Computer Hardware Engineers

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics > Engineering and Technology

Projected Growth: Average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Computer Hardware Engineers include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 68.18% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 27.27% said they needed a Master's Degree.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Wondering what Computer Hardware Engineers REALLY do throughout a day at work? Perhaps you should know what you’ll be doing all day before pursuing a career. So here are some tasks that Computer Hardware Engineers can be found doing during the work day. Hover over each task for information about relevance and importance. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that have similar tasks.

Essential Tasks

    Direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed.

Regular Tasks

    Design and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.

    Build, test, and modify product prototypes, using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.

    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.

    Select hardware and material, assuring compliance with specifications and product requirements.

    Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.

    Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.

    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.

    Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.

Occasional Tasks

    Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.

    Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.

    Specify power supply requirements and configuration, drawing on system performance expectations and design specifications.

    Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.

    Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.

    Recommend purchase of equipment to control dust, temperature, and humidity in area of system installation.

    Provide training and support to system designers and users.

What Tools and Technologies do Computer Hardware Engineers use?

The future of work is gonna be… techy🤖. No matter the career path, you’ll have to understand what the experts use to get the job done. Employers want to see practical experience with these tools and technologies. Use these lists to figure out what tools you need to learn and see trends about up and coming tech. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that use similar tools.


Waveform generators

Voltage sensors

Universal source generators

Traffic generators

Thermal chambers

Spectrum analyzers

Signal source analyzers

All Tools

Signal generators

Sampling oscilloscopes

Resistance meters

Pulse generators

Protocol exercisers

Protocol analyzers

Probe stations

Probe card devices

Power sensors

Personal digital assistants PDA

Personal computers

Pattern generators



Mainframe computers

Logic probes

Logic analyzers

Laptop computers


Inspection scopes

Inductance capacitance resistance LCR meters

Impedance analyzers

Function generators

Frequency counters

Feeler gauges

Dynamic signal analyzers

Direct current DC power supplies

Digital analysis systems DAS

Desktop computers

Computer scanners

Communications signal analyzers

Communications analyzers

Color plotters

Circuit testers

Circuit memory testers

Bit error rate testers BERT

Alternating current AC power sources

Alternating current AC power analyzers


Apache Subversion SVN

Cadence Allegro PCB Designer

Cadence Concept

Cadence OrCAD

Cadence Schematic Composer

Cadence Virtuoso Layout Suite

Complementary-symmetry/metal-oxide semiconductor CMOS layout software

All Technologies

Computer aided design CAD software

Electronic design automation EDA software


Mathsoft Mathcad

Mentor Graphics Xpedition xDX Designer

National Instruments LabVIEW


Place-and-route software

Practical extraction and reporting language Perl


Schematic editors

State diagram software

Xilinx ISE Foundation

Xilinx ModelSim

Application-specific integrated circuit ASIC logic synthesis software


Automatic test program generation ATPG

Block diagram software

Boundary scan description language BSDL

Boundary scan insertion software

Built-in self-test BIST debugging software

Cadence Dracula

Cadence Encounter RTL Compiler

Cadence Opus

Cadence PSpice

Cadence Virtuoso Spectre Circuit Simulator

Cisco Systems IOS

Computer diagnostic software

Computer simulation software

Data acquisition systems

Design-for-testability DFT insertion software

Discrete Fourier transform DFT analysis software

Failure analysis software

Fast Fourier transform FFT analysis software

Field programmable gate array FPGA logic synthesis software

Freescale CodeWarrior Tools

Hardware description and verification language

Hardware description language HDL

Integrated circuit simulation software

Internet search engine software

Logic synthesis software

LogicVision icBIST



Magma Design Automation Blast Create

Magma Design Automation Blast FPGA

Mentor Graphics BSDArchitect

Mentor Graphics Calibre

Mentor Graphics LeonardoSpectrum

Mentor Graphics Precision RTL

Microarchitecture simulation software

Microsoft Visual C# .NET

Monte Carlo simulation software

Project management software

Register transfer language RTL

Simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis SPICE



Synopsys Design Compiler

Synopsys Hercules

Synopsys HSIM

Synopsys HSPICE

Synopsys TetraMax ATPG

Synplicity Synplify


The Mathworks Control System Toolbox

The Mathworks Data Acquisition Toolbox

The Mathworks Embedded Coder

The MathWorks Real-Time Workshop

The MathWorks Signal Processing Toolbox

The MathWorks Simulink

The MathWorks Simulink DSP Blockset

The MathWorks Simulink Fixed-Point Blockset

The MathWorks Symbolic Math Toolbox

The MathWorks Wavelet Toolbox

Timing analysis software

Tool command language Tcl

Verification software


Very high-speed integrated circuit VHSIC hardware description language VHDL

Windows kernel debuggers

Xilinx Synthesis Technology XST

What Skills Do Computer Hardware Engineers Need to Have?

Let’s be real… take a look in the mirror! Do you have the what it takes to join the other Computer Hardware Engineers? The Skills? The Ability to succeed? If so, and you enjoy using these skills, then this job is for you. If not, GOOD NEWS, you can always pick up a new skill if you’re willing to put in the effort 💪


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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.


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.


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.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Operations Analysis

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Everything Computer Hardware Engineers Should Know…

Computer Hardware Engineers typically have vast knowledge of the subjects below. Think about this a lot… if you’re not a fan of the subjects, chances are this career isn’t for you. But, there’s plenty of time to learn and continue to learn throughout your career 🎓


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.


Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


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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