Master's in Computer Engineering: Salary and Career Facts

Get information on careers you can pursue with a master's degree in computer engineering. Learn about typical job duties, and get information on average annual salaries. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Computer Engineer?

At the graduate level, you can earn a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE) or Master of Science in Computer Science Engineering (MSCSE) if you wish to work in the computer engineering field. Often, you are required to complete courses in computer architecture that teach you how a computer is constructed. The field of computer engineering is frequently divided into specialties--software engineering, networking and information technology are just a few. Your choice of specialty determines your ultimate course requirements as well as your work requirements once you have settled on a career.

Computer engineers can have a wide variety of duties based on their position but frequently program, design software, analyze a business' IT and networking needs, work directly with clients and manage other employees. The following chart gives you an overview about what you need to know about entering this field.

Computer Software Engineers Computer Hardware Engineers Systems Software Engineers
Degree Required Bachelor's required, master's may be preferred Bachelor's required, master's may be preferred Bachelor's required, master's may be preferred
Key Responsibilities Design computer programs, modify and debug software, troubleshoot code problems and rewrite code Design and construct computer hardware products, create hardware schematics, test new hardware designs Design, test, and upload new software, applications, and/or programs
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17%* (all types of software developers) 3%* (computer hardware engineers) 13%* (software developers, systems software)
Median Salary (2015) $100,690* (all types of software developers) $111,730* (computer hardware engineers) $105,570* (software developers, systems software)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Jobs Can I Find?

A bachelor's degree in computer software engineering is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions in the field, but graduate degrees in software engineering or a related field can be helpful to those who wish to be competitive in the job market. As a software engineer, you work on system software, creating programs that allow individuals to work and play on a computer. In addition to the program design aspect of a software engineer's job, you could be responsible for the installation of software programs. Other focuses include system software, applications development or computer programming.

Hardware engineers build and test computer components, including things like keyboards, routers and printers. states that you might be responsible for identifying and fixing design problems, verifying and validating efficiency and documentation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of computer hardware engineers is expected to grow by three percent between 2014 and 2024.

How Much Can I Earn? notes that your specialization can affect your pay. For example, computer software engineers in 2016 earned a median salary of $34.00 per hour or $80,778 annually. But in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that system software engineers earned an average hourly wage of $52.29, or a medium of $105,570 annually (

In 2015, a computer hardware engineer in a scientific research position earned a median annual wage of $117,650. For those working at a computer system design company, the median annual wage was $112,160 in the same timeframe. The average hourly wage for all computer hardware engineers was $55.27, which is about $114,970 annually.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

Some similar careers related to computer engineering include computer programming and computer and information systems management. Computer programmers generally only need a bachelor's degree in order to obtain a job in their career field. They make a median salary of $60,384 annually and work with clients and other programmers to develop and test software. Computer and information systems managers are responsible for monitoring all computer activity in a company, helping leaders decide when to change or upgrade software and computers while also sticking to a budget or financial plan. Computer and information systems managers make a median annual salary of $131,600 annually and must have at least a bachelor's degree though a master's degree is often preferred.

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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