Computer Hardware Engineers

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Automation Engineer
  • Computer Architect
  • Computer Designer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Computer Hardware Designer
  • Computer Hardware Developer
  • Computer Installation Engineer
  • Computer Tester
  • Configuration Manager
  • Design Engineer

What They Do

  • Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.
  • 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.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IRC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Realistic and Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Working Conditions, but also value Achievement and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $106,930 with most people making between $64,620 and $154,810

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 70,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 76,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 22,000 replacement openings for approximately 22,000 total annual openings.