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Computer Hardware Engineer

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.


How do you get ready?

A college degree in engineering is needed for almost all beginning engineering jobs. College graduates with a degree in a science or mathematics may get some jobs.

Getting into engineering school requires a strong background in math and science, and courses in English, social studies, and computers. 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.

Engineers should be creative, curious, and be able to analyze and pay attention to detail. They should be able to work as part of a team, so people skills are important.

How many jobs are there?

The number of computer hardware engineers is pretty small compared with other computer-related workers. They held about 74,700 jobs in 2008. Many worked in the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry, and some worked in the computer systems design industry.What about the future?

The number of computer hardware engineers is expected to grow slower than the average for all occupations through 2018. More people will need computers and related products made by these engineers, but some of these products will come from foreign countries.


How much does this job pay?

Computer hardware engineers had average yearly wages of $100,180 in May 2008.

Are there other jobs like this?

Architects

Chemists

Computer and information systems managers

Electrical engineers

Science technicians

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