Computer Engineering Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a degree in computer engineering. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education information. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Career Options for Computer Engineering Graduates?

A degree in computer engineering allows people to pursue jobs in which they design computer hardware and networks. Computer hardware engineers design and test computer hardware. Depending on how well hardware performs they may also modify hardware designs. They may also oversee the production of hardware, modifying hardware to fit specific computer systems and keep up with technology trends. Computer network architects design and install computer network systems. They may upgrade network hardware, install network security and be knowledgeable of the best network components on the market. Below is a table outlining some possible career options for people with a degree in computer engineering.

Computer Hardware Engineers Computer Network Architects
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Computer engineering, electrical engineering or computer science Computer science, information systems or engineering
Key Responsibilities Manufacture computer chips, device controllers or other electronic components Build and test computer networks and hardware compatibility
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% 9%
Median Salary (2015)* $111,730 $100,240

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect to Learn as a Computer Engineering Major?

As you pursue a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, you'll typically be required to complete a number of courses in mathematics and science before declaring your major. Within the professional program, you'll find that it is not uncommon for computer engineering to be grouped into specific sub-topics, such as hardware engineering, software engineering and systems programming.

For individuals interested in learning to build and repair computers, the hardware concentration includes the study of computer programming languages and introduction to electronic engineering. Other common lessons include the structure of several types of computers and the relationship between the components of a computer and its system programming. Most degree programs require that students complete a capstone project or thesis to demonstrate their knowledge of issues in computer engineering.

What Careers Can I Qualify For?

Hardware engineers are responsible for the design and testing of computer equipment, ensuring compatibility with operating systems and other software applications. A hardware engineer may be involved in the manufacturing of computer chips, device controllers or other components. Computer engineering has as much to do with software as hardware, and graduates may pursue a career as a software engineer. Software engineers are generally familiar with several programming languages, using them to improve operating systems, applications and communication standards. Other common employment options include:

  • Network architect
  • Telecommunications engineer
  • Systems security administrator
  • Technical innovations expert
  • Wireless network specialist
  • Medical equipment designer

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that over 146,600 computer network architects were employed in 2015 compared to 75,870 computer hardware engineers (www.bls.gov). In that same year the median salary for computer hardware engineers was $111,730, while computer network architects took home a median salary of $100,240. The BLS reported that the majority of hardware and software engineers worked for firms offering technical design services.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer and information research scientists, computer and information systems managers and computer programmers are a few careers related to those of computer hardware engineers and computer network architects. With either a doctoral or professional degree in computer science, computer and information research scientists study new uses for current computer technology, as well as invent new tech. Information systems managers usually have a bachelor's degree in a computer or information related field. They are typically responsible for determining the information technology needs of an organization and organizing projects to meet those needs. With an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science, computer programmers write and test computer code for computer software.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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