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Hardware Developer

A Hardware Developer is a professional involved in the design, development, and optimization of hardware components and systems. This includes circuit design, printed circuit board design, and component integration to create electronic devices or systems.

Hardware Developer Job Profile

What Is A Hardware Developer?

The job title “Hardware Developer” is synonymous with a developer and designer of modern electronic system equipment. The developer is responsible for the conception, design, and implementation of hardware from the testing phase to the production stage. Hardware developers primarily work in the development departments of small, medium, and large electronics companies. They are also employed by IT companies and data processing businesses for hardware-related tasks.

What Is Hardware Development?

Hardware development involves the planning, concept design, and construction of electrical circuits, printed circuit boards, and devices. The term “hardware” encompasses all the components that belong to the technical equipment of a specific system. These can include items such as mice, joysticks, keyboards, USB sticks, or dongles. Graphics cards, controllers, or modems are also part of these components. These parts are integrated into various devices such as:

  • PCs

  • Notebooks

  • Gaming consoles

  • Smartphones

Hardware refers to all the tangible components in devices. There is a distinction between built-in hardware and non-built-in hardware. For example, an internal graphics card is considered built-in hardware, while a mouse or keyboard is non-built-in. The device in which these components are integrated is also fundamentally referred to as hardware.

What Does A Hardware Developer Do?

A hardware developer’s job is highly diverse. They are involved in both development and technical tasks. In medium and large companies, they may also work at various interfaces and take on coordination roles. Hardware developers often engage in customer discussions when it comes to developing new components or making improvements. The tasks of a hardware developer include:

  • Planning and developing hardware components for various devices

  • Conceptualizing circuit designs and building prototypes

  • Creating tests and performing hardware maintenance

  • Preparing manufacturing documents

  • Providing documentation and reports for the management

Paradoxically, hardware development is not possible without the use of software. Nowadays, individual components for devices, as well as circuits and schematics, are planned and developed using computers.

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What Areas Are There In Hardware Development?

As hardware is used in almost every industry, there are countless areas in hardware development. Many industries work with self-developed hardware. Developers of modern hardware and the required components, for example, work in process control, IT, and electronics companies. Hardware developers are also in demand at various suppliers in mechanical engineering, the automotive industry, or the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. There are even specialized development offices for hardware components that collaborate with different industrial sectors.

Hardware is particularly in demand in the computer industry. The numerous components such as motherboards, hard drives, processors, graphics cards, RAM, drives, and external storage are considered integral parts that are constantly being improved. Monitors, printers, scanners, or cameras are also part of the hardware that is continually enhanced. It’s no wonder that in the rapidly evolving computer industry, they say: “What comes on the market today will be outdated tomorrow.” Hardware development is a constantly evolving field that offers numerous opportunities with its many facets.

How Does One Become A Hardware Developer?

In German universities, there is no specific degree program for hardware development. Those who choose to become hardware developers typically study computer science or electrical engineering. During their studies, students can specialize in hardware development. Specializations in areas such as telematics or network and communication technology are also possible. The student successfully graduates as Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering, depending on the university.

For those who focus on computer engineering, they learn, for example, the programming of data structures and various algorithms. Emphasis is placed on the entire computer architecture and software development. Learning different programming languages is also part of the training. Many companies prefer hardware developers who gain practical work experience during their studies. To achieve this, students must complete various internships or work as student employees (werksstudent) during their studies.

How Much Does A Hardware Developer Earn?

As a starting salary after completing their studies, a hardware developer earns approximately 47,000 euros gross per year. For unmarried individuals with tax class I, this translates to a net salary of about 2,400 euros. With years of experience in the field, the gross salary increases accordingly. After about 10 years in development, the salary is around 72,000 euros gross. The salary ceiling, for example, as a department head, is around 80,000 euros gross for hardware developers.

What Are The Job Prospects for Hardware Developers?

Gut ausgebildete Hardware Entwickler haben in Deutschland, Europa und in Übersee hervorragende Berufschancen und eine sehr gute Zukunft vor sich. Dies liegt schon alleine daran, dass in nahezu jeder Branche moderne Hardware als Grundlage für eine erfolgreiche Produktion benötigt wird. Durch die mit den Jahren steigende Berufserfahrung und durch interne und externe Weiterbildung ist auch als Hardware Entwickler der Aufstieg in eine Führungsposition durchaus möglich. Die Position als Bereichs- oder Abteilungsleiter zählen für viele Arbeitnehmer zu den angestrebten Zielen. Hardware Entwickler und Hardware Entwicklerinnen können sich selbstverständlich auch selbstständig machen oder als Freelancer arbeiten. 

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