Computer Hardware Engineer Salary And Career

computer hardware engineer salary

Many students and newbies in tech are curious about computer hardware engineer career, salary and job description. Who are these people and what do they do? A computer hardware engineer is responsible for designing, testing, and implementing all components that potentially make up a computer or any other device with a circuit board. Each component must be installed correctly for the whole device to work, so software engineers are also essential.

The debate about computer hardware engineer salary has a long history. The question of how much computer hardware engineers make is a frequent topic of discussion. Particularly on the building websites forum. There are many reasons people ask about computer hardware engineer salary. Including asking for advice on whether or not to pursue a career as a computer hardware engineer.

What is a computer hardware engineer?

computer hardware engineer salary
Image by CS&TI

Computer hardware engineers create computer components that have faster rates of speed and use less energy. These engineers also work on components such as processors (microprocessors) and circuit boards (printed circuit boards). They may conduct research that leads to the creation of new computer hardware.

Computer hardware engineers work with engineers and technicians in designing new computers. They are responsible for developing computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. Computer hardware engineers also develop prototypes of computer equipment that they design to ensure their availability. They have to collaborate with other professionals in the field throughout their projects.

The Step-by-Step Process to Becoming a Computer Hardware Engineer

Though many individuals qualify themselves as computer hardware engineers, the BLS reports three main education paths to take to qualify for this career. A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science. These programs tend to be interdisciplinary and include topics on software design, systems design, and electronics. A master’s degree might also be necessary for certain jobs.

Step 1: Gain a Solid Foundation in High School

Students interested in becoming computer hardware engineers should focus on mathematics and science while still in high school. It would also help take some computer-related electives like programming and web design. Students may participate in internships with local companies or volunteer their free time at local organizations that rely heavily on computers and information technology.

Step 2: Bachelor’s Degree

Students may want to consider schools that allow them to specialize in one area of the field. Such as computer graphics or microprocessors. Coursework usually includes classes on circuitry design, digital logic, data structures, and microprocessors. Most programs culminate with a senior project where students solve real-world problems using technology.

Step 3: Get Licensure (Optional)

Some states require licensure for hardware engineers who work with the public. Engineers must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). After four years of professional experience, they may take the Professional Engineering Exam to become licensed as a professional engineer (PE).

What Does a Computer Hardware Engineer Do?

Source: Shane Hummus

Most work in high-tech manufacturing firms. Others work for research and development firms or the federal government. Because new technology is constantly being developed, computer hardware engineers must be able to work with a variety of programs and applications. They also must have excellent problem-solving skills to fix any issues in existing systems or while designing new products.

Computer Hardware Engineer’s Job Outlook

Employment growth will be driven by the continued expansion of computer systems design services. Firms in this industry provide services, such as designing computer systems, developing software, and installing information security measures for their clients. In addition, as cloud computing and mobile computing continue to grow, these firms will need more workers to build the servers, storage devices, and networks used in these technologies. Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer systems and related technologies. They are responsible for developing an organization’s technical needs and creating appropriate solutions with computers.

The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers was $117,220 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $66,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

Career As a Computer Hardware Engineer

A computer hardware engineer, also called a computer engineer and often shortened to just “hardware engineer,” is someone who designs and builds computers. Computer hardware engineers need a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, though some also hold degrees in electrical engineering.

Computer hardware engineers design and build the physical components of computers and peripheral devices that interface with them, such as keyboards or printers. These professionals are closely involved in developing the central processing units (CPUs) that drive a wide range of electronics. Since many of today’s computers have processors combined with other components — such as the graphics card or hard drive — on a single chip, computer hardware engineers must collaborate with other professionals to design these components. Computer hardware engineers often work with software developers and computer programmers to complete projects.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers is $111,730 (as of May 2016), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). What’s more impressive than their salary is their job growth projections over the next decade. The BLS predicts 8% job growth for hardware engineers between 2014 and 2024, higher than average for all occupations.

Average Computer Hardware Engineer Salary

Image by

A computer hardware engineer’s salary can vary depending on some factors. Among these include geographic location and employer type. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2017 shows average earnings for computer hardware engineers to be $115,080 per year ($55.34 per hour), with the top 10% earning more than $161,290 annually ($77.55 hourly).

The average salary for a Computer Hardware Engineer is $91,114 per year in the United States. Salary estimates are based on 1,191 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Computer Hardware Engineer employees and users and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. The typical tenure for a Computer Hardware Engineer is 2-4 years.

BLS data also looks at computer hardware engineer salaries by location. Based on this information, the top-paying states are:

  • California $102660 20390
  • Washington $100100 11690
  • Massachusetts $99400 6340
  • Texas $94250 12250
  • New York $94070 9760
  • Virginia $93550 8490
  • Illinois $93200 6950
  • Maryland $92230 3890
  • Colorado $91430 3170
  • Georgia $90730 4520.

Computer Hardware Engineer Salary by State

Computer hardware engineers earn an average yearly salary of $118,470. Salaries typically start from $69,310 and go up to $178,140.

Average Salary:$118,470

Expected Lifetime Earnings:$4,974,672

The highest-paid Computer Hardware Engineers work for Northrop Grumman at $105,000 annually, and the lowest-paid Computer Hardware Engineers work for Synnex at $55,000 annually.

Listed below are the salary ranges for computer hardware engineers across the country.


Computer Hardware Engineers in Alabama earn an average salary of $86,790 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years of experience in this career.


Computer Hardware Engineers in Alaska earned an average salary of $99,750 in 2017.

The highest paying area for computer hardware engineers in Alaska is Anchorage, with a median annual salary of $99,750.


The average annual Computer Hardware Engineers Salary in Arizona is $115,700. An entry-level computer hardware engineer (1-3 years of experience) earns an average salary of $82,942. On the other end, a senior-level computer hardware engineer (8+ years of experience) earns an average salary of $159,894.


Computer Hardware Engineers make the most in Arkansas, with an average salary of $120,670. Using the formula of expected salary minus 10% gives you a minimum salary of $108,603.

Computer Hardware Engineers make the least in Rhode Island, with an average salary of $105,150. Using the formula of expected salary plus 10% gives you a maximum salary of $115,665.


The average salary for a computer hardware engineer in California is around $126,790 per year.

Salaries typically start from $74,810 and go up to $198,820.


The average salary for Computer Hardware Engineer in Colorado Springs, CO, is $93,905 per year, ranging from $71,188 to $111,084.

Hourly Pay for Computer Hardware Engineers

Source: CareerOneStop

The average hourly pay for a Computer Hardware Engineer is $39.42

The average hourly rate for Computer Hardware Engineer ranges from $29 to $51, with the average hourly pay of $39. The total hourly cash compensation, which includes a base and short-term incentives, can vary anywhere from $29 to $52, with the average total hourly cash compensation of $41.

Pay by Experience Level for Computer Hardware Engineer

An entry-level Computer Hardware Engineer with less than 5 years of experience can earn an average total compensation of $56,000. Based on 91 salaries provided by anonymous users. A Computer Hardware Engineer with mid-career experience, including employees with 5 to 10 years of experience, can earn an average total compensation of $74,000 based on 77 salaries. An experienced Computer Hardware Engineer, which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience, can earn an average total compensation of $75,000 based on 123 salaries. A Computer Hardware Engineer with late-career experience, which includes employees with more than 20 years of experience, can earn an average total compensation of $73,000 based on 17 salaries.

What are the states where Computer hardware engineers earn the most money in?

The states and districts that pay Computer Hardware Engineers the highest mean salary are Rhode Island ($128,760), New Jersey ($128,130), New Hampshire ($127,820), and Maine ($125,980), and California ($124,190).

The top-paying states for computer hardware engineers listed above shows the average annual salary for the 90th percentile. The top 10 percent of the highest paid computer hardware engineers. The lowest-paid computer hardware engineers earn less than $65,790 a year. While the top 10 percent earn more than $166,400.

Location is a key factor in your salary

Salaries for Computer Hardware Engineers in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($109K) per year. In Computer Hardware Engineers, overall income ranges from $70K near the bottom to $163K at the top; this can include more than $20K from bonuses and more than $33K from profit-sharing in exceptional cases. The specific employer and the city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. There are far more male Computer Hardware Engineers survey participants than women, making up 88 percent.

Salaries vary by state and region as well as industry. In 2018, the highest-paying states for computer hardware engineers were California ($138,670), Massachusetts ($131,250), New Jersey ($128,800), Washington ($125,100) and Texas ($123,680).

Average salaries for computer hardware engineers vary by region. In 2018, the highest-paying metropolitan areas were Silicon Valley ($158,170), San Jose ($154,680), Los Angeles ($133,810), Seattle ($132,220) and Boston ($130,780).

Computer hardware engineers use computer science and mathematical analysis principles to design, develop, test, and evaluate components. Such as computer systems and processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers.

Hardware engineers need a combination of creativity and technical expertise. They must have an idea about the relationship between hardware and software.

Some job titles related to this profession: 

  • Computer Engineer
  • Hardware Engineer
  • Computer Technician
  • Embedded Developer
  • Game Designer
  • Hardware Design Engineer
  • Hardware Engineer
  • High-Performance Computing Software Developer

Final Words

To sum up this little study, BLS data just hasn’t changed much over the last seven years for computer hardware engineers. Their work environment has gotten more demanding. However, their salary has continued to fall in such a climate. Those already in the field may pay to look at the comparative compensation. Consequently, they begin looking for an ideal workplace. For those who aspire to be a computer hardware engineer one day, you might want to consider other career choices that offer a little more financial reward. Though such choices will likely be limited since there are only so many low-competition careers out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search this website