Computer Engineer

Design and build computers.
picture of Computer Engineer

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$42,000 – $118,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Computer Engineers do?

Computer Engineers create amazing machines: computers. A little box that’s full of technological miracles, the average PC instantaneously processes, stores, retrieves, and interprets millions of pieces of data every second of every day in order to connect users with digital information in the form of words, numbers, pictures, sounds, and videos. If that sounds impressive, you can just imagine the processing power of the Computer Engineer who created it!

As a Computer Engineer, you’re a veritable Einstein of electronics. You’re paid to design computers and computer systems in the same way that Architectural Engineers design buildings, Civil Engineers bridges, and Mechanical Engineers motors. That is, you use your knowledge of math and science to design physical things that solve practical problems — in this case, computing problems, such as speed, storage, and stability.

Typically, you specialize in either computer hardware or computer software. If you’re a Computer Hardware Engineer, you’re paid to design the computers themselves, including all of the components that go inside them, such as microprocessors, circuit boards, and computer chips. If you’re a Computer Software Engineer, on the other hand, you’re paid to design the software that makes computers work, including operating systems, computer games, and business applications.

Either way, your job — a cross between that of a Computer Scientist and that of an Electrical Engineer — is to understand what computers do, how computers are built, and what makes computers work, then to design new versions of hardware and software that result in computers that work better, stronger, smarter, and faster.


Should I be a Computer Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: Requirements Engineer, SQA Engineer

    How to become a Computer Engineer

    Most Computer Engineers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aata9h&chl=||certificate+%2822%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2870%25%29|master%27s+%289%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,70
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