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Become A Computer Engineer

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Working As A Computer Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $74,442

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Engineer Do

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. These engineers discover new directions in computer hardware, which generate rapid advances in computer technology.

Duties

Computer hardware engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new computer hardware, creating schematics of computer equipment to be built
  • Test the completed models of the computer hardware they design
  • Analyze the test results and modify the design as needed
  • Update existing computer equipment so that it will work with new software
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for computer hardware
  • Maintain knowledge of computer engineering trends and new technology

Many hardware engineers design noncomputer devices that incorporate processors and other computer components and connect to the Internet. For example, many car parts have computer systems embedded in them. Computer hardware engineers also are designing a growing number of medical devices with a computer system and the ability to connect to the Internet.

Computer hardware engineers ensure that computer hardware components work together with the latest software. Therefore, hardware engineers often work with software developers. For example, the hardware and software for a mobile phone frequently are developed jointly. Hardware engineers also may perform some computer programming in a hardware description language (HDL), which describes the digital circuits in hardware. Using this language, computer hardware engineers can simulate how the hardware design would work, test for errors, and then fix the design.

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How To Become A Computer Engineer

Most computer hardware engineers need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited computer engineering program.

Education

Most entry-level computer hardware engineers have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, although a degree in electrical engineering or computer science also is generally acceptable. A computer engineering major is similar to a major in electrical engineering but with a heavy emphasis on computer science.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Employers may prefer students from an accredited program. To prepare for a major in computer or electrical engineering, students should have a solid background in math and science.

Because hardware engineers commonly work with computer software systems, a familiarity with computer programming usually is expected. This background may be obtained through computer science courses.

Some large firms or specialized jobs may require a master’s degree in computer engineering. Some experienced engineers obtain a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). All engineers must continue their learning over the course of their careers in order to keep up with rapid advances in technology.

Other Experience

Some students participate in internships while in school so that they can gain practical experience.

Advancement

Some computer hardware engineers can advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer hardware engineers use computer programming tools to analyze the digital circuits in hardware to determine the best design.

Creativity. Computer hardware engineers design new types of information technology devices.

Critical-thinking skills. These engineers use logic and reasoning to clarify goals, examine assumptions, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to problems.

Problem-solving skills. Computer hardware engineers identify complex problems in computer hardware, develop and evaluate possible solutions, and figure out the best way to implement them.

Speaking skills. Engineers often work on teams and must be able to communicate with other types of engineers as well as with nontechnical team members.

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Computer Engineer jobs

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Real Computer Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Vision Engineer Tangible Play Inc. Palo Alto, CA Jul 27, 2016 $157,477
Computer Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 30, 2015 $156,000
Computer Vision Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 11, 2016 $156,000
Computer Vision Engineer Tangible Play, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 18, 2015 $152,776
Computer Vision Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Oct 26, 2015 $150,000
Computer Vision Engineer Prism Skylabs San Francisco, CA May 06, 2015 $150,000
Computer Vision Engineer Pro Unlimited, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Jun 09, 2016 $145,600
Computer Vision Engineer Polycom, Inc. Burlington, MA Sep 15, 2016 $140,000 -
$160,000
Openxt Advising Computer Engineer Assured Information Security, Inc. Burlington, MA Apr 09, 2016 $140,000
Comp SYS Engineers (Advisory Solutions Principal) EMC Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 14, 2016 $138,600 -
$187,600
Computer Vision Engineer Progyny, Inc. New York, NY Sep 30, 2016 $135,000
Computer Vision Engineer Progyny, Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $135,000
Computer Vision Engineer IOWN, LLC New York, NY Jun 14, 2016 $134,909
Scientific Computing Engineer IV Dart Neuroscience, LLC San Diego, CA Jul 19, 2016 $134,750
Computer Science Engineer Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA Apr 04, 2016 $94,764 -
$132,372
Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering University of Idaho Moscow, ID Aug 14, 2016 $94,500
Computer Systms Engineer Tata Consultancy Services Limited San Jose, CA Oct 01, 2015 $94,000
Comp SYS ENG. (Principal Systems Integration Engineer) EMC Corporation Hopkinton, MA Aug 03, 2015 $93,933 -
$148,950
Computer Vision Engineer Occipital, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 04, 2015 $93,267 -
$105,000
Computer Vision Engineer Digital Signal Corporation Chantilly, VA Sep 01, 2015 $93,000 -
$150,000
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Computer Engineering Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA Jun 16, 2016 $93,000
Computer Vision Engineer Digital Signal Corporation Chantilly, VA Jan 09, 2015 $93,000 -
$150,000
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Engineering Consultant WS Atkins Inc. Houston, TX Feb 11, 2015 $80,517
Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Bradley University Peoria, IL Sep 23, 2016 $80,000
Computer Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 20, 2016 $80,000 -
$156,000
Software Engineer .02 Comp Syst Engineers/Arch) FPT USA Corporation El Segundo, CA Jan 05, 2015 $80,000
Computer Engineer Agreeya Mobility Inc. Frisco, TX Sep 05, 2015 $80,000
Assistant Professor Electrical & Computer Engineering The University of Akron Akron, OH Jan 10, 2015 $80,000
Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Bradley University Peoria, IL Aug 17, 2015 $80,000
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Engineer Deere & Company Dubuque, IA Sep 14, 2016 $80,000 -
$90,000

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Top Skills for A Computer Engineer

ComputerHardwarePCComputerSystemsCustomerServiceLabDataAnalysisPrintersDesktopC/C++LaptopsTroubleshootSetupRemoteWebWindowsXPLinuxSQLInternetActiveDirectoryTechnicalSupport

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Top Computer Engineer Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. PC
  3. Computer Systems
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist with day-to-day problems relating to computer hardware, software implementation, configuration, and local area network issues.
  • Upgrade Phoenix bios on motherboards, troubleshooting, and repair PCs and peripherals.
  • Maintained good working knowledge on the Xerox Sigma 2 and Sigma 7 Computer Systems.
  • Served as a point of contact to different departments at the hotel property on customer service and support issues.
  • Located and interviewed vendors of materials, equipment, or supplies to determine product availability and terms of sales.

Top Computer Engineer Employers

Computer Engineer Videos

Q&A - Computer Science VS Computer Engineering

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Advice from a Computer Engineering (BSCE) student from drkit.org

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