Nature of Work:
Computer engineers are the minds behind today’s computer hardware, software, and information technology systems. Computer engineers use their background in computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematical analysis to design, develop, test, and evaluate various forms of computer technology. They must plan and produce computing devices that function both efficiently and economically. Computer engineers design and test hardware such as computer chips, keyboards, and circuit boards by combining physical and theoretical aspects of engineering and computer science. They also use software programming in programming languages such as C, C++, and Java to work on application development based on a user’s needs. Often times a computer engineer will work in a team to comprise engineering, marketing, manufacturing, and design of a finished product.
Training and Qualifications: Computer engineers must combine strong problem solving and analytical skills with effective communication skills on an everyday basis. To become a computer engineer, one must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science. For more complex analytical tasks, employers often hire workers with higher-level graduate degrees in these fields. Professional certification for computer engineers is offered by the Institute of Certification of Computing Professionals. As technological advances continue, computer engineers must continually update their skills through various seminars.
Job Outlook: Computer engineers are increasingly employed in most industries but are primarily concentrated in the computer and data processing services industry. The computer data and processing services industry includes firms that develop and produce prepackaged software and firms that provide contractual computer services. Computer engineers held about 300,000 jobs in 2000. Many computer engineers work in other industries including government agencies, colleges and universities, financial firms, and electronic companies. Many computer engineers are contract workers or self-employed as consultants. Computer engineering is one of the fastest growing job markets in the world as computer technology becomes increasingly prominent in almost all industries. Robotics is another field that employs computer engineers and is rapidly growing.
Potential Earnings: Computer engineers with at least a bachelor’s degree have higher starting salaries than most other fields. Starting salaries for computer engineers ranged from $55,000 to $80,000. BLS data show full-time computer engineers earn a median of nearly $62,000. The middle 50% earned between $46,240 and $80,500. The lowest 10% earned less than $37,150, and the