Computer Hardware Engineers

Last updated December 31, 2014

In the 1940s, high tech meant the ENIAC computer. What did the room-sized machine do? It could do five thousand additions and subtractions per second. It solved equations. And that’s all it did. In other words, ENIAC was a gigantic calculator.

If you’re using a typical computer today, you could be doing research, writing a report, instant-messaging a friend, and listening to music -- all at the same time. Thanks to computer hardware engineers, computers can do a lot more than they used to. And they’ve gotten smaller and faster, too.

Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer hardware, such as computer chips, circuit boards, modems, and printers. They also test hardware and supervise its installation.

Did You Know?

In 1973, Bob Metcalfe built the first Ethernet network, the most common system that allows computers, printers, and other devices to share information.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Respond to the needs and concerns of clients
  • Make decisions based on data
  • Write reports and instructions
  • Read blueprints
  • Keep up with new technology
  • Work with others
  • Travel to job sites

It Helps To Be...

A computer star, a fan of math and science, and a problem solver. If you love using computers, but like taking them apart and rebuilding them even more, this could be the career for you.

Make High School Count

  • Take as many computer courses as you can. For something new, check out the course catalog at your local community college.
  • Challenge yourself in math and science with classes like calculus, physics, and chemistry.
  • Join or start a computer club.
  • Get a summer job at a computer store or an internship in a company’s information systems department.
  • Sign up for electronics.

Did You Know?

Intel is working on computer chips that will hold one billion transistors. Compare that to the Pentium 4 chip, which holds a mere 55 million.