780
Mississippi $90,320
Missouri $100,160
Nevada $88,670
New Hampshire $114,280
New Jersey $115,090
New York $114,590
North Carolina $108,090
Ohio $102,820
Oklahoma $103,570
Oregon $111,020
Pennsylvania $107,410
Rhode Island $104,400
South Carolina $87,870
Tennessee $87,910
Texas $116,720
Virginia $119,500
Washington $123,680
West Virginia $96,370
Wisconsin $88,780

What Tools do Computer Hardware Engineers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Computer Hardware Engineers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Database software
  • Structured query language SQL
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Linux
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • UNIX
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • National Instruments LabVIEW

How do I Become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Are there Computer Hardware Engineers education requirements?

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What work experience do I need to become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

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Where Computer Hardware Engineers Are Employed

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The table below shows the approximate number of Computer Hardware Engineers employed by various industries.

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Similar Careers

Those interested in being a Computer Hardware Engineer may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Computer Hardware Engineer in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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