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Some of the most promising careers today can be found in the field of computer hardware engineering. With computers continuing to spread throughout everyone's personal life and across government and business enterprises around the world, the demand grows for hardware engineers to design the technology of the future. Hardware engineering is an occupation that will provide steady growth, job security and high-paying opportunities for years to come.
Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components, including computer chips, Internet servers, network routers, video game consoles, mobile phones, and tablet computers. Computers are found in all types of devices, so hardware engineers work on everything from household appliances, to intelligent automotive systems, to wearable technology like Google Glasses and Samsung smart watches.
Engineers typically are employed at research laboratories, with most working for large high-tech manufacturers like Apple and Intel. More than 95 percent of computer hardware engineers are employed in large metropolitan areas.
Hardware engineers apply engineering concepts and techniques to build the technology of tomorrow. They create new devices, chips and interfaces for new hardware applications, and they enhance existing systems and components to make them faster, cheaper and more efficient. Some engineers are experts in certain types of equipment and components, while others focus on applying technology to solve the challenges of a particular business or industry. Hardware engineers are constantly striving to determine how they can best apply technology to help resolve issues and take advantage of new opportunities.
Engineers use computer software, modeling applications, and other tools to design new hardware. They begin by creating blueprints of the computer equipment that will be built or modified. They then test completed models of the new hardware, analyze the results, and make any needed modifications. They also must ensure that the new hardware will work correctly with other equipment, and with the software that will operate the hardware. They may be involved in overseeing the process of manufacturing the computer hardware.
Would you make a good computer hardware engineer? Technical training and at least a four-year college degree are required to land that first job. However, personal trails can be just as important for success. Do you like solving puzzles – particularly challenging ones that require a dogged determination to find the answer? Are you good with computers and math? Can you think problems through logically to arrive at the best solution? Do you communicate well, speaking and in writing? Are you a team player? If you have these qualities, you may be well positioned to pursue a career in computer hardware engineering.
If you have good analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills, you can enjoy a financially rewarding career. A combination of training, hard work and positive personal traits will help you achieve the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies the role of a successful hardware engineer.