WHAT IS THIS JOB LIKE?
Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, test, and oversee the installation of computer hardware. Computer hardware includes computer chips, circuit boards, systems, modems, keyboards, and printers. (Computer software engineers design the programs to run computers.)
Computer hardware engineers are much like electronics engineers, but work only with computers. The rapid advances in computers are a result of their work. To keep up, these workers must stay up to date on what they know.
So if you like this you can continue your career as a hardware engineer.
HOW DO YOU GET READY?
A bachelor's degree in engineering is needed for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College grads with a degree in a science or mathematics may get some jobs.
Getting into engineering school requires a strong report card in math and science, and courses in English, social studies, and computers. Also, some schools prepare an engineer to get a job upon graduation while others prepare an engineer for graduate school. It is a good idea to research the school before you attend.
In a typical college, the first 2 years are for studying math, science, engineering basics, the arts, and social sciences. In the last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, mostly in a single branch.
Engineers should be creative, curious, analytical, and detail-oriented. They should be able to work as part of a team. People skills are important. This is because engineers often work with people in a wide range of fields.
HOW MUCH DOES THIS JOB PAY?
The middle half of all computer hardware engineers earned between $69,500 and $111,030 per year in 2006. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $53,910. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $135,260.
HOW MANY JOBS ARE THERE?
The number of computer hardware engineers is pretty small compared with other computer-related workers. They held about 79,000 jobs in 2006. Most worked in the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry, and some worked in the computer systems designs industry.
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
The number of computer hardware engineers is expected to grow more slowly than average through 2016. More people will need computers and related products made by these engineers, but some of these products will come from foreign countries. American workers will still have good job opportunities because the number of new entrants is expected to be in balance with the number of available jobs.
ARE THERE OTHER JOBS LIKE THIS?
Computer and information systems managers
Engineering and natural sciences managers
More information about computer hardware engineers can be found in the