Computer Hardware Engineers

“It's hardware that makes a machine fast. It's software that makes a fast machine slow.”

-          Craig Bruce 


‘Computer Hardware’ essentially refers to the physical components of computer systems. Computer Hardware Engineers are professionals who are involved with the development and design of these physical components that include computer screens, keyboards, processors, circuit boards, microchips etc.  The basic job of Computer Hardware Engineers is to make new equipment and update older equipment so that it becomes compatible with new software. The phenomenal growth that we are seeing in the world of computers is largely due to the contribution of talented Computer Hardware Engineers. They are constantly researching to find new ways and materials that can help create equipment that is faster, more reliable and more compact. Computer Hardware Engineers create high – tech and efficient equipment such as touch – screens, faster processors, HD display panels etc. They are involved in the conceptualization, design, manufacturing, testing and installation of all the hardware components of computer systems. Even though the nature of their work is similar to that of Electronic Engineers, the main difference lies in the fact that Computer Hardware Engineers focus solely on the hardware components of computer systems and not on any other electronic device.

Choosing this as a profession is an extremely profitable decision. Computer Hardware Engineers are in great demand today to not only improve performance and efficiency of computers but also to reduce costs. There are innumerable growth opportunities in this profession and Computer Hardware Engineers are employed by computer manufacturing companies, industrial plants and research laboratories. Most professionals are involved in the commercial side of computer hardware, whereas some also work in the defense and scientific fields. To become successful in this career, you will not only require technical knowledge but creativity and innovative skills as well. It is a research oriented profession that requires an understanding of the type of computers the public wants and how they can be created.

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What do Computer Hardware Engineers do?

Computer Hardware Engineers are involved in the designing and manufacturing of new and innovative hardware that make computers more advanced and high – tech. Some of them also create software that is related to hardware use. It is a part of their job to ensure that all parts of a computer are compatible with each other and they are also involved in specifying configurations and power supply requirements.


One of the most important jobs of Computer Hardware Engineers is to conduct research. This research can be related to a variety of topics including determining user requirements, finding cheaper and better materials, developing advanced production methods and new technologies. Computer Hardware Engineers use this research to develop concepts of new hardware that will improve the performance of computers and make them cheaper and more reliable.

The most important part of a Computer Hardware Engineer’s job is to create designs of new and improved hardware components. These designs are built after determining client and user requirements. Computer Hardware Engineers create these designs or blueprints of products using designing software and specify their mechanism.

Building prototypes is another important aspect of the job of Computer Hardware Engineers. Prototypes are samples of the product and are created to test the functionality of the design as well as showcase a working model of the design to the client.

Computer Hardware Engineers are also involved in conducting tests and surveys on these prototypes. These tests are meant to reveal any defects in the design or the proposed product. Computer Hardware Engineers are responsible for repairing and improving the design if any faults are found in the prototype. The prototype and the design have to clear all tests and be approved by the client before the manufacturing process can start.

Overseeing production and manufacturing of computer hardware components is a vital part of the job of Computer Hardware Engineers. They have to make sure that the manufacturing takes place strictly according to the blueprints and designs specified by them. They lead and motivate the production team and work towards maintaining the budget and completing the production on time.

Conducting quality checks after the production and maintaining manufactured hardware components are also the jobs of Computer Hardware Engineers. Although the maintenance work is primarily restricted to entry – level engineers, experienced Computer Hardware Engineers are required to attend to some high –tech installations.

Computer Hardware Engineers update existing hardware components to make them compatible with new software and new technological demands. This requires them to analyze the defects and faults in the products and find ways to improve on them so as to make them faster and more efficient.


How to become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Computer Hardware Engineers are innovators who use their creative imagination and strong knowledge in the field of computers and materials to create hardware that is efficient, user – friendly, advanced and impressive.


To become a Computer Hardware Engineer, you should focus on Math, Science and English during school. You will have to choose the Science stream after your Class 10th and study subjects like Math, Physics and Chemistry in great detail. Studying Computer Science is also very important.

Before you can get into a Bachelor’s level course in this field, you will be required to qualify in certain engineering entrance examinations. Please note that almost all engineering colleges conduct their private entrance examinations on the basis of which they admit students. These exams are competitive and require a lot of preparation.

You would pursue a Graduate course in Computer Engineering or a related field if you manage to qualify in the entrance examination. A course in this field will help you expand your knowledge base in the field of computers and hardware. You should also pursue a Post Graduate degree after your graduation so that you can specialize in the hardware related aspect of Computer Engineering.

Working as an Intern or a Trainee in companies under experienced Computer Hardware Engineers will not only help you gain vital experience but will also help you learn about the technicalities of the profession and the industry.

To become a Computer Hardware Engineer, you need to be an expert in designing and drafting software as they will help you create accurate and technical designs based on your concepts of hardware components. You should also be proficient in various programming languages such as C++.

You need to be ready and willing to conduct your own research if you want to get into this profession. Develop an inquisitive attitude towards computers and hardware. Read as much as you can about new technologies and hardware and try to open up waste hardware components such as old keyboards or speakers to understand their mechanism in greater detail.



The IITs are known for their undergraduate courses in Computer Science Engineering. They provide a B.Tech in Computer Science Engineering upon graduation. Apart from the IITs, there are the NITs, some renowned private colleges such as Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani, and a range of other engineering colleges in every state that offer computer science engineering. All these institutes also offer post graduate courses in the same field. - See more at: 


What are the skills required to become a Computer Hardware Engineer?

Becoming a Computer Hardware Engineer requires the ability to think analytically and make quick decisions to solve complex problems. Computer Hardware Engineers need to have a very strong knowledge base in the field of materials, design, programming and electronics. They should have excellent communication skills so as to work in a team and collaborate with other engineers to create successful products. They need to have excellent numerical ability and should also know about the technicalities of computer software. Computer Hardware Engineers should have the ability to pay attention to details and should be creative and innovative so as to use their imagination and technical knowledge to create wonderful and advanced hardware components.


Is this the right career for me?

Computer Hardware Engineers spend most of their lives working in offices and laboratories creating designs for new hardware and conducting constant research. They work for long hours in order to meet deadlines. It is a technical career that involves a lot of studying but also offers good pay packages and considerable job security.

If you are looking for a job that does not require you to work for long hours and if you’re not comfortable in conducting research and dealing with subjects like Math and Physics for the rest of your life, then this is not the right career for you. But if you’re genuinely interested in the world of computers, and have the rare ability to be creative and technical at the same time, then you can be ideal for this career which promotes innovation and new technologies.

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