Computer Hardware Engineers

Description

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.

Tasks

  • Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.
  • Provide technical support to designers, marketing and sales departments, suppliers, engineers and other team members throughout the product development and implementation process.
  • Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.
  • Monitor functioning of equipment and make necessary modifications to ensure system operates in conformance with specifications.
  • Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan layout, including type of computers and peripheral equipment modifications.
  • Build, test, and modify product prototypes using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.
  • Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.
  • Direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed.
  • Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.
  • Select hardware and material, assuring compliance with specifications and product requirements.
  • Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.
  • 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.
  • Provide training and support to system designers and users.
  • Assemble and modify existing pieces of equipment to meet special needs.
  • Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, and need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
  • Design and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.
  • Recommend purchase of equipment to control dust, temperature, and humidity in area of system installation.

Abilities

Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Wrist-Finger Speed
The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Speed of Limb Movement
The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.

Work Activities

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Interests

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.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
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.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress 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.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Automation Engineer
Computer Architect
Computer Designer
Computer Engineer
Computer Installation Engineer
Computer Tester
Configuration Manager
Design Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Electronics Engineer
Engineer
Field Service Engineer
Hardware Engineer
Information Technology Consultant (IT Consultant)
Microchip Specialist
Network Administrator
Network Engineer
Project Engineer
Software Engineer
Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
Systems Engineer
Systems Integration Engineer
Telecommunications Engineer
Validation Engineer
Validation Specialist

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$48.52 hourly, $100,920 annual.
Employment (2008):
79,580 employees