Take a sneak peek at the computer systems engineering technology field, and find out what types of careers are available in the field. Learn about employment and potential earnings for computer systems engineering pros here, as well as how much education you'll need to prepare for an entry-level position.
As a computer systems engineer or engineering technician, you'll use your understanding of computer science and electrical engineering to design and develop computer systems. You may also design and manage databases, install software or troubleshoot computer- and network-related problems, such as those found in large corporate operating systems. Computer systems engineering programs can include the study of information and Internet technology, computer hardware and infrastructures, networking and routing. Topics in systems design and integration, automated manufacturing and technical support may also be part of your degree plan.
As a computer systems engineering professional, you might find work in computer design, government research, medical equipment manufacturing or aeronautics. You might hold a position as a computer hardware or network engineer, network security specialist or software developer. You may also find work as a computer support or electronics engineering technician or specialize in information security management or systems security analysis.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer hardware engineers was projected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 7% nationwide from 2012-2022. A faster-than-average growth in jobs of 22% was expected for computer software developers during the same period. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians should see minimal to no change in employment through 2022.
As of May 2013, the mean annual salary for a computer hardware engineer was $106,930, as reported by the BLS. Software developers who specialized in applications or systems software earned $96,260 and $104,480, respectively. In May 2013, the mean annual salary for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $58,770 (www.bls.gov).
A certificate or an associate's degree in computer systems engineering technology is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining a job in this field. Prerequisites include prior coursework in algebra, geometry and physics. Once enrolled in a certificate program, you may study Cisco networking, operating systems, programming and network security. Credits earned through a certificate program may be transferable to an associate's degree in the same field of study.
Associate's degree programs may allow for a specialization in Cisco or Microsoft technology, digital forensics or cybersecurity, and can fulfill the lower-level requirements for a 4-year degree. In a bachelor's degree program in computer engineering technology, you may learn about digital and electrical circuits, analog electronics, computer architecture and networking security. Training in the use of C++ and Java programming languages and software engineering might also be part of the curriculum.
Completion of a bachelor's degree program in computer systems engineering technology or computer engineering may qualify you for a job as a network administrator or support engineer, or as a specialized technologist who works with embedded software. Opportunities in application and automated engineering might also be available. You could also take your education to the next level and pursue a master's degree in telecommunications engineering.
Completion of a certificate or degree program may help you prepare you for an industry certification, such as the CompTIA A+. You may also be interested in the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certifications. Vendor-neutral credentials specific to software engineering can also be found through the IEEE Computer Society.