What does a Hardware Designer do?

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A Hardware designer or a Hardware design engineer is in charge of developing, testing and building hardware systems like computer processors. While different hardware designers may work on different types of hardware, their primary roles are generally similar. These include identifying hardware needs, working with a development team, and developing product drawings whilst also creating a product prototype, and demonstrating the use of products.

What is Hardware Engineering?

Hardware design engineering is the process of creating and developing systems and components related to computers and computer technology. 

For software to run smoothly on any system, the hardware involved needs to be properly designed, configured and tested. This is where hardware design engineering comes into play. 

Role overview of a Hardware designer with responsibilities, skills, background and salary
Hardware Designer – Role Overview

In any system, hardware design engineering consists of the process of designing and developing components that are related to hardware. These can range from sensors and processors to circuit boards, hard drives and switches.

It also involves the integration of various components and devices to be used effectively as well as testing components to ensure optimal efficiency.

Responsibilities of a Hardware Engineer

The primary responsibility of a hardware design engineer is the design, development and testing of systems and components of computers and other devices. They cover all key elements that relate to the system i.e. from it’s functionality to its final look.

Hardware designers are additionally responsible and required to test their completed systems. They must then analyze the results and provide any updates or tweaks, if necessary, to enhance system stability and performance. They are also required to document the entire process, from the beginning stages of design and development to the final stages of testing and troubleshooting.

Roles and Responsibilties of a Hardware Designer
Roles and Responsiblities of a Hardware Designer

They modify existing hardware systems to ensure functional optimal capacity and eliminate performance issues. The hardware engineer then also tests that these changes don’t hinder the overall performance of the system.

Hardware designers must also oversee manufacturing processes and have to ensure that components are built accordingly and to specifications. They work closely with manufacturers to create and analyze prototypes and then provide feedback if any updates and modifications are to be made.

They are also often required to coordinate and work with software development teams during the development phase to ensure that the hardware integrates smoothly with the software.

Day to day tasks and responsibilities: 

  • Design, development and testing of systems and components of computers and other devices
  • In charge of key elements that relate to the system
  • Test and troubleshoot completed systems
  • Analyze test results and provide any updates or tweaks
  • Document all stages of design and development
  • Modify existing hardware systems to ensure functional optimal capacity and eliminate performance issues
  • Test modifications
  • Oversee manufacturing process
  • Ensure components are built accordingly and to specifications
  • Work closely with manufacturers to create and analyze prototypes
  • Provide feedback if any updates and modifications are to be made
  • Coordinate with software development teams 

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Skills Required

Alog with a strong fundamental knowledge in electronics design, a hardware engineer must also be skilled in both digital and analog circuitry.

A hardware design engineer must also be proficient in design software such as AutoCAD, Altium, OrCAD and Allegro and must have experience working with electronics tools like soldering iron, solder removers etc.

The skills of a Hardware Designer
Skills of a Hardware Designer

They must be exceptionally good in mathematics, specifically math that is related to circuitry and processing. Knowledge of HDL languages such as VHDL and Verilog is also important as is knowledge of integration processes and some software languages.

A hardware designer must additionally also have experience with creating prototypes and must have knowledge of manufacturing processes.

Along with the technical skills, soft skills like strong communication and attention to detail is crucial as is precision, analytical thinking and problem-solving.

Skills required for a Hardware Design Engineer: 

  • Strong fundamental knowledge in electronics design
  • Mastery of digital and analog circuitry
  • Proficient in design software like Altium and Allegro
  • Experience working with electronics tools 
  • Strong grasp of mathematics, specifically math that is related to circuitry and processing
  • Knowledge of HDL languages like VHDL
  • Knowledge of integration processes and software languages
  • Experience with prototyping
  • Knowledge of manufacturing processes
  • Strong communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent precision 
  • Strong analytical thinking 
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills


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Background

A Bachelor’s degree in either electric engineering, computer engineering or any other related field is often the first step to becoming a hardware designer engineer. Employers also often seek out candidates with degrees from an accredited program.

Hardware designers can also take training courses that can help advance their knowledge of the basics and keep them up-to-date on new technologies and designs.

Check out some options for training and certification down below:

Hardware Designer Salary

The salary of a Hardware Designer can vary depending on the role they have and the duties they perform. 

A junior hardware designer can earn upto $67,000 annually whereas a mid-level hardware designer can earn upto $88,000 per year. A hardware designer in a senior position can earn upto $127,000 annually.

How much does a Hardware Designer make?

Junior $67,000
Average $88,000
Senior $127,000

What does a freelance Hardware Designer earn?

Average hourly rate of freelance Hardware designers
The average hourly rate of a freelance Hardware Designer

The average hourly rate of a freelance hardware designer is $96. Considering an 8-hour working day, the daily rate would be around $768. (freelancermap price index – January 2021).

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Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

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