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Engineering careers

I.T. Infrastructure & Hardware Engineering

Why do companies need hardware and infrastructure engineers?

When you think about hardware, the first things that spring to mind may be electrical and plumbing supplies. However, in actual fact, hardware and infrastructure refers to all of the physical components that companies use within their I.T. and telecommunications.

With hardware technologies ever evolving, this area of I.T. offers people the chance to work with the latest technologies and learn about different areas within I.T. If you enjoy solving problems and fixing things, this could well be the career for you.

Hardware and infrastructure engineers are integral for maintaining all of the I.T. used within companies; without them organisations wouldn’t be able to operate successfully. These guys look after everything physical relating to I.T., e.g. the computers that everyone uses, the network equipment that runs the internet and the servers that link companies’ computers together.

For many organisations, these engineers fulfil one of the most important functions. If the telephones, internet and computers aren’t operating, there’s no way that any work can be done. This might be a dream come true for many office employees; however, in reality it could be detrimental to an organisation’s prosperity!

What industries employ infrastructure and hardware engineers?

These guys can work in all kinds of industries, ranging from charities and hospitals, to banks and law firms. Given how technology-driven workplaces are becoming, there aren’t too many companies now that don’t need people to look after their hardware and infrastructure. Basically, if they’ve got computers, they’ll need hardware and infrastructure engineers to fix problems.

The bigger the organisation, the more engineers will be needed, as there will be more people to provide support to. With this in mind, if you are working for a large multi-national corporation, you will need to be able to work alongside a team of people to resolve issues.

If you work for a smaller organisation, you may be the only person responsible for the computer hardware and infrastructure. Consequently, you will need to be able to work under your own initiative and with little supervision.

Careers in hardware and infrastructure can expose you to a range of different technologies. This is incredibly useful, as your skills will be transferrable between different companies.

Specialisations within infrastructure and hardware engineering

Given the range of hardware and infrastructure used by companies, people will often specialise in specific areas, especially in larger firms, because they have so much infrastructure to maintain. You might become a specialist desktop engineer, network engineer or server engineer.

Desktop engineers are responsible for fixing problems relating to PCs and laptops. They’ll need a good understanding of how computers and their components work. They need to resolve issues quickly to ensure that people can continue working.

Another area that often ties in with desktop engineering is servicing mobile devices, like Blackberries (not one of your five-a-day, unfortunately), phones and laptops.

If you pursue a career as a server engineer, you would be responsible for managing the servers, which are essentially put in place to store all of an organisation’s data. Servers are incredibly important and need to be monitored frequently. Server engineers will need to back them up, configure and troubleshoot them (all of these are just technical words for maintaining servers).

Network engineering careers focus on internet setup; you’ll be dealing with routers, switches and IP telephones. It’s important that any issues are resolved quickly to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Often, smaller businesses will employ just one person to maintain all of these areas, so it’s good to have a strong general knowledge of everything relating to hardware and infrastructure engineering.  

Working within these environments can be highly-pressurised because issues need to be resolved quickly. Sometimes weekend work will be required to carry out essential work that can’t happen when people are using their computers during normal hours.

There are many certifications to be gained in this arena that are specific to each area of hardware and infrastructure (desktop, server, network, storage etc.). Once people become extremely adept in their specialist area, or even as an all-rounder, the next step in the career path is to become a technical architect.

Are you a technical whizz-kid? Are you the one that your family and friends turn to when all things-computer related go AWOL? If so, it may just be that a career in hardware and infrastructure engineering is the one for you! Check out the occupational profile of an I.T. technical support officer or browse through our jobs board to find out more!

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