Computer engineers deal with the electronic hardware part of electrical engineering and the programming side of computer science. Computer engineering has evolved into its own discipline that focuses on software, hardware and the integration of the two. Computer engineering students explore operating systems, microprocessors, digital signal processing, computer architecture and much more. This is combined with the study of fundamental concepts related to engineering.
Becoming a Computer Engineer
There are several different programs available to those seeking a career as a computer engineer. You can get your Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certificate, an associate's degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology. It's worth noting that a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 80 percent of those employed as computer engineers had at least a bachelor's degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science. Students can expect critical thinking, mathematics, database design and technical writing to be large areas of focus while obtaining their computer engineering degree.
Students in high school should load up on courses like English, algebra, science, biology, chemistry and physics, along with any computer and electronics course that are available.
Due to the high level of competition for jobs, it's often best to start out with an internship, so the opportunities for this should be heavily considered before selecting the program you wish to enroll in. You can further bolster your career opportunities by obtaining a Master's of Science in Computer Engineering or even a doctorate.
Computer Engineering Careers
Those who succeed as computer engineers have strong analytical skills and must be able to multitask. Having the ability to communicate complex concepts in nontechnical terms is also a big asset for dealing with customers or clients.
Computer engineering jobs are available in software, hardware, integration and human interaction with the two, which allows for many different career options. Graduates can find work building out software, hardware and even robotics. Computer hardware engineer jobs in particular are expected to increase at an above-average rate due to rapid employment growth plus the increase in embedded systems in appliances and mobile phones.
Computer Engineering Salary
Computer engineers enjoy median earnings of $80,000 a year, with top computer engineers earning up to $120,000 per year. The highest earners are those with a proven track record and experience related directly to their position.