What does a hardware engineer do? A hardware engineer handles a lot of duties in the areas of research, design and development, evaluation and testing of computer hardware components and systems, starting from computer chips, CPUs, microprocessors, circuit boards and modems to disk drives, keyboards and printers. Testing, upgradation and modification of computer components are the responsibilities of hardware engineers. They are also given the responsibility of supervising the production and set-up of computer systems and the assimilation of components in hardware systems. The job profile may also involve the following:
- Development of software that runs the hardware systems
- Detailing the configurations and requirements regarding power supply of hardware systems
- Developing different effective ways so that computers can function better and faster
- Ensuring that the systems consume less electricity
This is in brief, the responsibilities of a hardware engineer.
If you are considering a career in this field, let me tell you that this is a good career choice. Job duties are challenging and exciting, salary is decent, career advancement opportunities are good and job growth is promising.
You have gained knowledge about the job activities you have to perform as a hardware engineer. Now, you will certainly like to be aware of the skills and qualifications for hardware engineer jobs.
Hardware Engineer Skills
Creativity and analytical skills; these two skills are important because the work of hardware engineers involves
- Analysis of the functionality of hardware computer components and designs for identifying errors
- Offering specifications for components
- Suggesting modification or replacement of parts
Other key skills for this job are
- Programming skills
- Hardware troubleshooting skills
- Knowledge of technology design, operations analysis and quality control analysis
- Understanding of computer networking, electronic circuitry and different hardware systems
Hardware engineers also need to have excellent communication skills and be a good technical writer as they are the ones who prepare reports after conducting tests.
Strong IT skills are also required in hardware engineers and they are related to
- Application development
- Application platforms
- Business intelligence
- Communications and networking
- Operating systems
- Development applications
Most importantly, hardware engineers need to be passionate about technology, willing to learn and should keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry. Also, they must be adept in the proper use of new tools, technologies and systems.
Hardware Engineer Qualifications
In order to become a hardware engineer, the minimum academic qualification is a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Most employers set this qualification in their eligibility criteria list. Many hardware engineers venture into this profession with a degree in electrical engineering which is a relevant branch. Hardware engineers work only on computer hardware systems. Big corporations and large firms prefer to employ candidates having a master’s degree for the position of hardware engineer.
Additionally, you may take up courses on business applications like STL, POSIX, SAS application platform, LabWindows and .NET, and .NET Framework.
Hardware engineers have employment opportunities in hardware manufacturing firms, research laboratories and industrial plants. At the initial stage, they are responsible for the design and development of the prototypes of the hardware systems. Senior professionals supervise the manufacturing process, evaluation and assimilation. With extensive experience, such professionals can opt for self-employment. Only licensed hardware engineers can work independently.
When hardware engineers do not engage in these tasks, they are involved in research and development. This is again a quality time engineers spend in upgrading their skills.
This is in brief, a job description of a hardware engineer. You may prepare for this career by going through the above discussion.