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Despite the rapid growth of information technology, employment in hardware engineering will grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Foreign competition, growing productivity at U.S. companies, and increased emphasis on software design will limit opportunities for hardware engineers. Most growth will occur at computer consulting firms because manufacturers are increasingly contracting out hardware design. Job opportunities for self-employed hardware engineers are expected to grow by nearly 19 percent through 2020, according to the DOL, or about as fast as the average for all careers. Additional growth will occur as a result of engineers being needed to develop computer chips that are embedded in electronics such as medical devices, household appliances, and automobiles.
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