Career choice problems

alik4041

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I have been looking into becoming a hardware engineer for about a year. I want to know if there are any sites where I can find information on the job (salary, responsibility, avg work time, etc). Me and my dad have been having a lot of talks about this. He's a doctor and wants me to follow in his footsteps :rolleyes: I just can't imagine a life of mine without computers. I realize that this forum is not dedicated to helping people with their careers, but any help is really appreciated. Who knows, one day I might be the maker of your graphics card :D
 

enyceexdanny

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Well, *hardware engineer* is a pretty broad field.
I think you'd need to narrow it down a bit.

You can check average salaries for different careers at salary.com

You can also search google and find most of the info you need.
 

rsgunter

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Check the US labor site. I can't remember it off hand, but there's a lot of base salary information on there.

But ask yourself this, what's the money you make if you don't enjoy what you are doing? Too many people are still unhappy making 100K a year because they despise doing what they do the most. I think you are doing the right thing by going with your gut and doing something you love.

I'll agree, "hardware engineer" is a broad field. I had a teacher that did some "mechanical engineering" work, where basically they set ovens in the middle of the field and heated them until they blew up to test limits.
But of course, some people sit around and draw up stuff all day.

What is your major going to be? Computer Engineers do some hardware work, and some coding, that what you are after?
 

alik4041

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Thanks for the replies. Since it's such a broad field, I'll tell you guys what I'm looking for. I really want a job that has a lot to do with math and hardware. Being the brains behind a CPU or GPUs architecture would be a dream. I want to be the person that work on the math to make the project possible. I'm 18, I'm done with high school. I excelled in math and science. It's funny how I can't read a 5 page story, but a 40page cpu review is no problem :p . And you're right about doing what I love. I've said that to myself for a long time. But you also need a dependable income, so I'm trying to find a balance. Can you guys point me in a specific field for those needs? I was doing some reading and the most detailed field I could find in the broad computer engineering field was hardware engineering.
 

Khanmots

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What you'll probably want is either a EE degree, or a Computer Engineering degree offered from a school like UT-Austin where it's a EE degree with some computer architecture type courses added on (or at least that's what it was 7-10 years ago).

The typical computer science degree where there's a lot of focus on software engineering isn't going to get you what you want.

As for salary, and how good that salary is, it's going to entirely depend on where you live. For instance $60k in DFW may well be better than $100k in DC.

As others have mentioned though... you're going to be working for a large portion of your life. Do something you like. I've had days where I've accidently worked 10-12 hours... simply because I got so engrossed in what I was doing that time flew by. I make enough to not stress over money issues, and I've got the free time to enjoy the money that I make. All more money will really do is allow me to contribute more to my retirment fund... and that's not worth taking a job that I hate.

Anyways... I've rambled enough... good luck!
 

frogger42

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Aug 2, 2007
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Thanks for the replies. Since it's such a broad field, I'll tell you guys what I'm looking for. I really want a job that has a lot to do with math and hardware. Being the brains behind a CPU or GPUs architecture would be a dream. I want to be the person that work on the math to make the project possible. I'm 18, I'm done with high school. I excelled in math and science. It's funny how I can't read a 5 page story, but a 40page cpu review is no problem :p . And you're right about doing what I love. I've said that to myself for a long time. But you also need a dependable income, so I'm trying to find a balance. Can you guys point me in a specific field for those needs? I was doing some reading and the most detailed field I could find in the broad computer engineering field was hardware engineering.

Take a look at Electrical Engineering. Very math based and in the classes I took (did not go all the way through... switched to Computer Science) there was a lot of binary, computer engineering, etc... in the courses. I think that would be a good starting point.

The other thing I would suggest is call the HR dept. of some of the major hardware manufacturers and just ask them what degree would be the most beneficial to one day work for them and design their products.
 

enyceexdanny

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I agree with frogger42. Electrical Engineering might suit you well.
One of my friends majored in EE and now he's working at Lockheed Martin. And he's getting paid extremely well. Plus he gets a peek at all them classified stuff. lol
lucky bastard.
 

engiNURD

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Yah, for hardware, go EE. Most of the jobs for EE in the hardware field is for embedded systems. PC components are only a small portion of the hardware market. Embedded systems is where the money is, imo.
 

alik4041

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Thanks for the information, it will not be taken for granted ;) . I was doing some search about electrical engineering and came across two sub-fields that I found to be interesting; Electronics Engineering and Microelectronics Engineering. From the looks of it, Microelectronics seems to be the more complicated one. Do you guys have any information about these?

Edit: It seems that Electrical Engineering is also called Electronics Engineering :confused:
Another Edit :p : I found out that Electronics engineering deals with the PCB, while microelectronics deals with semiconductors(same people that made the C2D)
 

enyceexdanny

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Well, Microelectrical Engineering is engineering on a smaller scale - hence the term micro.
Not sure which one would be more complicated. I'm sure both has it's complications.

Well both terms (Electrical, electronics) are equivalent in terms what you do.
 

ilkka

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There are jobs in electrical engineering. That information should suffice. You don't know what you want to do specifically until much later, so don't even bother thinking about that. And the specifics of pay, vacations, work per week, responsibilities, etc obviously differ greatly from person to person. If you are interested in an engineering career go to college and study engineering. That's it.

Being a doctor is fine as well, but you really need to be interested in a field to be any good at it. Or to even graduate, in many cases. Go with what you want to do.
 

rsgunter

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This might seem like a strange idea, but it's probably the best one.

Call a university and talk to some advisors. Most of them are happy to talk to you about job opportunities in particular field. Just tell them you are interested in attending. :)
 
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