Careers Working with Computer Hardware

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue working with computer hardware. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education information. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Hardware Professional?

There are quite a few careers you can pursue working with computer hardware. Computer hardware engineers develop and test computer equipment for a variety of professional settings, including business offices, factories, laboratories, and military bases. Computer support specialists help users of both hardware and software troubleshoot issues. Computer operators control and monitor the equipment and software used to create and record data for businesses, laboratories, and a variety of other contexts. Computer and information research scientists conduct research to improve and invent computing technology. Network architects create and set up LANs, intranets, and other data communication networks. Reference the table below for some quick facts on three of these careers.

Computer Hardware Engineers Computer Support Specialists Computer Operators
Degree Required Bachelor's Associate's High school diploma or equivalent
Education Area of Study Computer engineering, electrical engineering or computer science Computer science, engineering, or information science N/A
Key Responsibilities Design and test different computer parts, supervise the making and installation of computer components Fix computers and other electronic equipment, troubleshoot and install updates and new software Maintain and operate computers and computer systems
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 3% 12% -19%
Median Salary (2015)*$111,730 $51,470 $40,420

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Common Careers in Computer Hardware?

Computer Hardware Engineer

As a computer hardware engineer, you may design different parts for a computer, such as circuit boards, processors, routers or mice. Other duties may include testing parts and supervising the making and installation of various components. You might also work with electrical components performing tasks comparable to the duties of electronics engineers. You may work for a computer manufacturer or telecommunications, automotive or aircraft businesses. You may work on embedded or control systems.

Computer Support Specialist

You may work in an educational or business environment solving problems with computer hardware and associated software. You may fix problems with computer peripherals, such as printers and external drives, as well as troubleshooting problems with workstations. Other duties may include installing upgrades and new programs, helping users and performing computer maintenance.

Computer Operator

The job as a computer operator involves making sure computer hardware systems operate properly and efficiently. You may find yourself overseeing a mainframe (a powerful, large computer) or many computers organized into a group. You may be responsible for routine maintenance and running jobs on the computer. You may be required to log all jobs and any problems encountered and solution(s) applied.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Working in this capacity, you may be an inventor, designer or theorist involved in developing new computer hardware or resolving existing problems. Part of your job duties may include finding new uses for computers and working with others, such as technicians, users and management, to find out what their system requirements are and what advances would help them.

Network Architects

A network architect creates communication networks within and between workplaces. You may be responsible for maintaining the network, as well as applying upgrades. You may also configure the entire network, along with associate equipment, such as printers. To work as a network architect, you may be required to keep your skills and knowledge about hardware used by your employer up-to-date.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

This article by no means provides an exhaustive list of careers that work with computer hardware. A couple of careers not covered include those of IT managers and audio and video equipment technicians. IT managers regulate the technology needs of a project or workspace and ensure that the computer hardware and software is capable of achieving the workplace's targets. Like many of the aforementioned careers, they typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer science. Audio and video equipment technicians might not need any postsecondary education, but they do need to understand the electronic hardware they set up and operate, including wires and cables, recording equipment, sound and mixing boards, and video monitors. This technology is increasingly operated digitally with the assistance of a computer.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools