Computer engineering is a field of study that combines training in electrical engineering and computer science. It works with science and technology in the design, development, implementation, and management of computer systems and electronic equipment hardware and software components. Those pursuing a computer engineering degree receive hands-on, in-depth knowledge of how computer hardware, software, and networking systems work as well as how these systems all integrate in todayâ€™s enterprises. This field dates back to the early â€™80s when the modern idea of computers emerged, giving room to design and develop hardware and software. Since then, computer engineering has been an ever-evolving field.Â
Before now, computer engineering was subdivided into:Â
- Computer software engineering
- Computer hardware engineering
But now, it has evolved into specialized units like computer architecture, cybersecurity, networking, and mobile computing.
Computer software engineering
Computer software engineering is robustly based on computing theories and principles. These are applied when designing computer networks, devices, and processes to solve technological problems.
Computer hardware engineering
Computer hardware engineering is specialized in designing the physical peripherals of a computer like microprocessors and circuit boards, helping to input the set of theories and principles. It will always be essential to be smaller and quicker, as consumers expect this sector to improve.
This category of computer engineering deals with data transfer and management. The need to move information faster has migrated the use of wired computing systems to wireless, making almost everything able to connect to the internet. It can be applied in practically every area of life: medical to infrastructural gadgets. Computer engineers usually select either the RF-discipline for the wireless field or conventional cable networking, but it’s possible to major in both.
Those in computer architecture decide the original design of projects, providing the foundations for complex solutions to future problems. In architecture and processing, theories and analysis centered on knowledge used to construct algorithms are the most common fields. It is also employed in robotics preparation and creation to develop robots that foster an easy life.
Mobile computing and distributed systems
In this field, engineers establish integrated computer and communication environments and access to information. Examples include cellular networks with open platforms, flexible resource management on diverse systems, increased service quality in mobile and ATM settings, work on wireless networking systems, and fast-wired Ethernet clusters.
As vital information is transferred, the need to protect the workspace and enhance the security of sensitive information becomes paramount, making cybersecurity a significant facet of computer engineering. This set of engineers is responsible for writing and designing firewalls and antiviruses that help protect the computer from malicious wares and hackers.Â
Computer Engineering Degree & Job Checklist
Jump to a topic in this article:
- Top Schools for Computer Engineering
- Where Do Computer Engineers Work and in What Roles?
- What Do Computer Engineers Work On After Graduating?
- Typical Job Duties and Responsibilities
- Average Salary
Some of the top schools for pursuing a computer engineering degree include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Computer engineers can expect to graduate with skills and extensive knowledge of computers and electronics, technology and engineering, design, mathematics, and physics that make them highly marketable and command one of the higher average starting salaries for a computer or engineering-specific degree.
Computer engineering degree holders often land positions in enterprises as software engineers or programmers, software developers, or project managers. Computer engineers benefit from a wide range of industries including computer manufacturers, financial services, defense contractors, consulting, manufacturing, consumer goods, and transportation.
Computer engineers are sometimes referred to as IT engineers, systems engineers, computer hardware engineers, or computer software engineers, depending on their industry and area of specialization.
Webopedia’s Top 10
As far as what tasks and projects a computer engineer can expect to work on in their jobs, computer engineers typically use their technical knowledge and problem-solving skills to build, test, refine, and improve computer components and systems.
Computer engineers may find themselves developing or integrating memory devices, computer processors, custom integrated circuits, complete computer systems, or networks. They also regularly test and solve issues that occur in computer hardware components and the software that runs on computer systems.
Depending on their role or industry, computer engineers may also be involved in building computer-based systems embedded in cars, planes, phones, smart home appliances, and more.
Typical Job Duties and Responsibilities
Working in the role of computer engineers allows people to work efficiently with minimal supervision for specific projects. You are assured to remain a top candidate with a qualification in computer engineering, in addition to practical experience and professional career training.
Many online job ads highlight the following essential skills, responsibilities, and work demands when applying for the positions that require a degree in computer engineering:
- Develop computer algorithms and advanced systems
- Design and develop scripts and tools for integration deployments
- Maintain monitoring systems to ensure high availability
- Automation of provisioning of internal and cloud infrastructure
- Design and develop scripts and tools for integration and deployments
- Work closely with the development team in supporting infrastructure requests
- Average Salary for computer engineers
- Create and maintain runbook, technical and operational documents
- Research, develop and prototype advanced hardware and software technologies
- Apply machine learning to computer vision problems
- Conceive proof-of-concept prototypes
- Analyze and improve efficiency, scalability, and stability of various deployed systems
Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor in 2020 show that an average computer engineer earned an annual salary of at least $135,280 per year, which is equivalent to a monthly salary of $11,273.3. Fields like computer system analysis have the prospect of 24.5% growth rate by 2022.Â
When reviewing online ads, related job titles for individuals with a degree in computer engineering may include the following:
- Computer Engineer
- Computer and Information System Manager
- Computer Vision Engineer
- Computer Applications Engineer
- Web developer
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Computer Software Engineer
- Computer Science Engineer
- Computer System Analyst
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Computer Network Architect
- Computer programmer
- Software Application Developer
- Information Security Analyst