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A hardware engineer works with the components and systems used to build computers and may create, install, and analyze these devices. Depending upon job requirements and company size, this type of engineer also may be responsible for managing budgets, coordinating with outside entities, and training and supervising employees. Hardware engineers are knowledgeable about the ways in which computers are built and the use of associated applications. This job also requires extensive understanding of and experience with computer programming and processing.
One main component of this job is the creation of computer hardware. This may include smaller household computer systems, larger equipment, or computer networks. A hardware engineer must research carefully and consider all company and customer requirements when designing computer hardware. This engineer is vital to the process of planning and designing computer systems and usually verifies and approves final plans before they are sent to production.
Once the computer hardware is created and built, a hardware engineer might be responsible for a certain amount of quality testing on the device. He may be in charge of running tests and diagnostics and will most likely initiate any attempts at corrections and repairs. He may also be responsible for instructing others on how to properly utilize and troubleshoot these machines.
Installation is another important part of this occupation. An engineer working with computer hardware may be responsible for positioning machines and associated components. He may also be in charge of loading the appropriate software onto these devices to ensure proper set up and use by customers or employees.
If this engineer works in a larger company and has extensive skills and experience, he may be a manager within the engineering department. This might entail the tracking of a budge, and coordination with other departments within the organization. He may also be required to establish and support customer relations. Finally, he may train, supervise, and review employees within his department.
The hardware engineer spends his day planning and working on computers. He may also be responsible for doing on-site troubleshooting and repair of machines. If he is in a supervisory role, he may also spend parts of the day planning and strategizing with management and may be responsible for supporting and teaching employees. Depending upon the type of industry in which he works, he may also be in regular contact with outside entities such as customers, suppliers, and government agencies. A computer hardware engineer spends his career practicing a combination of computer and engineering sciences and computer planning, building, and supervision.
In most companies I've worked, hardware and software is generally handled by the same guy. Of course, those are smaller companies, but a general-purpose geek (for want of a better term) handled everything from networking to building hardware to teaching people how to use software and keep from breaking things.
Well, there was one company I worked at that had two people to meet the technology needs of the business, but they were both generalists. I don't know if I've ever met anyone who was strictly a hardware engineer. Perhaps only larger corporations can afford to hire such specialists.
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