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Computer Hardware Engineering Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a computer hardware engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Computer hardware engineers need at least a bachelor's degree for entry level positions but many opt to continue their studies in graduate school. Aspiring hardware engineers will learn all the innerworkings of computer hardware including how to fix and install them.

Essential Information

Computer hardware engineers research, test, diagnose, and install computer hardware such as microchips, circuit boards, keyboards, modems and routers. Some of them may also work as researchers who specialize in a type of hardware. A bachelor's degree in engineering is almost always required for entry-level positions. Those who wish to advance can earn a master's degree, while those wishing to perform research may earn a doctoral degree in computer engineering. This career is particularly geared toward those with strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

Required Education Bachelor's degree for entry-level; master's degree for advancement; doctoral degree for research positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3%*
Median Salary (2015) $111,730 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Computer Hardware Engineers

Starting a career as a computer hardware engineer generally requires a 4-year undergraduate degree in computer or electrical engineering, with hands-on experience in laboratory clinics as well as classroom-based seminars. Electrical engineering majors may offer concentrations in hardware engineering, while a computer engineering bachelor's degree program allows an aspiring computer hardware engineer to study both hardware and software applications, and how the two interact. Computer hardware classes include the study of circuit boards and their components, electromagnetics, digital design, microsystems design, embedded systems and computer networks.

Earning a master's degree gives a graduate advanced skills and the possibility of greater opportunity on the marketplace. Computer hardware engineers need strong skills in math, science, English and computers. Graduate students can choose to focus on areas such as network systems, parallel computing systems or machine vision systems. Coursework includes computer architecture, microprocessor systems, algorithms and computer organization. Students participate in computer labs and attend required seminars.

Education Requirements for Research and Development Careers

Computer hardware engineers who are interested in research can earn a doctoral degree in computer engineering, either as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.). The doctoral program is designed for students who have a background in computer engineering or a related field. At the beginning of the program, a student chooses an area of concentration such as networking, machine intelligence or embedded systems hardware, which guides the curriculum for the classroom component of the program and the research direction for the doctoral dissertation.

Coursework includes embedded engineering, computer architecture, networks, and internet technology. Students study very large scale integration (VLSI), wireless networking and nanotechnology. The research portion of the program covers methodology, technologies for business and product development. Doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation and take part in practicums related to their dissertation.

Becoming a computer hardware engineer requires formal education in order to learn the complex systems involved in computer hardware. This is a great profession for anyone who loves working with computers, solving technical problems, and working with their hands.


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