Information & Communication Technology
IT Hardware Engineer
IT hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components.
What does an IT Hardware Engineer do?
IT (information technology) and computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. By creating new directions in computer hardware, these engineers create rapid advances in computer technology.
As an IT hardware engineer, you would:
- design new computer hardware and peripherals
- create prototypes or schematics of computer equipment to be built
- test the completed products
- analyse test results and modify designs as needed
- write detailed specifications for power requirements, system performance requirements and standards, and software installation
- update existing computer equipment so that it will work with new software
- oversee the manufacturing process for computer hardware
- maintain an up-to-date knowledge of computer engineering trends and new technologies.
Key skills and interests
To become an IT hardware engineer, you would need:
- an aptitude for technical activities
- the ability to identify, analyse and solve problems
- good oral and written communication skills
- to enjoy computing and technical design
- practicality and creativity.
Working hours and conditions
Most hardware engineers work full time. In a full-time job you would work standard hours, Monday to Friday.
You would work in a research laboratory or workshop, usually in a high-tech manufacturing firm. This may be a large organisation, or a smaller company developing and producing specialist computer hardware.
How to become an IT Hardware Engineer?
Entry Level Education
To become an IT hardware engineer you usually have to study electronic, computer, computer systems or software engineering at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Employment of hardware engineers is projected to grow slightly slower than the average for all occupations.
A limited number of engineers will be needed to meet the demand for new computer hardware because more innovation takes place with software than with hardware. Declining employment in the manufacturing industries that employ many of these workers will affect the growth of this occupation. However, hardware engineers should be less affected than production occupations because firms are less likely to outsource this type of work.
An increase in devices with embedded computer chips such as household appliances, medical devices, or automobiles may lead to some job growth for hardware engineers.