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What's the difference between hardware engineering and software engineering?

I am considering both of these as possible college majors.

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4 answers

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Rajesh’s Answer

A Computer Hardware Engineer is a person who test, diagnose and also install various computer hardware including microchips, keyboards, circuit boards, modems and also routers. He should have a Bachelor of degree in Computer Engineering or else he can take a Masters Degree or Doctorate in Engineering depending on the area he is planning to practice.

A Computer Software Engineer is a professional who involves in the design and creation of new software. He should have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering where he gets more exposure to programming or else he can take a Masters Degree or Doctorate in Engineering on various specializations related to programming.

Computer Hardware Engineer and Opportunities

Responsibilities of a Computer Hardware Engineer include the following.

Analyze data regarding type of computers and peripheral equipments
Analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware.
Build, test and modify product prototypes
Evaluate factors regarding hardware configuration.
Monitor functioning of equipments
Specify power supply requirements
Store, retrieve, and manipulate data
Test and verify hardware and support peripherals
Prepare documentation
Assemble and modify computer peripherals
Provide training and technical support to designers
Select hardware and materials that suits the actual need
Update knowledge and skills regarding computer hardware
There are a lot of job opportunities for a Computer Hardware Engineer in both Public and Private Sector Firms. They have various job profiles depending on the areas of specialization. They can undergo various certification courses which add color to their future scope. As a part of expansion in the IT industry there is a great demand for Computer Hardware Engineers in India. They have a good career abroad as well.

Software Engineer and Opportunities

The responsibilities of a Computer Software Engineer include the following.

Meeting with the clients on determining what type of software they need.
Writing code or programs using various programming languages for implementation of software
Testing and validating the software
Trouble shooting code that is showing errors
Working directly with the clients on explaining the software
There are a lot of job opportunities available for a Computer Software Engineer in the IT industry. A lot of MNCs have set up their operations in the country and they need a lot of Computer Software Engineers for their day to day operations. They have a great scope abroad as well. They can go for various short term and long term certification courses which can contribute to their career scope.

Key difference between Computer Hardware Engineer and Software Engineer

A Computer Hardware Engineer works with the computer hardware including various peripherals whereas a Computer Software Engineer deals with the design and implementation of new software. Even though they might work in the same domain, the salary packages may vary. The job opportunities for a Computer Software Engineer are some what more as compared to a Computer Hardware Engineer.

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Richardson’s Answer

Hardware Engineer
Personality : High analytical, Creative, Persistence, Initiative, Innovation, Independence, Integrity, Cooperation, Self Control, Dependability, Adaptable, Attention to Detail
Education : Electrical & Computer Engineering Degree, Master’s or Bachelor’s, IEEE certification.
Knowledge : Computers, Technology, Electronics, Telecommunications, English, Mathematics, Management.
Skill Sets : Troubleshooting, Problem Solving, Systems Evaluation, Decision Making, Active Learning, Time Management, Operations Analysis, Active Listening, Learning Strategies, Persuasion, Critical Thinking, Reading Comprehension, Complex Problem Solving, Coordination, Fluency of Ideas, Written Expression, Visualization.

Employers : HP, Samsung, Intel, AMD, IBM, Toshiba, Sony.

Software Engineer
Personality : Analytical Thinking, Focus, Initiative, Independence, Persistence, Innovation, Leadership, Self Control, Dependability, Deductive Reasoning, Information Ordering, Originality.
Education : Software Engineering or Computer Science Degree, Master’s or Bachelor’s, IEEE certification.
Knowledge : Computers, Technology, Electronics, Mathematics, Design, English Language, Customer and Personal Service, Communications, Sales, Marketing.
Skill Sets : Technology Design, Complex Problem Solving, Troubleshooting, Critical Thinking, Systems Analysis, Programming, Operations Analysis, Reading Comprehension, Quality Control Analysis, Mathematics, Time Management, Coordination, Installation, Speaking, Writing, Instructing, Monitoring.

Employers : Amazon, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, IBM.

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Abhishek’s Answer

Hardware Engineer VS Software Engineer


Hardware Engineer must be aware of Configuration settings, Troubleshooting, Coordination and Visualization.

Software Engineer should be problem solving, time management, programming and monitoring.


The hardware engineer must hold the bachelor’s or master’s degree in Computer Engineering.

Software Engineer must hold bachelors or master’s degree in Software Engineering.


Salary of hardware Engineer is comparatively higher than software Engineer which is $112,760.

Salary of Software Engineer is less in contrast with Hardware Engineer which is $107,840.


Hardware Engineer studies the hardware design and the interaction of the software with the hardware and troubleshooting problem on occurrence.

Software Engineers are responsible for development of software following software development rules and it also involves analysis of algorithm.


The products produced by hardware can be physically felt on touch.

The software and application developed by Software Engineer have no physical existence and they cannot be touched.


The hardware engineers are much important than software engineers as the computer cannot run without hardware like mouse, keyboard etc. and will produce an error.

The software engineers are less important than hardware engineer as the computer can run without software support.

Programming Languages:

Hardware Engineers have to do nothing with the programming skills. They don’t need to learn any programming language.

Software engineers must have grip to all the programming languages and must know about all the concepts of programming.


Examples include building smartphones, laptops and computers.

Example includes video games, operating systems and software’s.


Both hardware and software engineer are vital for proper working of the computer. Without the help of software engineer the hardware engineer is of no use as no platform is available for the software to run and vice versa. So they both are facilitating each other.

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N’s Answer

Hardware Engineer

Hardware engineers are not concerned with the internal working of the computer but are concerned with the outer working. The hardware includes the processors, memory, Random Access Memory and Read Only Memory. The responsibility of hardware engineer is that all the hardware parts are perfectly assembled together and are working properly in order to support the software to run on that platform. Hardware facilitates software to execute properly.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are the developers of different software and applications which are making our life much easy and fast. They apply the software disciplines and develop software’s. They are also developer of operating systems which is running on the computers. They are involved in automation of the manual system working. They are responsible for development of the software which are reliable and consistence.