The number of hardware engineers is relatively small compared with the number of other computer related professionals who work with software or computer related applications. Hardware engineers hold about 67,400 jobs (when separated out from electrical engineers). About 28% are employed in computer and IT services. 1 out of 9 works in computer and office equipment manufacturing, but many are also employed in communications industries (including RF engineering) and <11% in engineering consulting firms. Less than 1% of hardware engineers nationally are in private consulting.
Hardware Engineer Salaries
Hardware engineer salary range for the middle 50% is between $58,910 and $100,820. Hardware engineer salaries for the lowest 10% are less than $48,530. Hardware engineer salaries for the highest 10% are more than $123,480. Median annual hardware engineer salary in the industries employing the largest numbers are:
Computer and office equipment: $84,330
Computer and IT services: $79,940
Electronic components and accessories: $75,180
Hardware engineer starting salary for a BS - Computer Engineering or BS - Electrical Engineering graduate can be significantly higher than the salary of BS / BA graduates in many other non-technical fields. Starting salary offers for BSCE graduates average $61,270 per year; MSCE graduates have an average starting salary of $70,850; and PhDs have an average starting salary of $89,440.
Hardware Engineering Employment Outlook
Hardware engineer job opportunities are expected to be favorable into 2015. Computer hardware engineer employment is projected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2015, reflecting growth in the computer and office equipment industry, which employs the greatest number of hardware engineers.
Hardware engineer job opportunities should grow (at about 1.7%/yr) as businesses need help managing, upgrading, and customizing increasingly complex hardware systems and networks. Growth in embedded systems will also increase hardware engineer demand. In addition to job openings arising from employment growth, other opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions, are promoted, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force.
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