In simple words, computer hardware engineers are people, who take care of all computer hardware maintenance, they are assigned to. To enter this field, one obligatorily needs to have strong technical knowledge of computers. A software computer engineer may not know much about computer hardware, but a computer hardware engineer is well aware of how software works. This knowledge helps him solve hardware problems more efficiently and responsively.
Professionals in this field are responsible for carrying out research, contriving, participating in the development, and examining the installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of all computer hardware. They are directly related to the care and maintenance of computer chips, motherboards, network components and devices, servers, databases, keyboards, modems, printers, scanners, and many more computer peripherals. The speedy advancements in information technology are predominately the outcomes of hardworking efforts made by these professionals.
Due to a rapid change in several technologies, computer hardware engineers are required to update their knowledge base accordingly, so that they can provide every possible service to their clients and customers. In this regards, they are offered technical trainings by companies which they work in. Companies also allow continuing technical education to upgrade their knowledge and skills. This all is done because the company needs their engineers to use their skills and provide maximum services, which may in turn have a good effect on other employees' performance in the company.
The number of these engineers working at present is lower in comparison to other professionals in the IT field. According to a survey conducted in 2002, they collectively hold approximately 74,000 positions. Out of them, 40% engineers were operating in computer and electronics facilities, whereas 1/4th were providing their services in 'scientific' and 'technical service' companies that were associated to the IT industry. Others were catering to technical needs of several telecommunication giants. Nowadays, computer hardware engineers might have to pass through tough competition, as the number of degrees granted in the information technology sector has increased enormously. The job advancements principally depend on the years of experience in the same field along with required qualifications. If you desire to get into a computer hardware career, you are required to at least own a bachelor's degree in the engineering field.
A prospective hardware engineer should also have a liking towards work and learning new technologies. Computer hardware engineers should have the capability of troubleshooting and finding potential problems as soon as possible to preclude severe loss in deliverables. Their working time is never fixed and may change according to the requirements of their services. They may be called upon by their respective employers in case of a technical problem in the server or database, which would be causing a problem to the company employees in carrying out their duties. Hardware engineers are required to have perceivable oral and acceptable written communication skills, to communicate with affected users, so as to interpret what issues they actually face. The main attraction in this profession is the pay scale. Referring to the salary survey stats of 2006, these engineers earned a handsome salary which was around $70,000 to $110,000 per annum.
With a rapid increase in the use of information technology among several industries around the globe, there is certainly a high possibility of an increase in the job opportunities of computer hardware engineers.