Hardware engineering focuses on the development and testing of computer hardware components. You may focus on specific components or parts of the process, such as specializing in design or working only with processors, or work with a general hardware engineering skill set. As you gain experience in this field, you may want to move into a position with more responsibility and a focus on strategy, as opposed to doing the front-line development yourself. The hardware engineering manager position puts you at the head of an engineering team or department, with an average salary of $140,958.
Common Hardware Engineering Manager Job Responsibilities
You use the hardware engineering skills you developed over the years to guide the overall strategy for your team. Some of your primary responsibilities include maintaining high productivity, setting project schedules, providing oversight on hardware engineering projects, handle new engineer training and keep projects on track.
Your practical engineering skills provide you with the foundation to assist your team on their projects, but your primary role is not hands-on engineering. Instead, you need strong communication and leadership skills so your team accomplishes the tasks they set out to do. You have full visibility into your projects and assignments, which allows you to make strategic decisions on resource allocations and team management.
You also act as the main coordinator between different departments. If you need data, resources or assistance from other departments and teams, you're the primary point of contact. You also negotiate with vendors and bring in contractors as needed for the project. Your people skills have to be top notch once you reach the hardware engineering manager position, because you spend a lot of time working directly with people.
You still get to flex your engineering muscles from time to time, especially if you're facing a schedule crunch or your team faces a complicated problem. However, these opportunities are relatively uncommon compared to your other responsibilities.
Hardware Engineering Manager Work Environment
You spend most of your time in the office, whether you're down with your team or in meetings with other managers and executives. You split your time between your workstation and the phone as you keep projects flowing smoothly. You create reports and presentations keeping other stakeholders up to date on what your hardware engineering team is doing, whether their projects are running on time, and managing the budget for your department. You have a lot of responsibilities, but taking on an engineering management position also comes with many rewards.