Hardware engineering has its rewards

The IT industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and holds much  promise. The hardware and networking industry design and maintain the physical elements of a computer system.

Hardware comprises the mechanical, magnetic, electronic and electrical devices used to make a computer system, such as the CPU, disk drive, keyboard and monitor.

It also involves the integration and installation of computer systems. Those associated with these disciplines of research or computer hardware and manufacturing of products are referred to as hardware engineers.

Today, computers are used by almost everyone. With the government striving to e-enable every aspect of people’s interaction with government agencies, the penetration of computers in everyday life is going to increase exponentially. Today, taxes and bills too can be paid online. However, to match such increased hardware requirements, there is a need to manufacture and provide the same.

Opportunities for a hardware engineer
While production is mainly done by those with prior experience in manufacturing, the testing, troubleshooting and repair during the manufacturing process requires a large number of hardware engineers. Hardware engineers are also required for sales support to educate customers. Low-end hardware engineers are required to do installations.

Hardware engineers of today have to be comfortable with trouble shooting, networking hardware and software, as well as installation of operating systems, antivirus and other standard software. While a reasonable number of hardware engineers are required to manage onsite support for corporates, SME and individual customers, another set of engineers are required for back-end support to attend to customer’s calls. In fact, hardware MNCs have their own global support centre working out of India, leading to a range of opportunities for hardware engineers.

It is not only that opportunity is multiplying for the people who want to take up employment, but the sector also offers opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to set up their own facility. It is very common today for many of the hardware engineers to have their own repair setup or even work part-time to maintain systems in the neighbourhood. Such set-ups also offer unbranded locally-assembled machines.

Courses available
Computer engineering involves the designing and testing of computer components. It is a branch of engineering which studies elements of electrical engineering and computer science. Hardware engineers are required to apply their knowledge in mathematics and science for the design and development of computers.

They are involved in designing, manufacturing, testing and installation of computer hardware such as computer chips, circuit boards and related components. There are plenty of options available for a student at all levels.

Students can opt for BTech in Computer Science and Computer Engineering which makes them eligible for jobs with the corporate sector and large manufacturing organisations. At the same time they have other options available like a three-year diploma, one-year  diploma and ITI to take on a variety of tasks. There are a lot of small duration courses available from a variety of hardware training schools in every town. However, it is most important that only students who enjoy this field should pursue these courses.

Eligibility
A science background is preferred to enrol in different degree and diploma courses. If one is a plain science or commerce graduate, but still wants to work as an engineer then he or she should be trained in a particular computer application or manufacturing process.
One should be technology-driven and have a profound love for working with computers. One should have strong mathematical skills. The ability to think critically and analytically and the ability to reason logically are the other qualities required in this field.

Career prospects
Job prospects in this sector are rapidly increasing in India as well as abroad. Initially, the candidate can begin his/her career as a trainee and he/she can grow at a pace limited only by one’s own ability.

Opportunities exist in government, semi-government, IT and non-IT manufacturing organisations, SMEs, corporates of all sizes, call centres, global back-end support facilities, hardware maintenance companies etc. In fact, today, a hardware engineer is required in every entity, including homes, shops, schools etc. 

Remuneration
A diploma or certificate holder earns around Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000. A degree holder can expect a starting salary of Rs 20,000-Rs25000. With a few years of work experience under one’s belt, one’s salary will keep increasing. For an entrepreneur in this industry, the sky is the limit in terms of making money.

It is critical for a candidate to develop his personality and improve his language skills if he wants to get a better start and climb higher, since most  hardware related positions require a certain amount of user interaction.

(The writer is Director, Om Nanotech Pvt. Ltd.)

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