Why is hardware better than software?

Samsung q4RmMw
May 31 112 Comments

I know we are the lesser paid engineer in general but what are some reasons why WE ARE BETTER than our flashy counterpart? I know a lot of us exist here! Let's not get trolled and start listing why we are better/cooler!!

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TOP 112 Comments
  • Wells Fargo / IT aggie
    If it was better, you wouldn't be seeking validation here.
    May 31 9
    • Microsoft BarFoo
      /thread
      May 31
    • Microsoft vCuU53
      Word
      May 31
    • Honeywell wellHoney
      *Mic Drop
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Data _john_doe
      Burn
      May 31
    • Microsoft MUlg35
      Gigem
      May 31
    • Wells Fargo / IT aggie
      And I'm not even a software guy 😆
      May 31
    • Wells Fargo / IT aggie
      Thanks and Gig'em MUlg35.
      May 31
    • ICU Medical / Mktg
      user3.0

      ICU Medical Mktg

      BIO
      Trying my own thing but doing something for someone else. 🤷🏼‍♂️
      user3.0more
      Oof
      Jun 1
    • Intel GWGA84
      Badumtss
      Jun 2
  • Amazon / Eng DeepObsess
    No competition, seriously not many want your job. I deal with hw a lot BTW
    May 31 10
    • Google blah🤯
      That's wrong, it's easier to get a swe job than hw
      May 31
    • Pure Storage iSSk05
      Both of you are wrong. They’re both easy.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng Melloneusk
      You are also wrong both are hard.
      May 31
    • Microsoft ohmazz
      You're wrong too. Only one is hard, the other is soft.
      May 31
    • Microsoft dgvhurhbjt
      You're all wrong. You figure out how.
      May 31
    • Amazon / Eng DeepObsess
      I am both right :) it's hard for both companies and employees to find a good fit.
      May 31
    • ICU Medical / Mktg
      user3.0

      ICU Medical Mktg

      BIO
      Trying my own thing but doing something for someone else. 🤷🏼‍♂️
      user3.0more
      I'm Jack Wright :)
      Jun 1
    • Intel GWGA84
      Lol.. hilarious repliez. ..I love Blind
      Jun 2
    • Google / Ops Huhf13
      Amazon is sad because their hardware is failure. Google hardware works.
      Jun 2
    • Intel / Eng BigRoach
      It usually goes from soft to hard for me, idk about u.
      Jun 4
  • Uber Anti-Mage
    I have very high respect to folks designing the hardware. Lack of recognition in the industry detracted a lot of talent and stalled innovation in this segment. Hope it will be disrupted some day returning healthy competition. Tired of watching behemoths like intel hiding behind patents.
    May 31 16
    • Qualcomm / Eng
      culi

      Qualcomm Eng

      PRE
      Intel Corporation
      BIO
      ASIC
      culimore
      bar of entry for any ASIC jobs are a Master in Electrical or Computer. (at least 6 years of school)

      for a SWE, you are just need to be "smart and good" in data structures and algorithm. i know "smart and good" are relative lol. but many people successfully got to FANG after 6 months or so boot camp and get paid quarter of a million.
      May 31
    • Airbnb ancmqo
      Turns out that software is better because people contributed building leetcode and github communities. If HW is better, why isn’t there equivalency of lc for HW. Also bar of SW is low because it is more popular. If you want to be good, the bar is higher than HW. Lol
      May 31
    • Broadcom Ltd. aeCy07
      This Airbnb dude thinks all the hw positions are having the same skills requirement. One day you will replaced by some fresh new grad with 500+ LC “experience”.
      Lol
      May 31
    • Microsoft Vbsm66
      There's no LC for hardware since the cost for entry is much higher (at least spending a few hundred for an fpga board, much more if you want to manufacture something), and it's not as useful for amateurs.
      May 31
    • Intel Kitten420
      Hardware design is amazingly challenging and there is so much cross disciplinary stuff. Design an ADC for a high speed communication interface using 7nm devices- you need to really understand device physics, signal processing, a whole load of math and be able to model it in Matlab. Or take our friendly neighborhood viterbi decoder - a classic example of dynamic programming in hardware, or an LDPC which has concepts plucked out of graph theory. Take processor design - it goes hand in hand with low level machine code and compilers. There are hundreds of niches in hardware that are extremely rewarding in terms of job satisfaction and give you the time to delve deep and do real R&D.
      May 31
    • Intel MistaPotta
      HW bar is higher. For HW, you need to take:

      Multivar/Vector Calc, Linear Alg, Diff Eqns

      Physics - electromagnetics is something that kills most of the people who even think about doing EE/CE, modern physics is a whole different story

      And then there's the whole EE curriculum.

      You can't leetcode that sh*t
      May 31
    • Broadcom Ltd. aeCy07
      Hey Kitten420 stop trying to explain to these sw engineers. For them the highest bar of entry and the most amazingly challenging is leetcode.
      Lol
      May 31
    • Airbnb ancmqo
      ok guys. I admit HW has higher bar. But I am saying SW is better.
      May 31
    • Dell / Mgmt
      mikedell

      Dell Mgmt

      PRE
      EMC Corporation
      BIO
      Hardware emphasis, some security
      mikedellmore
      It's because hardware is the IT equivalent of manufacturing. Other places outside of the US do it cheaper.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Data _john_doe
      I wonder why all you smart hw people dont get into sw and get paid a lot like quarter a mil. Bar is lower that should be easy. Just do some LC. You guys think you are the only ones using higher math. Sad. I respect hw that's where my background is and I have ms in both ee and cs. And to it's not the hw bar is higher but the information is more expensive and hard to reach. You can't just so stuff at home and learn in hw. In sw literally everything is no cost. Free courses etc. But another thing to consider is recently most of the innovations are from sw side. And even with a mediocre hw if you have good sw you can achieve reasonable performance using parallel programming and shit but if you sw is shit no matter how many core your processor has it's no good. So rn sw is popular in bc of all these. But time may change that.
      May 31
  • T-Mobile fun oh
    Hardware can be outsourced to China. What about software?
    May 31 9
    • Intel D’s🥜
      Anywhere with an Internet connection once a day or so?
      May 31
    • Software can be outsourced to India!
      May 31
    • New
      Uoseidon

      New

      PRE
      Yahoo
      Uoseidonmore
      AI can write software
      May 31
    • Microsoft
      BoomSauce

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Dropping knowledge and turds in equal measure
      BoomSaucemore
      China just steals the software 🤷‍♂️
      May 31
    • Intel D’s🥜
      Can China steal software from AI? Can AI make a Patent? Is this legal?
      May 31
    • Oracle qAPP44
      This is a pretty weak argument, assuming that's what you're aiming for.
      May 31
    • Honeywell wellHoney
      Some of the most talented developers I’ve met have been Chinese. I don’t think that’s a fair judgement. Given enough passion and determination and 996 work (lol), anything is possible.
      May 31
    • Western Digital SanDisk
      Software is even easier to outsource
      May 31
    • Google / Eng 江泽民
      India
      Jun 1
  • Nvidia ethercoin
    Gender is software and sex is hardware, so it's unclear which one is better
    May 31 4
    • Microsoft
      BoomSauce

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Dropping knowledge and turds in equal measure
      BoomSaucemore
      Definitely hardware in this case
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Data _john_doe
      I think it's the other way around software makes hardware working/useful. You can have a dick all day long but if you are not using it... so software is the sex
      May 31
    • Microsoft
      BoomSauce

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Dropping knowledge and turds in equal measure
      BoomSaucemore
      I don't "think" ethercoin is talking about dick as hardware, but I could be wrong

      Sex=hardwired genetics/biology
      Gender=how you feel/identify
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Data _john_doe
      I was going for the double meaning of word sex. If you interpret it as the verb...
      May 31
  • Athenahealth jRfJ36
    Hardware is more fun. Especially embedded when you can do a little of everything. Design the circuit, pick components, lay out the PCB, build it, program the MCU, make LEDs blink. What's more fun than that?

    Job market blows though.
    May 31 4
    • Honeywell wellHoney
      The problem with embedded is as soon as you’ve finished a year long stint developing a new product, worked through all the failures and got it perfect, introduce it to the market and if it’s a success it immediately is copied and knockoffs sold.
      May 31
    • Intel D’s🥜
      Not all embedded products use a micro controller with simple programming. Things like solid state drives and Internet connectivity modems are embedded systems.
      May 31
    • Dell / Mgmt
      mikedell

      Dell Mgmt

      PRE
      EMC Corporation
      BIO
      Hardware emphasis, some security
      mikedellmore
      This
      May 31
    • Tesla / Eng 1🧟🧞🤺
      You still "programmed" the MCU
      May 31
  • INPHI heshe
    HW engineers dont steal data from users and call it data mining selling to other companies or using it for advertisement
    May 31 3
    • Microsoft nonillion
      *cough* GeForce Experience *cough*
      May 31
    • Dell / Mgmt
      mikedell

      Dell Mgmt

      PRE
      EMC Corporation
      BIO
      Hardware emphasis, some security
      mikedellmore
      Have you heard of stingray?
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng Goivenglav
      HW is the one layer that can almost always steal information if architected sneakily enough. There’s no OS in chipset land and there’s always an interrupt or mechanism to take over.
      Jun 1
  • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
    Because you cannot deliver shit and fix it later...
    Because your mistake cost a lot...
    Because you don't release every week...
    Because we can't move hw to cloud...
    Because if hardware had the mess that is hidden inside software, each mobile phone would be equipped with its own nuclear power plant and we will leak power plants because of race conditions...
    May 31 3
    • Microsoft blinkd182
      Well technically you do move hardware to the cloud because that’s what powers the cloud and then people don’t need that hardware locally.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      There is no cloud... It is someones else computer...

      And we will need more hardware... The local client still needs something...
      May 31
    • Intel / Eng CoryP
      Hardware is full of mess just like software. I don't think you should put it on a pedestal like that.

      Imagine working on the same module for 4 years. What's wrong with releasing the damn thing and doing something new?
      Jun 1
  • Salesforce linusklava
    “better”? What is this, elementary school?
    May 31 2
    • Intel / Eng Chipzilla
      This post makes it seem like elementary school..
      May 31
    • Intel GWGA84
      I thought I was always in elementary school. .. isn't that the case? Omg!
      Jun 2
  • Apple magikarp16
    Love how this triggered software engineers 😂😂😂
    May 31 2
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      Term 'engineer' is misused when it is combined with software... 😜
      May 31
    • Axon / Eng hfccuu
      Yeah, there's probably 10 software developers for every software engineer. That's why "it just works" is a mark of software exceptionalism. Whereas no one mentions when the hardware "just works". (unless you write drivers, then you find the hardware never works quite as expected)
      May 31
  • Airbnb ancmqo
    Hardware is better if you don’t need software for that hardware like a knife or saw.
    May 31 2
  • Oracle SDET
    hardware can work without software. But software can't...
    May 31 2
    • Microsoft zGKQ10
      so the best jobs in the world must be in mining and power plants
      May 31
    • Wells Fargo / IT aggie
      Lol what

      What use is hardware if there's nothing (i.e. software) to use it. Who's going to pay for a graphic card if there are not games to run on the card.
      May 31
  • Microsoft ccmbrwater
    I was hardware engineering major and started as a hardware engineer then quickly switched to firmware for a while and then quickly to software? Why? Better pay and easier to get to big corps that could afford getting me a green card asap. Also I found the job easier at entry level (not so much now) I have a lot of respect for HW, but market dictates the game and SW is where you can ship fast and pivot fast and be flexible and clone your product az zero cost. HW is relatively more consolidated as a discipline so you need less innovative engineering per project, kinda the same way civil engineering has consolidated and you work with better and bigger building blocks as an engineer, obviously to a lesser degree.
    May 31 0
  • Microsoft captoad
    Hardware is amazing, you guys let me write shitty code and still get paid a lot! But... it just doesn’t scale.
    May 31 8
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      Well you code doesn't scale... Hardware scale much better than our core e
      May 31
    • Microsoft captoad
      One piece of hardware allows me to create hundreds of services that generate revenue. I spend money on services over and over again, but I buy hardware once every x years.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      It allows you to create them... But they don't run in thin air... You need shit load of hardware to run them...
      May 31
    • Microsoft captoad
      Again, it doesn’t scale as much as software. People pay more for the software then we need to pay for the hardware. And we can repurpose the same hardware to generate more revenue without having to buy new hardware.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      obviously you never checked your azure bill, or the bill to for hw support on classic DCs... Our code doesn't scale... Hw scales very well
      May 31
    • Microsoft captoad
      Azure hardware is expensive but Microsoft makes more money by selling the service (software) than the hardware makers making the hardware. So no, hardware doesn’t scale better than software.
      May 31
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      It look like you think that hw you paid once and thene it is there for you... For ever.. Apparently hw manufacturers make shit load of money after sale... They hold you by your balls... You need them for support or you go and get new hardware from someone else and he will hold you by your balls...

      And when they decide that your hardware is too old, they stop supporting It and you pay again...

      And the shittiest code we write... The more hardware they sell... 😜
      May 31
    • Microsoft jdjfjfcj
      This DO dude is breathtaking in his/her stupidity. How the actual fuck Microsoft employs you I dont know.
      May 31
  • Amazon DaReelReal
    I left HW and making lots more as SW PM
    Jun 4 0
  • Google / Eng imp0st3r
    SW folks wouldn't have jobs without the HW we create
    May 31 1
    • Microsoft / Eng DeviousOps
      You shall be ashamed... You have fun creating hw... And we have a job and not life...
      May 31
  • Magic Leap sunday3
    Hardware has a higher bar on expertise compared to software.

    However, the commoditization of generic hardware products is much stronger, so the price is cheaper which squeezes the industry.

    Software is also closer to the end-user in the value chain. Which makes a lot of value to be capture by the software running on top of the commodity hardware.

    And because the next incremental dollar spent on software tends to capture more value, that’s where the investment, competition for talent and and TC grows faster.

    Now, when the software layer is hyper optimized and the incremental next dollar goes to hardware, you also see an uplifting on HW TC. That can happen in more niche applications.
    May 31 0
  • Pure Storage / R&D HFIT71
    Were hardware engineers paid similar to software engineers a decade ago? I.e. before this big salary bubble started.
    Jun 1 2
    • Around 2001, right after the 1st dot com bubble burst, the salaries for entry level HWE and SWE were comparable. But top tier SW firms like Google and MS paid better than top firms like Nvidia and Cisco (yes, Cisco was a top tier company back then) even back then. SW companies started to pull away comp wise after the Google IPO in 2004.

      But the real SWE salary bubble started around 2010 after the 2008 housing bubble dust settled and the successful lawsuit against Apple, Google, etc for the now illegal non-poaching talent agreements. And when FB got into the fray and aggressively poached Google engineers with higher pay in mid to late 2000s.
      Jun 1
    • Western Digital SanDisk
      Back in the late 90s HW pays 20% more than software easily
      Jun 1
  • Microsoft dTJQ43
    You can't build complex hardware and simply copy it instantly to create more
    May 31 0
  • Western Digital SanDisk
    Smart people on both sides, not better or worse, only demand and supply.

    Hardware development cost can be high and tape out risk even higher. Virtualization also took away a huge amount of demand as you can now rent or buy a lot less.
    May 31 0
  • Cisco
    ()()

    Cisco

    PRE
    AMD
    ()()more
    Both have pros and cons and I am a asic person,
    In the end of the day food on the table is matter. Then everything comes, I ended up in hw only because I got Interest in electronics on my school. If I like ce I might ended up there.
    No one is working for passion if you have been in same industry more than 5 years, you are on this hw/sw field only because you know a bit better about that filed and you don’t like to switch now.
    At lease that’s what I am.
    May 31 0
  • Axon / Eng hfccuu
    Software is a lever, hardware is a fulcrum. It's easier to get a million people to pay $1 than it is to get 1000 people to pay $1000
    May 31 0
  • Broadcom Ltd. Poyayan
    Why is it one better than the other at all?
    May 31 0
  • Umm... HWE are better slaves? Don't need to chop off their feet if they have no better options to run to. Strictly from a management POV.
    May 31 0
  • Apple PlBV44
    Hardware is fun when you have a job!!
    May 31 0
  • Ascension Health ixBN06
    I heard people give away hardware to sell software; scalable upgradable etc
    Jun 3 3
    • Axon / Eng hfccuu
      At microchip, Intel, etc. They give away software to sell hardware
      Jun 3
    • Google / Eng imp0st3r
      Most Amazon products are sold like this. Sell low cost hardawe to get subscription sold.
      Jun 5
    • Ascension Health ixBN06
      At least in the consumer IoT kits: Google >> Amazon. Deepseyes is a rip-off
      Jun 5
  • New / Eng
    hCTJ10

    New Eng

    BIO
    Lead Hardware Engineer at a Coputer vision startup based in the Midwest
    hCTJ10more
    For me building hardware is a lot more fun than writing code (mostly firmware and python scripts for testing). Hardware is hard and is a more expensive to develop and scale so that's challenging. Better? That's very subjective and you'd need to answer that yourself based on your priorities.
    Jun 5 0
  • Google lup
    Because hardware is hard.
    May 31 0
  • Microsoft / Product
    Edge

    Microsoft Product

    PRE
    Microsoft
    Edgemore
    You guys write the code or build the HW that allows our higher level programs to run. Thanks.
    May 31 0
  • Intel JK7
    Coz the weed is strong
    May 31 0
  • Microsoft blinkd182
    Hardware is nice because it gives me the gigaflops I need to write the software of the video games I make.
    May 31 0
  • Ring / Eng aXrq35
    Fwiw, hardware is fun to work with? Sure. Better? Fuck you.

    So, assuming it is better, I do not know why is it better. However, it is certainly cute when it comes from Samsung when I think about it. Too much fun with the hardware, right?.

    So let us just calm the fuck down, coz it is Friday.
    May 31 0

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