The Highest Paying Computer Jobs in the USA - Part 1: Computer Hardware Engineer Salaries
The modern world exists in large part because computers can organize and manage multitudes of information. These information processors help design skyscrapers, harness and distribute energy, plan agricultural production, create games and other entertainments, and correlate customer information. Solid boxes and complex electronics form the bodies of computers, which are designed by computer hardware engineers. These professionals also test their devices and may supervise manufacturing and installation.
Hardware engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter their jobs. However, advanced research requires a master’s degree or better. Though starting salaries are among the highest for college graduates, job opportunities are expected to decline by four percent until 2018. This is primarily because of foreign competition. All information is from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Wages and Employers
The 66,960 computer hardware engineers working in the USA make a mean $48.85 per hour or $101,600 per year. However, median salaries can dip to $29.50 per hour or $61,360 per year, or can ascend to $71.10 per hour or $147,890 per year. Most professionals work for computer systems design and related services, where 13,590 make a mean $48.82 per hour or $101,550 per year. The second biggest employers are computer and peripheral equipment manufacturers, where 9,730 workers receive a mean $51.48 per hour or $107,090 per year.
The highest paid engineers are the 30 employed by commercial and industrial machinery rental and leasing at $61.72 per hour or $128,380 per year. More opportunities are available at the second highest paying industry of data processing and hosting services, where 1,130 workers receive $54.24 per hour or $112,830 per year.
Among all the states, New York shows the highest mean wages for computer hardware engineers at $55.41 per hour or $115,240 per year, followed by Massachusetts at $55.38 per hour or $115,190 per year, and then California at $53.47 per hour or $111,230 per year. California also has the most number of jobs at 17,780, followed by Texas, where 5,140 workers receive $45.99 per hour or $95,650 per year.
The metro area with the highest salaries are Santa Barbara, California, where 60 engineers make a mean $78.54 per hour or $163,370 per year, and Nassau County, New York, where 710 positions earn $59.66 per hour or $124,090 per year. However, San Jose, California, has the most jobs at 7,990, with earnings at $57.20 per hour or $118,970 per year. Washington DC ranks third with 3,410 positions getting $52.08 per hour or $108,330 per year.
Jobs are available for computer hardware engineers in rural areas, but only in locations with major manufacturers. For example, St. Mary’s County, Maryland, has Best Buy and Grumman Aerospace. Of any rural area, the county offers both the most positions at 150, and the highest wages, at $45.71 per hour or $95,070 per year. Ranking second for pay is Northern Virginia, which is known as the Silicon Valley of the East because of its many high tech companies like Computer Sciences Corporation and TRW. This area has 120 jobs with mean wages at $45.42 per hour or $94,470 per year.
For More Information
For more information on salaries for other computer jobs, check out the rest of the series:
- Highest Paid Engineer Jobs in the USA
Even among the high-paying world of engineering, some jobs earn more than others.
- For Love and Money: The Highest Paying Jobs in the USA
America's best paid professions earn over six figures. Find out what they are in this article.
- Golden State Gold: Highest Paying Jobs in California
As the eighth largest economy in the world, California provides plenty of opportunity for high paying jobs.
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