Employment of computer hardware engineers is expected to increase 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. A limited number of engineers will be needed to meet the demand for new computer hardware because more of the innovation in computers now takes place with software than with hardware. Although foreign competition in computer equipment will negatively affect the growth of this occupation, this will be partially offset by the development of computer chips that are embedded in other electronics such as household appliances, medical devices, or automobiles.
Most job growth is expected to occur in computer consulting firms as manufacturers increasingly contract out the design of hardware. This will allow hardware engineers to work more closely with software developers when designing computer products.
Job applicants with a computer engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program will have better chances of finding a job. Engineers who have a higher-level degree and knowledge or experience with computer software will have the best job prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition