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Computer Hardware Engineers
SOC Code: 17-2061.00

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

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.
  • 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.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Cadence Dracula; SAS ; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Xilinx Synthesis Technology XST (see all 52 examples)
  • Compiler and decompiler software - Cadence Encounter RTL Compiler
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD ; Cadence Virtuoso Layout Suite; Mentor Graphics Xpedition xDX Designer; PTC Creo Parametric (see all 17 examples)
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software; Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL
  • Development environment software - C ; Microsoft Visual Basic ; National Instruments LabVIEW ; Verilog (see all 13 examples)
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Microsoft Visio
  • Information retrieval or search software - Internet search engine software
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Object or component oriented development software - C++ ; Oracle Java ; Practical extraction and reporting language Perl ; Python (see all 6 examples)
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Operating system software - Cisco Systems IOS; Linux ; Shell script ; UNIX
  • Pattern design software - Block diagram software
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Program testing software - Windows kernel debuggers
  • Project management software
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software

Tools Used

  • Brushless motor DC - Direct current DC power supplies
  • Calibrated resistance measuring equipment - Resistance meters
  • Capacitance meters - Inductance capacitance resistance LCR meters
  • Circuit tester - Circuit memory testers; Circuit testers
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital testers - Bit error rate testers BERT
  • Electronic measuring probes - Logic probes; Probe card devices; Probe stations
  • Feeler gauges
  • Frequency analyzers - Spectrum analyzers
  • Frequency calibrator or simulator - Dynamic signal analyzers; Signal source analyzers
  • Frequency counters or timer or dividers - Frequency counters
  • General purpose motor AC - Alternating current AC power sources
  • Heated walk in environmental or growth chambers - Thermal chambers
  • Impedance meters - Impedance analyzers
  • Integrated circuit testers - Digital analysis systems DAS; Logic analyzers
  • Isolators
  • Level generators - Pulse generators
  • Magnifiers - Inspection scopes
  • Mainframe computers
  • Multimeters
  • Network analyzers - Communications analyzers; Traffic generators
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Oscilloscopes - Communications signal analyzers; Sampling oscilloscopes
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers - Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Plotter printers - Color plotters
  • Power meters - Alternating current AC power analyzers; Power sensors
  • Protocol analyzers - Protocol exercisers
  • Scanners - Computer scanners
  • Signal generators - Function generators; Pattern generators; Universal source generators
  • Voltage or current meters - Voltage sensors
  • Wave generators - Waveform generators

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.

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.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Monitoring - 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.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 64% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 77% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Telephone - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 45% responded “Very important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 59% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 33% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Level of Competition - 41% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Contact With Others - 36% responded “Contact with others about half the time.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 50% responded “Important results.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 41% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 43% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Time Pressure - 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
68%Bachelor's degree
27%Master's degree
5%Doctoral degree

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.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

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.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $55.35 hourly, $115,120 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 74,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 5,100

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