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What degree is recommended for computer hardware design?

I read an old reddit AMA on it a couple months ago about a hardware engineer at
Intel and somebody brought up what they would need to receive his position. However,
he didn't give a straight answer so I would like to know what I have to do to be hired
into that job.


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Daniel’s Answer

Assuming by 'computer hardware design' you're talking about computer architecture:


This is what I wanted to do when I went into undergrad :) EE or CompE works, take as much computer architecture courses as you can. I failed at doing so with only undergraduate degrees, and bailed out into the real world (where real world = industry, as opposed to academia). So I had to settle and now I'm in the software world.


If you want to get a comp architecture job, the reality is more like this: https://www.quora.com/How-does-one-become-a-computer-architect


Basically to get a job designing CPUs at Intel, you're looking at:
1) a PhD in comp architecture
2) that PhD had better be from one of the top few programs
3) work experience (internships?) in relevant areas


Also just bear in mind that an individual company like Intel may only be hiring ~dozens of people for these types of roles (compared to generic software engineering or hardware jobs, where that's in the 10s of thousands). Turns out there are much fewer jobs available for comp architecture / chip design than there are to write random pieces software.


That said, even if you don't land a job at intel designing CPUs, if you've got a PhD in comp architecture, and some work experience, you'll probably be qualified for other positions... just maybe not comp architecture. Also even if you bail out, if you have a good background in comp architecture you'll be well positioned to switch to software or other parts of hardware (like the rest of us :P).


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Abhishek’s Answer

Starting a career as a computer hardware engineer generally requires a 4-year undergraduate degree in computer or electrical engineering, with hands-on experience in laboratory clinics as well as classroom-based seminars. Electrical engineering majors may offer concentrations in hardware engineering, while a computer engineering bachelor's degree program allows an aspiring computer hardware engineer to study both hardware and software applications, and how the two interact. Computer hardware classes include the study of circuit boards and their components, electromagnetics, digital design, microsystems design, embedded systems and computer networks.


Earning a master's degree gives a graduate advanced skills and the possibility of greater opportunity on the marketplace. Computer hardware engineers need strong skills in math, science, English and computers. Graduate students can choose to focus on areas such as network systems, parallel computing systems or machine vision systems. Coursework includes computer architecture, microprocessor systems, algorithms and computer organization. Students participate in computer labs and attend required seminars.


Education Requirements for Research and Development Careers


Computer hardware engineers who are interested in research can earn a doctoral degree in computer engineering, either as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.). The doctoral program is designed for students who have a background in computer engineering or a related field. At the beginning of the program, a student chooses an area of concentration such as networking, machine intelligence or embedded systems hardware, which guides the curriculum for the classroom component of the program and the research direction for the doctoral dissertation.


Coursework includes embedded engineering, computer architecture, networks, and internet technology. Students study very large scale integration (VLSI), wireless networking and nanotechnology. The research portion of the program covers methodology, technologies for business and product development. Doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation and take part in practicums related to their dissertation.


Becoming a computer hardware engineer requires formal education in order to learn the complex systems involved in computer hardware. This is a great profession for anyone who loves working with computers, solving technical problems, and working with their hands.


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Jeff’s Answer

Salvador,


Very good question. If you are looking to follow a pure hardware development path, your best bet is an Electrical Engineering degree. However, if you would like a bit more flexibility in your career path, you might want to consider a Computer Engineering degree. It's still hardware focused but with more software than a EE.


Best of luck!


I strongly agree with Salvador's response. Brenda Johnson

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syed’s Answer

If you want to get a comp architecture job, the reality is more like this: https://www.quora.com/How-does-one-become-a-computer-architect


Basically to get a job designing CPUs at Intel, you're looking at:
1) a PhD in comp architecture
2) that PhD had better be from one of the top few programs
3) work experience (internships?) in relevant areas


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Joanne’s Answer

Computer courses at a post-high school level usually fall in 3 categories:
computer software (let's throw security and programming in here)
computer science - that's a nice mix of software and hardware
computer engineering - this is probably your strongest degree for hardware.


Combine schooling with some hands on experience (i.e. Geek Squad from Best Buy) and you'll have a nice start


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