Most computer hardware engineers need a bachelor's degree from an accredited computer engineering program.
Most entry-level computer hardware engineers have a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, although a degree in electrical engineering or computer science also is generally acceptable. A computer engineering major is similar to a major in electrical engineering but with a heavy emphasis on computer science.
Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Employers may prefer students from an accredited program. To prepare for a major in computer or electrical engineering, students should have a solid background in math and science.
Because hardware engineers commonly work with computer software systems, a familiarity with computer programming usually is expected. This background may be obtained through computer science courses.
Some large firms or specialized jobs may require a master's degree in computer engineering. Some experienced engineers obtain a master's degree in business administration (MBA). All engineers must continue their learning over the course of their careers in order to keep up with rapid advances in technology.
Some students participate in internships while in school so that they can gain practical experience.
Some computer hardware engineers can advance to become computer and information systems managers.
Analytical skills. Computer hardware engineers use computer programming tools to analyze the digital circuits in hardware to determine the best design.
Creativity. Computer hardware engineers design new types of information technology devices.
Critical-thinking skills. These engineers use logic and reasoning to clarify goals, examine assumptions, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to problems.
Problem-solving skills. Computer hardware engineers identify complex problems in computer hardware, develop and evaluate possible solutions, and figure out the best way to implement them.
Speaking skills. Engineers often work on teams and must be able to communicate with other types of engineers as well as with nontechnical team members.