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Education Requirements for Computer Hardware Engineer

Majors Overview January 15, 2013

A computer hardware engineer displays expertise in researching, testing, diagnosing, and installing computer hardware such as routers, modems, keyboards, circuit boards, and microchips. Employers demand a bachelor degree as a minimum requirement from candidates who seek entry level jobs in computer hardware engineering. Individuals who aspire to higher level positions in the field should complete a master degree program. Those aiming for a research position should look at completing a Ph.D. program in computer engineering. In this article, we will look at the education prerequisites needed to be satisfied by computer hardware engineers seeking to chart a successful career path.

For an entry-level position in the field, a prospective candidate must earn a four-year bachelor degree in computer engineering or computer science; coursework should be a combination of seminars in classroom settings and hands on training in laboratories.

Those who pursue degree programs in electrical engineering and who wish to embark on a career in computer hardware engineering can choose to specialize in hardware engineering; by contrast, a bachelor degree in computer engineering can pave the way for an academic career that focuses on both hardware and software specialties and areas of interaction between the two fields. Coursework in computer hardware programs includes the study of computer networks, embedded systems, microsystems design, digital design, electromagnetics, and circuit boards and their components.

A prospective computer hardware engineer can seek to acquire advanced skills by completing a master degree program that will improve their chances of getting employed. These professionals are required to display strong skills in computers, English, science and math. Graduates can choose to major in specialty areas such as machine vision systems, parallel computing systems or network systems. Coursework will include subject areas such as computer organization, algorithms, microprocessor systems, and computer architecture. Attendance in numerous seminars and participation in computer labs will be included in such coursework.

Research and Development Career Prerequisites

Computer hardware engineers aiming for careers in research should obtain a doctoral degree in computer engineering, becoming either a Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students with prior exposure to computer engineering or a related field can aspire to earn a doctoral degree. When the program begins, a student can opt for an area of concentration such as embedded systems hardware, machine intelligence or networking, thereby laying the basis for coursework relating to classroom lectures as well as direction of research relating to the doctoral dissertation.

Internet technology, networks, computer architecture and embedded engineering are included in such coursework, apart from subject areas such as nanotechnology, wireless networking and very large scale integration (VLSI). Product development, technologies for business and methodology are the focus areas for the research component of the program. Apart from completing a dissertation, doctoral candidates are required to participate in practicums relevant to their dissertation.

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