Computer Hardware Engineers

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Also known as:  Computer Hardware Designer, Computer Hardware Developer, Computer Hardware Engineer

ABOUT COMPUTER HARDWARE ENGINEER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Years ago, the keyword for new college graduates was steel. Years later, the hot industry was plastics. Today, it's computers. Computer engineers design new computers and computer-related devices. They have a detailed understanding of microprocessors, computer chips, and other components, which they ...
apply to designing circuit boards, scanners, printers, monitors, hard disk drives, and many other computer devices or add-ons.

However, since hardware is useless without software, computer engineers also work closely with software engineers to make sure that the equipment does what it is supposed to do when manufactured. To obtain a job in this field, you'll need a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or math at the very least. But for people with the interest and talent, education isn't the hard part.

The hard part is keeping up with a technology that changes almost every day. New chips, new designs, new components - the pace can be staggering. And the pressure of intense industry competition can be punishing. Some people thrive in such an environment. And the rewards for them can be significant.
SNAPSHOT Expand
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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
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.
Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.
Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.
Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.
Build, test, and modify product prototypes using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.
Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.
Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.
Provide technical support to designers, marketing and sales departments, suppliers, engineers and other team members throughout the product development and implementation process.
Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
TOP SKILLS Expand
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.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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