Computer Hardware Engineer

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Computer Hardware Engineer Job Description, Certification and Salary

What is a Computer Hardware Engineer?

If you are someone who likes working with the physical hardware of a computer then a job as a Computer Hardware engineer may just be for you. Computer Hardware Engineers are responsible for designing and developing computer systems as well as managing the computerised hardware of other peripherals, such as printers and modems. Due to the varied and demanding nature of the role, Engineers may be required to be certified to a high level and will need to be very technically minded and educated. 

What Does a Computer Hardware Engineer Do?

On a daily basis, this may require working with desktop computers, laptops, computer processors, graphics cards, sound cards, circuit boards, cabling and more. As a certified Hardware Engineer, you may be required to build, install, remove, update or test the hardware of any given computer. 

The role of a Computer Hardware Engineer is incredibly varied and they can have multiple projects on the go at any one time. Depending on who your employer is, you may be based within a computer research laboratory testing and building new hardware, or working within a highly technical centre that designs systems for vehicles or medical facilities.

How Much Can You Earn as a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Due to the highly technical nature of the job role, a Computer Engineer can expect to have quite a good starting salary which rises greatly, depending on specialisation and seniority. On average starting roles across the US, for a newly qualified Engineer, can be around $65-70k with that salary rising potentially to around $200k, depending on varying factors.

To give yourself the best chance of earning a higher salary, specialising in a particular area of Hardware Engineering will probably be the best route. By specialising in specific areas of Engineering you can increase the demand for your skillset thus improving your prospects of a higher salary.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

To be a Computer Hardware Engineer you should probably have some of the following skills or traits:

  • An analytical and technical mind
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Curious and inquisitive 
  • Willing to learn and test new skills often

The above list isn’t necessarily exhaustive of the skills needed to become a Computer Hardware Engineer, but they do give a good groundwork to start on. As previously mentioned this kind of role is highly technical and requires long hours of blueprinting, building and testing of computer systems. This means that a good foundation of knowledge is required as well as the willingness to constantly educate yourself and keep on top of new technologies. 

You should also be capable of communicating very technical aspects of computer hardware design to someone who isn’t necessarily technically minded. You will be expected to work with teams ranging from administration to software engineers and having the ability to pass on technical information in an understandable manner is key.

What skills do you need to become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Daily Duties of a Computer Hardware Engineer

A Computer Hardware Engineer would be expected, on a daily basis, to:

  • Design blueprints for new hardware
  • Construct hardware from technical designs
  • Test and improve upon constructed hardware
  • Work with other teams to ensure hardware and software compatibility
  • Update pre-existing hardware to new specifications
  • Manage and update reports of new hardware

How to Become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Due to the technical nature of the role, one of the most common ways to become a Computer Hardware Engineer is to be formally educated to a college or university degree level. This could be in computer science or even electrical engineering as both have a good crossover into the role. Good working knowledge of software programming languages may be expected as the designed hardware would not be of any use without software and being aware of compatibility issues will be a big bonus. 

After gaining the role, you will also be expected to continue with your education with certifications or other qualifications. This is due to the ever-changing nature of computer technology and the constant need for better hardware and software. Such certifications may or may not be provided and paid for by your employer. 


Becoming a Computer Hardware Engineer is not a path to be taken lightly as it requires a great deal od dedication and education. If you are looking for the next step in your career as a Computer Hardware Engineer then are here to help. Here you can find roles in every level of Computer Engineering within your local area. If you are also looking to hire a new Computer Engineer We can also help with that. By posting a job with us you can reach highly qualified engineers currently looking for roles. Simply input your information and start searching today.

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