Computer Engineer Occupational Outlook

Computer engineers require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree requirements as well as the salary projections and employment statistics to see if this is the right career for you.

Computer engineers use their knowledge and technical proficiency to advance computer technology. Their job options are diverse, and they can work in many industries. A bachelor's degree is usually required.

Essential Information

Computer engineers design, test and create new computer systems and components. They may have many career opportunities that pay competitive salaries, provided they have the proper training. Individuals interested in this field may select either a systems or application concentration.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering or computer science
Projected Job Growth 3% from 2014-2024 for all computer hardware engineers*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $111,730 for all computer hardware engineers*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Computer Engineers

Computer engineers create the technologies that facilitate computers such as systems, networks and artificial intelligence. This field is versatile and professionals can work for industries in telecommunications, software technology or digital hardware. As with all engineering disciplines, computer engineers use mathematics and science to solve a variety of technical problems. Due to the constant advancements in computer technology, these engineers must be able to adapt to changes.

Computer Engineering Fields

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer engineers are divided into two categories: applications engineers and systems engineers ( Individuals in the applications sector develop and modify computer applications to meet a need. Engineers in the systems sector configure and maintain an organization's computer operational systems, which may include intranets and other networks.

Educational Requirements

Most jobs require a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a related field. Computer engineering programs include sequences in calculus and physics, in additional to courses in computer programming. Advanced coursework may explore topics in electrical engineering, such as circuits, digital systems and signal processing. Aside from lectures and discussions, students may be required to enroll in computer lab courses in which they use computers to analyze data and generate models.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS noted that overall employment of computer hardware engineers was expected to grow 3% between 2014 and 2024. Those who have graduated from an accredited bachelor's degree program and who hold experience with computer software should see the greatest opportunities. In May 2015, the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $111,730. The BLS also reported that software applications developers earned median salaries of $98,260, while those in the systems sector received median salaries of $105,570 annually.

Computer engineers perform complex technical functions, such as designing new hardware, testing systems, and analyzing software requirements. They are usually required to have a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a related field. Job growth is expected to be slow in this field over the next few years, so education and experience is important.

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