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Career Path: How to Become a Hardware Engineer

Though the focus on tech trends often focuses on software, Hardware Engineers play just as big of a role as software developers when it comes to bringing the most advanced technologies into fruition. The endless need for newer, faster and better technologies means Hardware Engineers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. Those who excel in this role are likely to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies, something that is both personally and professionally rewarding.

Getting Through the Door

Deciding to become a Hardware Engineer may b...more

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Career Path: How to Become a Hardware Engineer

Though the focus on tech trends often focuses on software, Hardware Engineers play just as big of a role as software developers when it comes to bringing the most advanced technologies into fruition. The endless need for newer, faster and better technologies means Hardware Engineers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. Those who excel in this role are likely to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies, something that is both personally and professionally rewarding.

Getting Through the Door

Deciding to become a Hardware Engineer may be a natural choice for those who have a desire to design and engineer devices with built-in computing systems. Gaining an entry-level position as a Hardware Engineer often takes a mix of education and technical experience. Having a certain amount of tech-savvy is necessary, even for a starting position. Some things employers make look for when hiring an entry-level Hardware Engineer can include:

  • Having an analytical and detail-oriented mindset.
  • Familiarity with analytical software, such as Cadence, SAS and Dracula.
  • Working knowledge of Linux and UNIX operating systems.
  • Using Microsoft Visual Basic, C and SystemVerilog for developing environment.
  • An aptitude for design software, including Allegro, Concept and Cadence.
  • Balancing creative skills with logical, i.e. deft with math and science.

These are just a few examples of the basic skills a Hardware Engineer may need to enter the field. Staying apprised of emerging technologies used in Hardware Engineering and a willingness to master them will also help the Hardware Engineer standout from entry-level job competitors.

Degrees and Experience

Many employers prefer their Hardware Engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or a related field. Others may require Hardware Engineers have a master’s degree – it depends on the size and scope of the company. For those striving to work with the most cutting-edge technology, attaining a postgraduate degree is the best way to show employers you are ready for the challenge.

Having a working understanding of the various tools, languages and programs listed above will prove the Hardware Engineer has the right amount of experience for the role, possibly earned will doing coursework, while interning or in a different though comparable entry-level IT role. Because Hardware Engineers are needed across most sectors, particularly in healthcare, IT, aerospace, consulting, etc., it is key for the Hardware Engineer to decide the field that interests them most and work towards entering a company in that industry.

Working as a Junior Level Hardware Engineer

Hardware Engineers at the junior level have learned the ropes of their role in the company and have honed their technical and soft skills. They likely work on a team and regularly collaborate with software engineers and other tech teams who work towards completing a project. Hardware Engineers regularly research, design and build computer systems and devices, such as routers, networks, circuit boards, processors and memory centers. They are also responsible for consistently testing these components and making needed modifications. When new software is introduced, Hardware Engineers have will ensure it is compatible with the existing computer equipment. If not, they will modify and update the computer equipment as needed. These are the typical responsibilities of a junior-level Hardware Engineer, though depending on the company, duties may be more or less defined.

Moving up the Ranks

….as a Hardware Engineer takes time and determination. It is a career that is constantly evolving, so being enterprising is key to staying ahead. Hardware Engineers who demonstrate a willingness to take on more responsibilities, who are consummate team players and who are increasingly fortifying their technical toolkit are likely to go far in the Hardware Engineering field.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior Hardware Engineer

Advancing to a senior Hardware Engineer position takes years of creating quality work and developing skills that set you apart from your colleagues. In Hardware Engineering, this can include not only increasing your fluency with the technical tools you use regularly but also increasing your interpersonal skills.

Perhaps you see a gap in performance a device you are developing with your team and come up with an effective technical solution is an example of how Hardware Engineers will prove themselves indispensable to their company. And those who take it upon themselves to aid struggling colleagues and mentor junior team members will surely standout to their managers and put you on the path to senior status in no time.

Study the Core Fields

There are many core fields associated with Hardware Engineering that will benefit a Hardware Engineer striving for success. Key sectors associated with your field include computer systems design; the manufacturing of computer and fringe devices; the building, thinking and organizing arenas – such as the hands-on use of tools and machines, researching and understanding the physics of engineering, and arranging systems following information and processes; and the interplay of hardware and software. Having a firm grasp of these concepts can help you further hone your Hardware Engineer skills and be a more productive worker.

Invest in Yourself

There are many skills Hardware Engineers learn through years of work. There are others that you may consider discovering by taking time to invest in your future. For a Hardware Engineer, this can education pursuits, such as obtaining a master’s degree in computer engineering and/or taking online courses that offer advanced certifications as an engineer. It is also beneficial to attend conferences and seminars that speak to the future of Hardware Engineering. At such events, you not only obtain literature and hear professionals talk about technical advancements, but you can also network with other Hardware Engineers and share ideas and experiences.

Don’t Stop at Hardware Engineering

Hardware Engineering is itself an interesting and complex field and by examining similar occupations in like-fields, a Hardware Engineer can further understand their particular duties. Careers within and parallel to Hardware Engineering include robotics engineers, who build, test and modify machines; QA testers, those who test and monitor computer systems and accessories; and software engineers, the developers who design, build and modify software applications that are operational on computer devices. By investigating these roles, their goals and how their work is similar to and different from Hardware Engineering, a Hardware Engineer can better envision their own work and how it affects the company as a whole.

Hardware Engineer Job Description

Hardware Engineers are responsible for designing, building and maintaining computer hardware systems and devices. The hardware they work with may include a computer’s internal components, such as the motherboard or processor, or external elements, like the mouse and keyboard. Successful Hardware Engineers need to be creative, have an eye for trends and mindful of emerging technologies that can aid their designs. They oversee the design process from start to completion and ensure a device or system is optimized for best functionality. Testing and modifying are other aspects of the Hardware Engineer role.

We are seeing a demand for Hardware Engineers, particularly as the need for smarter devices is continuing to drive the IT market. The components Hardware Engineers develop are with us daily, from our vehicle’s digital display to our mobile phone’s memory unit.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Designing blueprints for building computer equipment.
  • Design and build new computer hardware that meets business needs.
  • Collaborate with software engineers and integrate their developments into existing computer systems.
  • Test models and completed systems for efficiency and evaluate whether modifications are needed.
  • Supervise the manufacturing process of computer hardware components.

We Look For

  • An ambitious and tech-savvy engineer.
  • Aptitude for analytical software, design software, different operating systems and environment manipulating software.
  • An engineer who thrives as a member of collaborative teams.
  • Keen to understand all aspects of hardware and software harmonization.
  • Someone who stays aware of emerging technologies and identifying trends that can assist current and future business operations.

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Excellent communication skills
  • An aptitude for critical thinking
  • Creativity, especially when helping design hardware blueprints
  • Being an effective problem-solver

Senior Hardware Engineer Career Paths: Where to Go from Here

Achieving a senior level as a Hardware Engineer is an exciting feat. It speaks to the time and dedication a Hardware Engineer has amassed and fostered, with respect and a raise in salary additional benefits. A senior Hardware Engineer may enjoy staying in their role until retirement, while others may see it as a chance to take on new opportunities.

Depending on the company, a Hardware Engineer after this stage may be promoted to being a computer and information systems manager. Senior Hardware Engineers who are interested in moving on to a new field may explore such options as computer network architecture, which is responsible for the engineering of communication networks; electronics engineering, which is similar to Hardware Engineering, except these engineers focus on building components that make up electronic products and services.

Hardware Engineer who decide to stay on and enjoy their time as senior Hardware Engineer can take pride in training and mentoring junior staff members as well as watch as new technologies unfold before their eyes.

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language derived from C, and invented by Bjarne Stroustrup, while working at AT&T's Bell Labs. It is widely used for systems-level programming, and building applications on Windows and various Unix operating systems (Lin...

C

C is a widely used low-level, static-typed, compiled computer language known for its efficiency. Developed in the late sixties, C has become one of the most widely used languages of all time. It provides direct access to memory and due to its de...

Java is a statically-typed, cross-platform language. It is concurrent, class-based, and object-oriented. It has minimal implementation dependencies and compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilat...

PHP

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language that has seen wide use in web application development. PHP code must be processed by an interpreter like the Zend Engine. With a strong open-source community and large adoption world-wide, PHP ...

.NET is a framework created by Microsoft that consists of common language runtime and its own class library. Its key benefits are managing code at execution in the form of memory management, thread management and remoting. It also has added safet...

Adobe Photoshop is the mode widely used photo editing and image manipulation application in the world. It is used by designers and hobbyists worldwide to design products, advertising, applications, websites, art, and more.

Python is an object-oriented programming language notable for its clarity, power and flexibility. Python is an interpreted language, meaning that an interpreter reads and runs the code directly, rather than compiling down into static lower level c...

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

Top industries hiring Hardware Engineers

Electronics

The Electronics Industry has grown into a global industry with a value of billions of dollars. Most commonly when referring to the electronics industry it is understood the industry is consumer electronics which produces items used in everyday lif...

Aerospace

The aerospace industry involves designing and building machinery in the space industry, including parts, missiles and rockets. As of 2015, the aerospace industry was worth over $180.3 billion, with the majority of its net worth coming from comm...

Analytics

Analytics and Business Intelligence roles are often confused but are also directly linked. Data that is collected when a user interacts with a system is then cleaned and stored. That data is then accessed using reports and graphical dashboards. Th...

Security

Security industry jobs tend to involve the patrolling and guarding of physical assets, buildings and compounds, people, or anything else of value that one cares to protect. Jobs in the industry range from the individuals that actually perform t...

Manufacturing

Manufacturing involves creating merchandise through various forms of labor or machinery, including processing and formulation. There are many different types of manufacturing, including agile, flexible, just-in-time and lean manufacturing. Othe...

Transportation

The transportation industry is comprised of companies that move people, animals and goods from one location to another, commonly via land, sea or air. This includes companies that deliver packages to homes, digital vacation platforms that help ...

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