Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers design, develop, implement, evaluate and maintain computer systems, and equipment that forms part of that system. In addition to design and development, computer hardware engineers may supervise the manufacturing and installation of all computer-related equipment.

The term hardware refers to all physical aspects of the computer, such as central processing units (CPU’s) computer chips, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and peripherals such as printers, disc drives scanners, keyboards, modems and related equipment. In some cases, they develop special purpose “embedded” products that use computer technology, for example, embedded computers are used in applications ranging from refrigeration equipment to car engines and aeroplanes.

Computer hardware engineering is a specialised field very closely linked to the field of electronics engineering. In South Africa most computer hardware engineers study electronics at university or a university of technology, with specialisation subjects in computers and computer-related equipment.

The rapid integration of mechanical and electronic systems means that all fields of engineering require some aspects of computer hardware knowledge. Computer hardware engineers are also required to have a strong all-round computer knowledge including some knowledge of support logic and programming. The rapid advances in computer technology are largely as a result of the research, development and design efforts of computer hardware engineers.

Consulting opportunities for computer hardware engineers tend to grow as businesses need help managing, upgrading and customising increasingly complex systems. Growth in embedded systems, a technology that uses computers to control other devices such as appliances or cell phones, will also increase the demand for computer hardware engineers.

Computer hardware engineers must have a 4-year degree in computer engineering or a related discipline such as electrical engineering. Some employers hire only computer hardware engineers who have a Master of Science (MSc) degree in electronic / electrical engineering. A doctoral degree in engineering is generally required for a career in research and development, or as a professor of engineering.


  • companies that supply and service computers

  • government departments

  • provincial administrations

  • computer bureaus

  • such companies as: Spoornet, Telkom, Denel

  • universities and universities of technology

  • any company or business using computer systems and networks

  • self-employment, a registered engineer with the necessary experience and initiative, as consultant

Getting Started

  • develop your mathematical, communication and computer skills

  • arrange to take an aptitude test, to determine whether you have the necessary ability for this type of work

  • speak to people in this field of work

  • try to obtain vacation work in this field


Abm University College, Accra Institute of Technology (Ait), Accra Polytechnic, AFDA, Akilah Institute for Women, All Nations University College, Alliance International University, Belgium Campus, Bishop Stuart Universities, Boland TVET College, Boston City Campus & Business College, Botho University, Busitema University, Catholic University College of Ghana, Centurion Academy, Chinhoyi University of Technology, College of Intergrated Healthcare, Commerce and Computer College of South Africa, CTU, Damelin, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, DMI-St.Eugene University, Durban Computer College, Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies, Garden City University College, Gretsa University, Institute of Development Management, International School of Business and Technology (Isbat), International University of East Africa, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, KAAF University College, Karatina University, Kayiwa International University, Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, Kibabii University, Kirinyaga University College, Kiriri Women's University of Science and Technology, Koforidua Polytechnic, Kyambogo University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Lira University, Machakos University College, Makerere University, Management Training and Advisory Centre, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Meru University of Science and Technology, Multimedia University of Kenya, Multitech Business School, Murang'a University of Technology, Ndejje University, Nelson Mandela University, Nkumba University, North-West University, Oval International Computer Education, Presbyterian University of East Africa, Regional Maritime University, Riara University, Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology, Rongo University College, Rusangu University, Solusi University, South African School of Motion Picture, St Paul's University, Technical University of Kenya, Texila American University, Tom Mboya University College, Uganda Technology and Management University, Umma University, United States International University, Université des Mascareignes, University of Eldoret, University of Johannesburg, University of Kabianga, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Lusaka, University of Malawi (The Polytechnic), University of Mines & Technology Tarkwa, University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies, Varsity College, Web-Info-Net Institute of Technology, Zambia Catholic University