Hardware Engineers: Design Your Future.
As you read this, there’s a team developing cutting-edge technology that’ll change your life. Or at least it’ll make your next electronic device faster, thinner and capable of stuff you may or may not have imagined.
That’s what hardware engineers want — to be in on the action, working with the most innovative technology.
“These engineers are passionate about innovation and creation,” says Mike Czarnik, who leads an Aerotek engineering recruiting team covering Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. “They want to hear about the biggest and best thing coming around the corner. It’s something that drives and motivates them.”
There’s a huge demand for hardware engineers, the people who design and test components like circuit boards, processors, memory devices, networks and routers.
If you’re a hardware engineer, how can you land the hottest, most rewarding jobs? Here’s what Czarnik had to say:
What kind of people excel in this career?
“The best hardware engineers have a passion for new product technology, and making something from scratch is where they really shine.”
He also warned against bouncing around from job to job: “The people who have been very stable in their careers get the best performance reviews.”
What do employers look for?
Because of the rapidly changing nature of the industry, more and more hardware engineers are becoming highly specialized in the type of work they do, Czarnik said.
He described the qualities that employers are currently asking for:
- The ability to work with schematic capture design tools and perform schematic capture design tasks. “I would say, generally, schematic capture is what you’re going to want to be doing,” he said.
- The ability to work with different design software packages such as OrCAD, Allegro, PADS or Altium Designer.
- Experience working with the increasingly popular Bluetooth wireless technology. “If somebody has Bluetooth experience, that’s extremely marketable as it’s being integrated into almost everything around us.”
- A specialization in Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) or Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) hardware design.
- Communication skills are key for working with teams of other engineers and developers. “A hardware design engineer will never be alone,” Czarnik said.
What’s the demand like for hardware engineers?
“Unemployment is almost next to none,” Czarnik said. “The best hardware people are being snapped up by the best companies. These companies pay them very competitively to keep them — which is why you don’t see many hardware engineers in the market, but you always see a lot of job postings.”
There are nearly 75,000 hardware engineering jobs in the U.S., with a median annual salary of about $115,000, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If there’s such high demand, why should hardware engineers work with a recruiter?
Recruiters will likely know about job opportunities that the general public won’t know about.
“Aerotek is pretty helpful if you’re looking, because a lot of huge companies are reaching out to us, saying, ‘Hey, we need X, Y and Z and we can’t find it,’” Czarnik said. “Companies are always coming to us with their needs, and a lot of these companies might not have these job postings online.”
How does Aerotek help hardware engineers find the right job?
We’ll talk to you about your goals, skills and interests — what kind of work do you really want to do? We can help map out a path to take you there.
“Where do you want to be in five, 10, 15 years, and is this going to help you get there?” Czarnik said. “Is Company A or Company B better for this? A lot of times, we’ve been working with these companies for many years, and we understand their culture.”
It’s important to have a clear vision for your future, Czarnik said.
“I always tell candidates I’m working with: Finding you a position is easy. I can do that in a day. But finding you a position that you’re going to enjoy being at for one or two years, on and on — that’s where we truly excel.”
Curious about your future? Visit our job board to search job postings. Create a free career account today to customize your search based on your skills and interests. Upload your resume and consider contacting an expert career advisor. Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use and direct you to the right opportunity, including those not posted publicly.