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Computer Engineering

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Career Overview

In the last decade or so, no career has gained as much momentum and potential as computer engineering. Since computer technology is involved in almost every occupation, the opportunities in this field are vast.The discipline of computer engineering itself involves designing, analyzing, and evaluating computer systems either in the hardware engineering or software engineering stream. However, there is often overlap and integration between these two categories of engineering, and even electrical engineering, so a background in all these can be highly beneficial.Computer engineers can create, develop and implement many forms of computer technology for a broadrange of consumer, commercial, industrial and military uses. Some examples of these applications include designing microprocessors, operating systems, and supercomputers.Even computer hardware and software engineering are very broad categories. You can choose to specialize in an occupation within that field as well. For example, within the division of software engineering there are many distinct jobs such as software designer or software testing.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$82,240
247,690
-7.6 %
Washington
$124,900
10,500
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering Bachelor's degree in Computer Science

Most companies require a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a related field, although sometimes a mathematics degree is fine. Internships are highly important in the computer engineering field because it allows you to gain valuable experience and also to keep updated with the current technology. There are rapid changes occurring all the time, so it is important for computer engineers to take the necessary steps to have the current knowledge. It is also highly recommended to have a firm grasp of many of the engineering principles, even if you want to go into a specific computer engineering job. There is also a Ph.D. available in computer engineering for individuals who want to become professors.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Analytical Skills
Creativity & Innovation
Detail-oriented
Problem-Solving Skills
Communication Skills

Career Opportunities

The information technology industry is growing every year and there is a constant need of talented, hard-working individuals who look forward to a tackle a difficult but very rewarding and valuable career.

Hardware Engineers

These professionals research, design, develop and evaluate computer or equipment systems. Keep in mind that not all hardware engineers work in computers. There a many other companies that produce commercial hardware equipment that might be necessary in car assembly lines or hospitals.

Software Developers

A software developer must oversee the entire software development process, from considering its practicality for the customer to directing software programmers to actually produce the program. Then they must thoroughly test the programs to ensure everything is running smoothly, that there are no errors, and that it's user-friendly. Software developers must always be aware of any modifications or upgrades that can be implemented to create a more superior product.

Computer Programmers

These professionals write code to actually create the software programs and correct any errors.

Computer Network Architects

They design and create the data communication networks, including local area networks and intranets. They can build very small, inclusive networks or very large multinational communication networks.

Computer System Analysts

They examine an organization's operating computer system and strategize solutions to allow the organization to function more productively and efficiently.

Database Administrators

They are responsible for securely storing and organizing a company's different data, including financial information and customer shipping records.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

They are responsible for the day-to-day activities of a company's networks.

Work Environment

Software and, to a degree, hardware engineering, is a very cooperative and group effort where there will often be a great deal of interaction between co-workers. Most computer engineers work full-time and there are often deadlines that require you to work longer hours once in a while.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013