Breaking Down Different Career Paths in Computer Hardware and How to Get There

Computer Hardware Engineers – Nature of Work

Computer Hardware Engineers are professionals who are responsible for analyzing the hardware and networking needs of an organization and thus designing and building a system that is perfect for its needs. These professionals need relevant technical qualification and hands-on experience of working with various hardware components for computer and networking systems. Their nature of work may include working on microprocessors, circuit boards, input output devices and memory devices. Using their knowledge and experience, they need to comprehend the software and hardware requirements of an organization and integrate it into their systems.

If you are looking for a technical line of study and career path, a career as a computer hardware engineer may interest you. Computer hardware engineers are responsible for making the required innovative changes in developing new hardware technologies for companies.

How to become a computer hardware engineer – An outline regarding educational qualifications and the skills required

Here are the basic qualifications, additional certifications and other interpersonal skills required for becoming a computer hardware engineer:

  1. Secure a high score in 10+2 in the science stream with your main subjects including physics, chemistry and mathematics.
  2. Prepare for engineering entrance examinations to clear the entrance exam for a recognized university and get admitted to get a degree in technical education.
  3. During your bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, electrical engineering or any other related field, add a few hardware related projects into your Portfolio.
  4. After completing your bachelor’s degree, try to get admitted to an internship program to attain practical experience on computer hardware and maybe develop some links with organizations which require hardware engineers.
  5. With these qualifications, you can directly start looking for a job or pursue an advanced master’s degree or a doctorate in computer hardware engineering.

For candidates interested in becoming a hardware engineer, there are various exciting career options that can be pursued for a rewarding future. Even if you haven’t worked on a bachelor’s degree, there are hundreds of IT  trade schools that offer IT programs to get the required qualifications. From a hardware engineer to a network architect, one can choose some of the most popular career paths available in computer hardware. A few of them are discussed below:

Hardware Engineer

The roles and responsibilities of a hardware engineer includes analysis, designing, development and testing of computer hardware components. He has to run specific checks on the different parts of the computer including microprocessors, circuit boards, memory systems and peripherals. Hardware engineers can find relevant job positions in companies which design and manufacture computer hardware.

The first step to become a hardware engineer is to acquire a bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering or any such related field. Certain specialized graduate degree courses are also available in these fields. Followed by a degree, one can take on an advanced degree or diploma course for specialization in an area such as microprocessor design, networking and alike. In addition to the professional qualifications, certain personal skills such as analytical aptitude and team work would be appreciated for a hardware engineer. Knowledge of programming languages such as assembly language, C and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools is an add-on.

Information Security Analyst

Illicit fraudulent activities such as phishing attacks, hacking and malware pose a serious threat to the internal information of an organization. To ensure complete protection of an organization’s internal data, computer systems and networks from these activities, an information security analyst is needed. A security analyst has to suggest, design and implement security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and encryption protocols for ensuring system security.

Network Architect

A network architect, as it sounds, is a professional who analyses the networking requirements for an organization and is responsible for laying the basic architecture of computer network in an organization. His task is to design and implement internal networks such as local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs) and cloud-based networks for companies as per their specific requirements. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or alike or a master’s degree in these fields are the basic requirements for candidates aspiring to secure a job in a good organization. Additional certifications like Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) will add more weightage to the basic qualification. Candidates with personality attributes like excellent analytical aptitude, investigative skills and strong communication skills are preferred.

Computer Systems Analyst

The task of a computer systems analyst is to evaluate the current computer systems and procedures being followed in an organization and to recommend changes to enhance efficiency. Their roles and responsibilities may involve designing and implementing new hardware and software systems or making changes in the existing ones to meet changing business needs. The educational requirements to become a computer systems analyst is a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, information technology or similar graduate course. Certain organizations may look for candidates with a master’s degree in these fields.

In addition, the soft skills required for a computer systems analyst are performing logical analysis and problem-solving skills and communicativeness. Candidates with knowledge of programming languages and database management systems are preferred in many companies.

Technical Support Specialist

The chief responsibility of a technical support specialist is to provide technical assistance to users experiencing problems with their computer hardware or software. They would need to troubleshoot hardware and software issues by remote support or performing repairs and upgrades. An associate’s degree in technical education or a bachelor’s degree in similar fields with relevant certifications such as the CompTIA A+ certification can also be acquired for securing a technical specialist job. Candidates with knowledge of a wide variety of hardware and software systems and proficiency in remote assistance and repair tools are preferred by the employers.

Computer hardware engineering is a brilliant choice for candidates seeking a technical profession. With the launch of innovative hardware devices, artificial intelligence systems and computers based on improved technologies, there will always be a great demand for these professionals. From analysis and design of dedicated computer systems and networks to testing of hardware components and providing technical support to the users, they work on different aspects of hardware establishment and maintenance.