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Hardware Engineers are qualified professionals who design, develop, build and implement a range of electronic systems and computer components.
Hardware Engineers, sometimes called Electronics Engineers, work on developing electronic components and systems for a wide range of applications and purposes. Hardware Engineers use a mixture of computing and electronic understandings to develop, build and install systems or electronic components in a wide variety of applications and different purposes.
The role of Hardware Engineers can be found mainly in technology organisations like Thales or Babcock, however the applications of their knowledge and expertise could range from developing large scale railway systems to cutting edge telecommunications. The purpose for the projects also vary massively, with anything from defence and security to developments in communications and automation.
Hardware Engineers tend to work on projects as part of team, sometimes taking on revolutionary redevelopment of existing systems or developing new technology to be implemented to a client's specifications.
Obviously, for a career as a Hardware Engineer, graduates need to have an excellent background in electronic engineering, computer science or a similar field. This knowledge is absolutely essential to the work that they undertake and graduates will find their knowledge and understanding stretched and tested on a daily basis. Graduates considering this as a career will also need fantastic organisation and project management skills, as well as meticulous attention to detail because of the potentially dangerous work they undertake.
Hardware Engineer Salaries
The average starting salary for a graduate Hardware Engineer is £26,591. Graduates can and should be tempted by this incredibly high starting figure, knowing that the majority of the graduate Hardware Engineer positions available are on graduate schemes which will see their pay increase as they work through the programmes.
The Daily Duties of a Hardware Engineer
The daily duties of a graduate Hardware Engineer are likely to vary immensely, not just because of the cyclical nature of project work more generally, but often Hardware Engineers are asked to use their specialist understanding and knowledge and apply it to the challenges and obstacles being faced in other industries, organisations or systems. As well as this, working in a team as many Hardware Engineers do, graduates may find them specialising in a particular area of the development, implementation or testing stages.
Here are a few of the daily duties that graduate Hardware Engineers can expect to do:
- Client consultation - An important part, and usually the starting point for Hardware Engineers, is consulting with clients and assessing the scale of the work they will undertakes. Sometimes this may come in the form of a brief, while other Hardware Engineers will take on a more hands-on role interacting with clients on site and discussing what systems or hardware they need developing.
- Design - The design stage is a fundamental part of the Hardware Engineers daily duties. This is the conceptual and creative point of the project process. At this point, Hardware Engineers need to think beyond limitations for creative, inventive and innovative solutions for clients or their organisation. The design duty for Hardware Engineers will draw on their problem solving and creative skills.
- Development - Hardware Engineers are responsible for putting these designs and concepts in practical reality. Developing ideas from initial concepts into workable and feasible projects is often the bread and butter of a Hardware Engineers duties. They are tasked with harnessing all their understanding of engineering, computing and electronic disciplines to reach successful outcomes.
- Implementation - Implementation is the often the one of the final stages in the work that Hardware Engineers undertake. This involves applying their designed, developed and tested project into action. For example, if a company had developed a new hardware and system for rail signalling, this would involve installing this at trackside.
- Programming - Often when they are developing innovative components or new computing systems, Hardware Engineers need to develop the programmes that allow the system or hardware to function. While this can be a nice area of work for Hardware Engineers, graduates having the ability to programme would be very advantageous.
- Testing - In a perfect world, testing would not be necessary, but the process of testing whatever it is the Hardware Engineer has developed allows any errors, bugs or malfunctions to be eradicated at an earlier stage, without any cost to the client. This requires graduate Hardware Engineers to be extremely thorough with their work and one step ahead of any problems that might arise.
- Updating systems - Another way that Hardware Engineers can operate is to update systems or hardware that is already in place. This is can be visiting clients on site and thinking of ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Hardware Engineers will usually then follow a similar process of designing, developing and implementing an improvement.
Careers as a Hardware Engineer are rewarding, creative and innovative paths for graduates to take. While those thinking about it as a career should already have an understanding of disciplines surrounding the role, like electronics, engineering, physics and computing, it is still an exceedingly exciting career to take.