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Summary Report for:
17-2061.00 - 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Design Engineer, Engineer, Field Service Engineer, Hardware Design Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Network Engineer, Project Engineer, Senior Hardware Engineer, Systems Engineer, Systems Integration Engineer

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Circuit tester — Circuit memory testers; Circuit testers
Electronic measuring probes — Logic probes; Probe card devices; Probe stations
Integrated circuit testers — Digital analysis systems DAS; Logic analyzers
Network analyzers — Communications analyzers; Traffic generators
Signal generators — Function generators; Pattern generators; Universal source generators

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — Cadence Dracula; SAS software; The MathWorks MATLAB; Xilinx Synthesis Technology XST
Computer aided design CAD software — Allegro software; Cadence Concept; Mathsoft Mathcad; Xilinx ISE Foundation
Development environment software — C; Microsoft Visual Basic; Register transfer language RTL; SystemVerilog
Object or component oriented development software — C++; Microsoft Visual C# .NET; Practical extraction and reporting language Perl; SKILL
Operating system software — Linux; Shell script; UNIX

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Knowledge

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.

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Skills

Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

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Abilities

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 Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

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Work Activities

Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Work Context

Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Spend Time Sitting — How much does this job require sitting?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
68   Bachelor's degree
27   Master's degree
  Doctoral degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Computer Science — Computer Engineering, General; Computer Hardware Engineering
Engineering — Computer Engineering, General; Computer Hardware Engineering

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: IRC

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.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

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Work Values

Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Related Occupations

15-1121.00 Computer Systems Analysts Bright Outlook
15-1122.00 Information Security Analysts Bright Outlook
15-1132.00 Software Developers, Applications Bright Outlook
15-1133.00 Software Developers, Systems Software   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook     Green Occupation Green
15-1141.00 Database Administrators
15-1143.00 Computer Network Architects
15-1199.01 Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers Bright Outlook
15-1199.02 Computer Systems Engineers/Architects Bright Outlook
17-2071.00 Electrical Engineers Green Occupation
17-2072.00 Electronics Engineers, Except Computer Green Occupation

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $50.12 hourly, $104,250 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 83,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 24,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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