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Become A Computer Engineer

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Working As A Computer Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $80,774

    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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Do you work as a Computer Engineer?

Computer Engineer Jobs

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Computer Engineer Career Paths

Computer Engineer
Senior Engineer Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Professional Services
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Software Development Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Technician Engineer Principal Engineer
Director, Hardware Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Technical Director Vice President Of Engineering
Senior Vice President, Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Specialist Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Specialist Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Operations Manager Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Computer Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Computer Analyst 3.2 years
Systems Engineer 3.1 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.4%
Engineer 4.3%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.7%
Manager 4.3%
Owner 3.8%
Engineer 3.5%
Technician 2.8%

Do you work as a Computer Engineer?

Computer Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.6%

Female

14.4%

Unknown

5.0%
Ethnicity

White

51.4%

Asian

15.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

10.6%

Unknown

7.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.0%

French

17.2%

Chinese

9.4%

Arabic

9.4%

Mandarin

7.8%

Russian

4.7%

Italian

4.7%

German

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Persian

3.1%

Carrier

3.1%

Portuguese

1.6%

Bulgarian

1.6%

Turkish

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Venetian

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Computer Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.4%

University of Central Florida

7.9%

West Virginia University

6.5%

George Mason University

5.8%

Drexel University

5.0%

Strayer University

5.0%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.3%

Polytechnic Institute of New York University

4.3%

Purdue University

4.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.3%

Liberty University

4.3%

Johns Hopkins University

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

Florida International University

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.6%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.6%

University of Southern California

3.6%

San Jose State University

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Engineering

28.0%

Computer Science

17.2%

Electrical Engineering

15.8%

Business

7.3%

Information Technology

4.1%

Computer Networking

3.6%

Computer Information Systems

3.5%

Engineering

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.5%

Information Systems

2.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Mathematics

1.5%

Management Information Systems

1.4%

Project Management

1.4%

Computer Engineering Technology

1.4%

Computer Technical Support

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.1%

Systems Engineering

1.0%

Aerospace Engineering

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Masters

26.5%

Other

16.2%

Associate

7.1%

Doctorate

3.8%

Certificate

3.0%

Diploma

2.0%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
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Internship
Temporary

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 Jan 08, 2016 $135,000
Computer Vision Engineer Progyny, Inc. New York, NY Sep 30, 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 Vision Engineer Second Spectrum, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 24, 2015 $99,798
Computer Vision Engineer Occipital, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 07, 2016 $98,866 -
$107,000
Staff ENG. Soft/Comp. Engineering Automated Logic Corporation Kennesaw, GA Aug 04, 2015 $98,821 -
$107,000
Computer Engineer Tentmaker Systems Consulting Group Milpitas, CA Aug 22, 2015 $98,488
Computer Engineer Innovative Electronics Group Pittsburgh, PA Mar 18, 2016 $97,594
Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer Hanbon-Mi II, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Aug 18, 2015 $97,108
Lead Computer Vision Engineer Hivemapper, Inc. Burlingame, CA Aug 18, 2016 $96,866
Computer Aided Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Gloucester, MA Jun 19, 2015 $96,616 -
$116,600
Computer Engineer/Architect II Pivotal Dimension, Inc. Burlington, MA Jun 09, 2016 $80,000 -
$110,000
Computer Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 20, 2016 $80,000 -
$156,000
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Engineer Deere & Company Dubuque, IA Sep 14, 2016 $80,000 -
$90,000
Computer Engineer Agreeya Mobility Inc. Frisco, TX Sep 05, 2015 $80,000
Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Engineer Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI May 18, 2015 $79,766 -
$109,740
Computer Engineer Data Physics Corporation San Jose, CA Sep 16, 2016 $78,739

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Top Skills for A Computer Engineer

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  1. Computer
  2. Windows XP
  3. PC
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supported development and implementation of new computer projects and new hardware installations.
  • Deployed over 400 brand new Dell GX150 PC's with MS Windows XP and MS Office 2003.
  • Assisted users of IBM mainframe/VAX Cluster/PCs with computing needs in manufacturing environment covering hardware/software issues.
  • Key Achievements included: * Successfully managed and completed numerous projects simultaneously and within high-pressure situations, ensuring outstanding customer service.
  • Implemented corporate standard desktop based on management specifications.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Engineers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Maryland
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Alabama
  6. District of Columbia
  7. New York
  8. Colorado
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Arizona
  • (13,288 jobs)
  • (3,471 jobs)
  • (2,888 jobs)
  • (475 jobs)
  • (795 jobs)
  • (772 jobs)
  • (3,295 jobs)
  • (2,065 jobs)
  • (2,877 jobs)
  • (1,071 jobs)

Top Computer Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Computer Engineer Employers

Computer Engineer Videos

Q&A - Computer Science VS Computer Engineering

What Is Computer Engineering?

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

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