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Occupation Details

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Computer Hardware Engineer

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€25k > 70
Computer Hardware Engineer
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 - 70
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
CareersPortal

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Computer hardware engineers work with the mechanical, electrical and electronic parts of computers. They design and develop computers, computer components and the computerised parts of other appliances.


Videos & Interviews header image

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The Work header image

Most computers are made by linking microprocessor chips, components and equipment together to form a system. The design process may begin with the computer systems analyst providing an outline specification for a computer system to meet a particular need. A team of logic designers works on the initial logic design to produce detailed specifications. They translate the ideas into detailed drawings and circuit diagrams.

A team of hardware design engineers take the design, and build and test a prototype or working model. They buy the computer chips, assemble the hardware components and build the necessary interfacing equipment. They test the prototype to make sure it meets the specification requirements, and carry out any necessary modifications to the design.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology.

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Build, test, and modify product prototypes using working models or theoretical models constructed with computer simulation.

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Write detailed functional specifications that document the hardware development process and support hardware introduction.

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Specify power supply requirements and configuration, drawing on system performance expectations and design specifications.

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Confer with engineering staff and consult specifications to evaluate interface between hardware and software and operational and performance requirements of overall system.

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Design and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.

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Select hardware and material, assuring compliance with specifications and product requirements.

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Monitor functioning of equipment and make necessary modifications to ensure system operates in conformance with specifications.

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Test and verify hardware and support peripherals to ensure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.

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Direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment: Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

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Interacting With Computers: Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

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Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment: Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

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Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

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Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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Design: Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

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Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Physics: Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

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Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.

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Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

To be a computer hardware design engineer, you need strong technical knowledge of computers and electronic systems. You must have a flair for turning system requirements into detailed designs. You need to be able to work to deadlines and budgets; you may also need to consider the cost and availability of components.

Computer hardware engineers must be able to work as part of multi-disciplinary teams; you must have strong oral and written communication skills. You need to be able to explain complex information to others and give clear instructions.

This job requires good eyesight and normal colour vision, as you may be dealing with electrical wiring.

A willingness to learn and develop your knowledge is also important as the technology and industry is constantly changing and improving and you will need to keep up-to-date with latest developments.


Entry Routesheader image

Computer hardware engineers typically complete an appropriate degree programme. Relevant course titles include Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer and Electronic  Engineering or Computer Systems Engineering, among others.

Most of the universities and Institutes of Technology offer courses in this area.

It is essential to check the course content and details to ensure the course you choose is appropriate to the branch of engineering you want to follow.

Computer hardware engineers can gain Chartered Engineer and Incorporated Engineer status, which are both highly regarded by employers throughout industry. This Initial Professional Development programme (IPD) helps develop the knowledge already acquired at degree level and helps apply this knowledge to a work situation. It usually takes a minimum of four years and includes on the job training, mentoring, job rotations and participation in professional development courses that are appropriate to your career path. See Engineering Ireland for full details.

Last Updated: October, 2014


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: ICS - The Society for Chartered IT Professionals in Ireland
Address: 87-89 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 644 7820
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


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