How Do I Become a Hardware Engineer?
Hardware engineers design, build, and test the latest computer and electronics hardware. The most common route to a career as a hardware engineer is through a bachelor's degree program, like a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering or Computer Engineering. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Becoming a Hardware Engineer-Overview
Hardware engineers design and analyze computer systems and equipment. Most complete a bachelor's program in computer engineering before entering the field. Additionally, they may pursue licensing or an internship to demonstrate or hone expertise. A bachelor's degree program in hardware engineering covers several topics, including math, computer architecture and design, operating systems, and communications. Students also take general education classes like history, language, or the humanities. Engineering courses often require cumulative knowledge from your studies; you will need skills from all of your classes to complete the program. Hardware engineers design and analyze computer systems and equipment.
Important Facts About This Occupation
|Median Salary (2014)||$108,430|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||3%|
|Work Environment||Research laboratories|
|Similar Occupations||Computer network architect, computer programmer, mechanical engineer|
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
What degree program you choose depends on what area of hardware engineering you want to work in. If you are interested in designing electronic devices like cell phones or PDAs, find a school with a bachelor's degree program in electronics engineering. If you'd prefer building computer components and accessories like modems or keyboards, choose degree programs in computer engineering or computer hardware engineering. Several schools, including Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Wichita State University in Kansas, and Oregon State University in Corvallis, offer bachelor's degrees in computer engineering or electronics engineering. These schools are accredited by ABET, which looks good to employers and is required for licensure.
Though licensure isn't usually necessary for a hardware engineer, it may look good to a potential employer. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (www.ncees.org) oversees the licensing process. First, graduate from an ABET-accredited engineering program and take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Then, you can gain working experience with supervision by a licensed professional engineer and qualify to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
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