Computer Hardware Engineers

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.

Median Annual Wage: $108,430

Education: Bachelor's degree (68%); Master's degree (27%); Doctoral degree (5%)

Projected Growth: Slower than average (3% to 7%)

Related Job Titles: Design Engineer; Systems Engineer; Project Engineer; Engineer; Hardware Engineer; Field Service Engineer; Network Engineer; Systems Integration Engineer; Hardware Design Engineer; Senior Hardware Engineer

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Computer Hardware Engineers.

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  • Build, test, and modify product prototypes using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.
  • Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.
  • Specify power supply requirements and configuration, drawing on system performance expectations and design specifications.
  • Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.
  • Design and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.
  • Select hardware and material, assuring compliance with specifications and product requirements.
  • Monitor functioning of equipment and make necessary modifications to ensure system operates in conformance with specifications.
  • Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.
  • Direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed.
  • Provide technical support to designers, marketing and sales departments, suppliers, engineers and other team members throughout the product development and implementation process.
  • Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.
  • Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
  • Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.
  • Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.
  • Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Computer Hardware Engineers.

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Computer Hardware Engineers.

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