Example Career: Computer Hardware Engineers
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.
What Job Titles Computer Hardware Engineers Might Have
- Design Engineer
- Hardware Engineer
- Systems Engineer
What Computer Hardware Engineers Do
- Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.
- Build, test, and modify product prototypes using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.
- Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.
- Specify power supply requirements and configuration, drawing on system performance expectations and design specifications.
- Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.
- Design and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.
- 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.
- Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.
- Direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed.
- Provide technical support to designers, marketing and sales departments, suppliers, engineers and other team members throughout the product development and implementation process.
- Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.
- Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
- Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.
- Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.
- Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.
What Computer Hardware Engineers Should Be Good At
- 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.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Computer Hardware Engineers Should Be Interested In
- Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
What Computer Hardware Engineers Need to Learn
- 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.
- Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.