What Can You Do with a Computer Engineering Degree?

If you want to study computers at college or university, there are two common options available: computer science and computer engineering. While both are similar, there are clear differences between the two. Computer science generally focuses on troubleshooting software-related issues, while computer engineering is centered around the design of hardware and software interfaces.

Due to concentrating on both hardware and software, it’s fair to say that a computer engineering degree opens the door to a wide selection of career paths. Combine it with computer engineering being a dynamic and ever-evolving field, and you could end up working in industries that range from healthcare to aerospace.

For more information about computer engineering, this guide is here to help. The following overview will detail the work involved, the type of career options available, earning potential, and more.

Should I earn a computer engineering major?

To answer this question, it’s important you understand what computer engineering actually entails. Due to the different degree options on offer – including the aforementioned computer science – the work involved with computer engineering can become muddled.

In essence, computer engineering combines electrical engineering and computer science to further advance computer systems, computer networking, and digital technology. With the extensive knowledge of computer programming and software and hardware design they gained from their degree, computer engineers improve the efficiency of computer applications and platforms. They seamlessly integrate the latest innovations to develop new hardware and software while enhancing the competencies of networks and communications systems.

When looking at computer engineering careers, there are two main routes to take: software and hardware engineering. Software engineers produce, test, and debug applications and programs that run on computers and mobile devices. Hardware engineers, on the other hand, design circuit boards, routers, microprocessors, and other computer-based components.

Ultimately, computer engineers utilize innovation to make computer systems faster, safer, and more powerful. If you have a passion for computer systems and developing them for the future, computer engineering is a great subject to study.

What can I do with a computer engineering degree?

Once you are armed with a computer engineering major, there are many possibilities in terms of a career route to take. There is a specialized field for any computer-related interest, from aircraft design and operating systems to wireless networks and robotics. Common employers for computer engineer majors include technology manufacturers, research laboratories, digital consulting firms, and semiconductor companies.

Assuming it is a bachelor’s, below are some common examples of jobs with a computer engineering degree:

Computer software engineer

A software engineer will develop, design, and implement software solutions. Their work includes operation feasibility testing, which ensures the software functions correctly before being installed. A computer software engineer also supplies operational information, carries out systems analysis, and regularly checks the performance of the software.

Computer hardware engineer

A hardware engineer focuses on designing, testing, and maintaining computer hardware and equipment. Schematics are created by them for computer systems, and they also make sure all hardware and software components are integrated correctly. Hardware design is tested to ensure its performance is maximized and identify any errors existing within the hardware.

Network engineer

A network engineer’s work revolves around communication network systems, primarily on their installation and maintenance. Networks are designed and configured. The performance of a network is regularly monitored, with any bugs or issues reported – alongside assisting with their resolution.

Systems analyst

A systems analyst focuses on existing systems within an organization. They’re tasked with improving the performance of these systems, with the overall goal of boosting productivity. Their work includes evaluating IT systems, detecting issues, and implementing developments to these systems.

Database administrator

A database administrator is responsible for both the security and smooth operation of databases. They first identify the needs of clients and follow this up by designing and developing databases that match their requirements.

What type of computer engineering salary can I expect?

With so many different career paths available, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint a median income for computer engineering. With that said, this type of work is known for providing a generous salary to employees.

As an example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to computer hardware engineers earning an average annual wage of $117,220. While not quite at the same level, the bureau also states the median pay for database administrators is a healthy $93,750 per year.

Salaries for jobs relating to computer engineering differ depending on roles, regions, industries, experience, and qualifications.

What is the demand for computer engineers?

The world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology and its advancements. As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that computer engineers are generally in demand. Computer engineering is responsible for 38% of all technology professionals currently employed. This percentage is split 27% for hardware, 11% for software.

Yet despite the larger swing in hardware’s favor, software looks to be the safer bet when it comes to employment in the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is anticipating that, between 2019 and 2029, software developers will experience a huge 22% increase in job opportunities. During the same time period, computer hardware engineer positions are expected to drop slightly by 2%.

Whether it’s massive investments in technology start-ups by venture capitalists or due to the increased demand for mobile technology, the requirement for computer engineers across the board isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.

How do I pick the right college?

You’ve settled on computer engineering for your future. Now it is time to pick the right college – a decision that is undoubtedly more difficult to make. At least, that is the case if you don’t have the support of CampusReel.

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