The short answer is yes. As technology plays a vital, continuously evolving role in our everyday lives, professionals with the skills to develop the next generation of computer systems will remain in high demand. However, we’d like to discuss what this means for contractors looking for positions and hiring managers looking to fill roles.

What does a hardware engineer do?

Hardware engineers specialize in designing, developing, and testing new semiconductors. People in this career need robust technical skills problem-solving abilities, and a lot of patience. As a hardware engineer, you primarily work to design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. However, it’s advised to also have a strong understanding of programming languages such as c/c++, python, and HDL programming to ensure that hardware systems work with the software that a company or consumer will use.

Some of the common industries that regularly employ hardware engineers include:

  • Consumer Electronics
  • Automotive
  • AI/ML
  • AR/VR
  • Aerospace
  • Data Centers

While the above industries certainly provide different opportunities, the educational requirements for all hardware engineers are similar.

How to become a hardware engineer

Given the considerable technical skills required for a career as an engineer, applicants for entry-level positions need at least a bachelor’s degree. Being able to effectively deploy standard computer hardware and software elements that work together to handle fundamentals like troubleshooting and creative problem-solving are always good skills to have in any position. However, specialized education can provide more in-depth perspectives. It’s advised to consider certifications to help demonstrate to your potential employers that you have more specific skills and knowledge that will qualify you for any roles in hardware engineering.

How to hire a hardware engineer

When looking to hire a hardware engineer, the first thing to consider will be deciding whether you need full-time support or if a contractor could do the job. The benefit of hiring a contractor is that you can quickly ramp them up and down. Once you decide to hire a contractor, you must know that they can confidently onboard and ramp up to complete the necessary tasks on time and schedule.

In the beginning, the most important thing is to set expectations for the next 30 – 60 days: what you expect them to deliver on and what success in the role looks like for them, along with an alignment of those expectations.  To smooth onboarding further, communicate where they can go to ask questions.   Create context of where they are in the project and how and why you made the decisions that you did in the project so far.  Set up feedback loops by carving out times to check in and address any concerns and questions, focusing on the results, and managing what you and the contractor agreed on.   Don’t micromanage them, manage their tasks, progress, and deliverables.

When evaluating candidates, consider both hard and soft skills that can add value to the task at hand.  Be precise in the job description to ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the process. The faster you can give feedback; the more efficient the work will be.

Hardware engineering outlook

Although there’s a solid sense of job security in hardware engineering positions, many contending factors remain to consider. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of 2% – or roughly 1,000 new jobs – for computer hardware engineers from 2020 to 2030, slower than the 8% average growth rate for all occupations. Workforce demand for hardware engineers will suffer as the U.S. manufacturing industry faces stiff pricing competition from overseas.

For the best chances of landing a job in this space, enhance your hardware engineering education with coursework in software engineering, as mentioned earlier. Software engineering will always be a complementary and highly in-demand skill set. For comparison, software engineering employment will grow by 22% in the same decade, adding over 400,000 new jobs. Additionally, you can improve your job outlook by focusing on hardware training in microchips, sensors, and network components that power IoT devices. Employment opportunities also exist in computer consulting firms since many manufacturers contract out hardware designs to cut costs.

Hardware engineering hot spots

Some states hire more engineers than others. According to the BLS, the states that employ the largest percentage of hardware engineers are:

  • California
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Colorado
  • Virginia
  • Oregon

How TeamUP can help

Whether you’re looking for a hardware engineering role or the engineer themselves, TeamUP makes on-demand talent sourcing and consultation simple by providing opportunities to skilled tech professionals who can confidently complete what is required. We focus on helping you achieve your goals to ignite change and accelerate transformation.  Contact us today.

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