If you’re interested in building hardware for a living, you’re probably curious about how much it pays. Here’s the good news: those who master the intricacies of hardware design, prototyping, and manufacturing can pull down heady compensation at the right company.
According to levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation data from tech professionals, the median compensation for hardware engineers in the U.S. currently stands at $189,600. Here are the organizations paying their hardware engineers the most:
It stands to reason why Waymo, which creates autonomous-driving technology, would pay its hardware engineers so handsomely: the quest to build self-driving cars has been a difficult one, necessitating the creation of new technologies (and using older technologies in novel ways). Hardware engineers building the foundations for our self-driving future possess highly specialized knowledge, making them insanely valuable.
The companies funding autonomous-driving efforts, such as Waymo and Tesla, also have the budgets to mightily compensate employees, kicking off a race to secure talent. That’s good news for engineers with the right knowledge, as it translates into competition for their skills.
Facebook/Meta has also hired hardware engineers to build out its “metaverse” future, which includes virtual reality (VR) headsets and augmented reality (AR) eyeglasses. Although Meta has spent billions of dollars in an attempt to establish this market, it will likely face aggressive competition in the next few quarters from Apple, which is reportedly building a VR headset of its own. Again, an expanding “metaverse” market is good news for hardware engineers who want to specialize in VR and AR, as this will mean a plethora of opportunities.
But even for those hardware engineers who don’t want to participate in cutting-edge tech, opportunities to construct new, cool things will likely abound in 2023. It can take a long time to master the skills necessary to build great hardware, but all that effort can pay off in a big way.