How do I Become a Hardware Engineer?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2019
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A hardware engineer’s job involves working with computers and equipment associated with computers. Those looking to become a hardware engineer must have complete mastery when it comes to computers. A degree in computer hardware engineering is a bare minimum with two years' experience also required. There are two specialty exams which must be passed, with the first allowing the applicant to apply for an internship. Once the second exam is completed, engineers are invited to apply for jobs.

To become a hardware engineer, it is necessary to know how to deal with computer systems, printers, and circuit boards among other things. Hardware engineers are also responsible for designing, researching, and testing new equipment. This type of engineer may also be asked to oversee computer manufacture.

Those looking to become a hardware engineer must attend college and study topics such as advanced mathematics and computer science. Naturally, complete proficiency in computers is a must; hardware engineers are expected to write and understand complex computer code, among other things. It is also important to take communications classes and learn organizational skills because engineers are expected to know how to work as part of a team and deal with a number of different projects at once.


Regarding college education, prospective hardware engineers need to complete a degree in computer hardware engineering. This used to be simply a regular degree in engineering with an added emphasis on computer technology. Many educational institutions now understand the importance of computing in society and have created a special computer hardware engineering degree. It is possible to take a two-year course, but this will result in a diploma rather than a degree. The full degree qualification could take up to four years.

In order to become a hardware engineer however, a degree by itself is often not enough. A minimum of two years' work experience involving electronic designs and the development of electronic hardware is required. Hardware engineers must also know how to use programs such as PowerPoint® and spreadsheets, as part of the job involves documenting test results.

The Fundamentals of Engineering exam or the equivalent is a critical test for those looking to become a hardware engineer. Those who pass this exam will be eligible to become an intern. Once enough work experience has been completed, the Principals and Practice of Engineering exam is next.

Successful completion of this exam will open up doors, with a hardware engineering job becoming a possibility. Anyone who manages to become a hardware engineer must be aware of the constant changes in computers and technology. It is a hardware engineer’s duty to keep up to date with these changes by constantly revising and studying new hardware products that appear.



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