If computers fascinate you to the point that you have been labeled a computer geek in school then a career as a computer engineer could be in your future. A very broad profession, computer engineers deal with virtually everything about computers. You get to develop, implement, test and integrate hardware and software programs. Your job can even include designing and testing the gadgets and devices that host the computers and software programs. In addition, you could also be called upon to design and build networks linking computer systems.
Aside from possessing a highly technical knowledge and understanding about computers, you also need to be very analytical inasmuch as you will have to determine the needs of your customers or clients to come up with the appropriate hardware or software design. Since you will be collaborating with programmers, developers and testers, you also need to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and be a team player.
Why Become A Computer Engineer
Computers have become an integral part of our lives. It will continue to be so in the future. The continued use of computers is one good reason to become a computer engineer. The satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are one of those responsible for developing cutting edge technological innovations that the rest of the world will use is also priceless. It’s also a very lucrative profession, whether your focus is on hardware or software.
Computer Engineer Work Environment
Computer engineers normally work fulltime. They can carry out their jobs in the office or a laboratory following a regular schedule. Computer hardware engineers generally work in high-tech manufacturing companies, usually in their research laboratories where they build and test different kinds of computer models. Software developers, on the other hand, are usually employed by software publishers or computer systems design and related services companies. They usually work in an office environment, often with other members of the team. It is common for them to work long hours.
Computer Engineer Salary
A career as a computer engineer is very lucrative. According to the May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer hardware engineers received a mean annual wage of $106,930. Applications software developers and systems software developers received mean annual wages of $96, 260 and $104,480, respectively.
Computer Engineer Career Outlook
There is a mixed job outlook for computer engineers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that from 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of computer hardware engineers is pegged at 7 percent, a rate that is slower than the average for other job types. However, this will be offset by the strong outlook for those focused in software. In that same ten-year period, the employment of software developers is set to grow at 22 percent, a rate that is faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will come from the increased use of mobile technology as well as the need stemming from the healthcare industry’s shift towards computer systems and applications. Growing concerns over computer security will also spur the need for developers to come up with security software.
Computer Engineer Degree
Computer engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. Courses covered in these programs generally include systems analysis, database design and technical writing. Knowledge of coding will also come in handy. Bigger firms usually require a master’s degree in computer engineering.