Hands-On Technical Careers

Jan 19, 2020

If you are looking for a hands-on career that requires technical knowledge, there are a number of options to choose from in a variety of diverse fields, from computing to engineering.

Hands-On Technical Careers

Individuals who enjoy working with their hands and have an interest in technology may want to pursue a technical career that is hands-on. Whether you are drawn to computer technology, engineering, or design, there are a number of diverse career options that fit these requirements. We will look at five of them in greater detail below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Industrial Designer $66,590 3%
Drafter $55,550 0%
Civil Engineering Technician $52,580 5%
Network Architect $109,020 5%
Computer Hardware Engineer $114,600 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Hands-On Technical Jobs

Industrial Designer

Industrial design is a very hands-on career by nature, as designers in this field are responsible for generating new ideas and concepts for all types of products, from motor vehicles to children's toys. In addition to the design aspect of this job, industrial designers also build physical prototypes of these products in order to determine whether the design is viable and what types of manufacturing materials should be used in production. This career is also technical, as industrial designers generally should be knowledgeable in the fields of engineering and manufacturing in order to create functioning products. To become an industrial designer, you will generally need a bachelor's degree in industrial design or an engineering field.


As a drafter, you will typically work closely with engineers and architects by turning their designs into technical drawings that specify how to construct whatever structure is detailed in the design. Drafters make use of computer-aided design (CAD) software in order to make this conversion. This also allows them to makel models of the structures, enabling them to see how they will actually look and function in real life. Drafters often work in specific industries, like electronics or mechanics, both of which require technical knowledge. To become a drafter, you will typically need a certificate or associate's degree in drafting.

Civil Engineering Technician

Civil engineering technicians are individuals who assist civil engineers in the process of planning and building various types of infrastructure, like bridges, highways, and tunnels. Depending on the project they are working on, their duties will likely vary but could include visiting construction sites to evaluate field conditions, testing soil samples in labs, overseeing progress of construction projects, and creating cost estimates for projects. This job is both hands-on and requires technical knowledge in order to properly create and read designs and make sure that these designs are being followed correctly. To become a civil engineering technician, you will often need an associate's degree in civil engineering technology, though some employers may not require applicants to have a degree.

Network Architect

As a network architect, you will be responsible for designing and actually constructing computer networks, which could be local area networks that could connect a couple of offices or wide area networks that could connect people from around the world through cloud infrastructure. Network architects must create layouts for these networks, acquire the proper hardware, and then put the networks in place by installing the hardware or setting up cloud computing. This job requires a high level of technical computer knowledge in order to know what types of equipment should be used in various networks. To become a network architect, you will generally need a bachelor's degree in a field like computer science or information systems.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers are hands-on technical professionals, as their job involves creating the designs for new computer hardware, like routers, circuit boards, and processors. These engineers first build their designs by hand in order to test them before creating schematics that detail how the piece of hardware could be built by manufacturers. They must also ensure that the equipment they create works correctly with software. To become a computer hardware engineer, you will usually need a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or something similar.

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