A computer hardware engineer researches, designs, develops or tests 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
  • Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.
  • Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.
  • Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.
  • Recommend purchase of equipment to control dust, temperature, and humidity in area of system installation.
  • Provide training and support to system designers and users.
Work Context
  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded "Every day".
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 73% responded "Every day".
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 87% responded "Every day".
  • Spend Time Sitting — 64% responded "Continually or almost continually".
  • Telephone — 55% responded "Every day".
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded "Extremely important".
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 46% responded "Very important".
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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.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Detailed Work Activities
  • Update technical knowledge.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
  • Conduct validation tests of equipment or processes.
  • Monitor processes for compliance with standards.
  • Analyze design requirements for computer or electronics systems.
  • Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
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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.
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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.
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Oral Comprehension
  • The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
  • The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Inductive Reasoning
  • The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
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.
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People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
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You might use software like this on the job:

Computer aided design CAD software
  • Xilinx ModelSim Hot Technology
  • Mentor Graphics Xpedition xDX Designer Hot Technology
  • Mathsoft Mathcad Hot Technology
  • PARTHENON Hot Technology
  • Place-and-route software Hot Technology
  • Xilinx ISE Foundation Hot Technology
  • State diagram software Hot Technology
  • Schematic editors Hot Technology
  • PTC Creo Parametric Hot Technology
  • Electronic design automation EDA software Hot Technology
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA Hot Technology
  • Cadence Schematic Composer Hot Technology
  • Cadence Virtuoso Layout Suite Hot Technology
  • Cadence OrCAD Hot Technology
  • Cadence Allegro PCB Designer Hot Technology
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Hot Technology
  • Cadence Concept Hot Technology
  • Complementary-symmetry/metal-oxide semiconductor CMOS layout software Hot Technology
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot Technology
Object or component oriented development software
  • Oracle Java Hot Technology
  • Python Hot Technology
  • Practical extraction and reporting language Perl Hot Technology
  • C++ Hot Technology
  • Microsoft Visual C# .NET
Development environment software
  • National Instruments LabVIEW Hot Technology
  • Microsoft Visual Basic Hot Technology
  • Boundary scan description language BSDL
  • SystemVerilog
  • Tool command language Tcl
  • Verilog
  • Very high-speed integrated circuit VHSIC hardware description language VHDL
  • Hardware description language HDL
  • Hardware description and verification language
  • Freescale CodeWarrior Tools
  • Register transfer language RTL
  • C
  • Cadence Opus
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