The Ultimate Guide For Pursuing a Computer Engineering Degree
Gain a comprehensive understanding of the career prospects and educational paths that open up with a Computer Engineering Degree. With this guide, you’ll quickly learn how to select the perfect option for your needs and budget.
Launching into a career in the ever-evolving world of computer & technology requires an ongoing challenge, yet it can be enriching; it all starts with enrolling in the right degree program.
Enrolling in a Computer Engineering Degree Program is the perfect step for your future if you are inclined to logical thinking, accompanied by an intense love of programming and robotics. With this degree under your belt, you’ll surely set yourself up for success!
Computer engineering started as an electrical engineering specialization before developing into a new discipline. As initially defined, it applied aspects of digital logic design from computer science to the creation of microprocessors and technological systems. As the field grew, computer engineering continued to adopt design fundamentals and theories from computer science, becoming what it is today- one of the fastest-growing Computer & Technology fields in the world.
Ready to take your tech aptitude to the next level?
Here is all the intel you need to get started on a transformative Computer Engineering degree.
What is a Computer Engineering Degree?
Enter the field of Computer Engineering with a well-rounded education, covering operating systems, computer architecture, networking and communication technologies, robotics & automation technology alongside artificial intelligence (AI), and computer-aided design.
Computer Engineering is a program designed to meet the rapidly expanding demand for engineers with strong design skills in this fast-evolving world of technology. The three focus areas include real-time computing systems, communication and computing networks, and VLSI design/fabrication.
This all-encompassing degree combines elements of electrical engineering and computer science to create hardware and software systems used in computers.
With a degree in computer engineering, you could go on an exciting career path within the tech industry where your creativity can be used while also earning a generous salary.
What are the Computer Engineering Degree levels?
Whether you are a new student, a seasoned professional, or are changing careers, computer engineering degrees offer multiple pathways to meet your needs.
Computer engineering offers five remarkable opportunities for academic excellence, allowing you to reach new heights in your studies. – Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate Degrees. Each of these degrees accommodates various backgrounds and supports different career goals.
Learn more about each degree level below and determine which best suits your needs and interests.
Associate in Computer Engineering
An associate degree in computer engineering is a great way to start your academic journey. You will gain an essential understanding of core concepts that will equip you with the knowledge base necessary to acquire entry-level jobs or pursue higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree.Generally speaking, those seeking to pursue a career in computer engineering can complete an Associate Program within two years, amounting to 60 credits.
Having earned their degree, you can enter the field with positions such as tech support officials, information technology professionals, quality assurance personnel, junior programmers, and systems administrators.
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Placement tests (such as SAT or ACT)
Bachelor's in Computer Engineering
Earning a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering can be achieved in four years and requires approximately 120 credits.
This degree will position you to take on entry-level computer engineering roles, such as hardware design and system integration. With the knowledge acquired through your studies, you’ll be ready to embark upon a successful career in technology.
Computer engineering bachelor’s degrees can include internships, practicums, and work-study placements – all of which vary in necessity. Specific programs make these aspects optional, while others necessitate them.
- High school diploma or equivalent
- An academic background in physics, chemistry, and mathematics
- Recent SAT or ACT scores
Master's in Computer Engineering
Investing in your future with a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering could be the key to achieving greater financial rewards and professional success. Students typically need to spend 1-3 years of full-time study on top of completing their undergraduate degree requirements. Achieving this advanced level of education will undoubtedly open doors previously closed to you.
Your final semester of your Master’s in Computer Engineering is a remarkable opportunity to merge the theoretical and practical. Utilize this time wisely by completing an essential work placement that allows you to apply all the knowledge acquired throughout your studies!
- A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or other directly related fields
- GRE scores function as common requirements
- Schools may request supporting documentation, such as resumes, statements of purpose, and/or letters of recommendation
Ph.D. in Computer Engineering
Earning a doctoral degree in computer engineering is the highest achievable level of study within this field. With these advanced degrees, those aspiring to become professors or research scientists have a highly sought advantage. In addition, the enhanced qualifications can give job seekers a leg up when applying for positions with potential employers.
This prestigious and unique study program typically takes between three to six years, depending on the educational institution and individual’s background. It encompasses comprehensive coursework, rigorous exams that test one’s mastery in their area of expertise, and a culminating dissertation project that should present groundbreaking findings.
- Master’s degree in computer engineering or a related field
- GRE scores and letters of recommendation.
- Professional work experience is preferred
However, if earning a full degree is not your goal, then consider obtaining a Certificate in Computer Engineering – the perfect option for you.
Certificate programs usually take less time to complete than a degree — usually a year or less, and focus on developing foundational skills in crucial areas like computer architecture, networking, or object-oriented programming.
Disclaimer: The entry requirements for a degree in Computer Engineering may vary depending on the university and state. However, here we have outlined the general qualifications that are frequently asked for.
What types of specialties and concentrations can you find in Computer Engineering Degree programs?
Computer engineering degrees offer the opportunity to explore various specialties and concentrations that can lead to exciting new career paths.
From computer systems specialization focusing on software engineering fundamentals to artificial intelligence concentration enabling students to gain proficiency in deep learning neural networks—the choices are diverse but specific enough so that you can choose the right specialty depending on your interests!
Before deciding, it is crucial to investigate the various specializations and concentrations available.
Here, we will review some of the most common concentrations in Computer Engineering Degree Programs.
The specialization in Computer Systems provides an in-depth perspective on advanced topics of dynamic, dependable, distributed computer systems. The field focuses on the design, implementation, and performance analysis of reliable, secure, and scalable computer systems.
Through this specialization, you will gain a comprehensive insight into the dynamics of computer networking and its numerous applications.
Networking, Mobile, and Distributed Computing
Immerse yourself in this specialization and explore the world of wireless communications, mobile device architectures, distributed computing paradigms, application development frameworks, web services technologies, security protocols for networks, and more.
If you specialize in this area, expect to learn how to design and develop networked applications specifically designed for mobile devices.
Big Data Analytics and Systems
This specialization focuses on analyzing large datasets to extract meaningful insights from them. It covers topics such as data mining algorithms, predictive analytics techniques, data visualization methods, machine learning algorithms, big data storage solutions, and more.
By specializing in this area, you will acquire the skills to leverage big data analytics tools and detect hidden patterns within colossal datasets. Moreover, you’ll understand how these discoveries can be incorporated into organizational decision-making procedures.
Artificial Intelligence is a revolutionary branch of computer engineering that can program machines with unparalleled problem-solving abilities.
AI specialists are tasked with creating innovative algorithms for machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and robotics, as well as implementing intelligent systems.
With a comprehensive knowledge of artificial intelligence, you’ll be able to create applications that can address genuine issues and enhance our lives significantly.
Through this specialization, you’ll learn how to control robots with different programming languages and external controllers and understand how robots interact with physical environments and other machines through sensing capabilities.
You will cover topics such as autonomous robotics programming languages, sensors & actuators principles, embedded system architectures, motion planning & control algorithms, operating system concepts for robotics platforms, and more.
Courses & Curriculum in Computer Engineering Degrees
With so many courses and curriculum available for computer engineering degrees, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what classes you should take but knowing your options beforehand can help you plan your studies better moving forward.
Although the curriculum can differ from school to school, here is an overview of the most common courses while obtaining a computer engineering degree.
Fundamentals of programming
Fundamentals of programming is often the first-course students must take when pursuing a degree in computer engineering.
Dive into the world of programming with this comprehensive course! You’ll become well-versed in foundational topics such as data types, variables, control structures, and functions. Plus, you will be exposed to more complex concepts like classes and object-oriented design using languages like C++ and Java.
By the end of this course, you’ll have a firm grasp of how to write programs for any project!
Circuit theory is a core subject in computer engineering that deals with analyzing electrical circuits and understanding their components.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to electrical engineering concepts, from basics like the voltage, current, and resistance to more intricate subjects such as AC circuit analysis.
You’ll build your understanding of electronics through step-by-step guidance and hands-on practice activities with capacitance and inductance components.
System architecture is a course usually featured in specialized bachelor’s programs or in core curricula of master’s programs that focuses on the design, evaluation, and refinement of high-performance computer systems.
This course also provides insight into low-level details regarding how these components interact to make up a complete system allowing students to develop their problem-solving skills in creating solutions for complex issues that arise during system development.
Hardware: Systems Design and Modeling
Hardware systems design looks at constructing physical computing devices from scratch using various components available in the market, such as transistors or microprocessors, while modeling uses software tools like MATLAB or LabVIEW to simulate circuits virtually before construction can take place in reality.
This course will help you understand how they can go from concept to production while considering factors like power consumption or signal noise when designing electronic components that make up modern computing devices today.
Introduction to Algorithms
The introduction to algorithms is a course that will give you the basics of algorithm analysis techniques for solving computer science problems. This course is usually taken during the later semesters of an associate degree program or in the first two years of their bachelor’s
You will learn how to analyze the time complexity of algorithms by using big-O notation and mastering different types of sorting algorithms, such as insertion sort or merge sort.
On-campus vs. Hybrid vs. Online Computer Engineering Degrees
Depending on your financial plan, lifestyle choices, proximity to educational institutions that offer the courses you need for your degree program, and how much time and effort you’re willing to invest into pursuing a computer engineering degree – it’s entirely up to you as an individual if obtaining this qualification should be done in-person at college campuses or via online modules or with hybrid learning.
Before committing to a final decision, it is critical that you fully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each potential choice.
Let us delve deep into them to make an informed decision.
Computer Engineering On-Campus Program
Obtaining a computer engineering degree on campus provides unique educational opportunities. This program will give you practical experience with cutting-edge technologies and access to specialized resources and labs.
Also, there is a massive benefit from face-to-face interaction with experienced faculty members who are experts in their field and gain an understanding of the complexities of computer engineering. Additionally, you will have a unique opportunity to build connections with your peers in class and refine your problem-solving abilities through collaborative projects.
This program is undeniably advantageous, yet it comes with a hefty price tag regarding tuition and associated expenses like accommodation and commuting to your campus.
Computer Engineering Hybrid Program
A hybrid computer engineering program offers the best of both worlds; you can attend some classes on-campus while participating in others online.
This offers more flexibility, granting you the chance to participate in different school activities and extracurriculars and more free time to participate in other fun events!
However, hybrid programs can demand more organization since they involve managing both online and physical classes during the school year. Moreover, virtual options may be more costly than these courses because you must add travel costs for commuting from home to school for face-to-face engagements.
Computer Engineering Online Program
As technology progresses, colleges are now offering students the ability to acquire a computer engineering degree online. If you can’t study in a traditional on-campus format or have other time constraints, this is the perfect program for you.
You can attend lectures and even complete lab simulations with flexibility from anywhere in the world with an internet connection – making obtaining an education more efficient than ever before.
Also, online programs cost less than on-campus and hybrid programs since students avoid campus-based fees and expenses associated with commuting.
The only downside is that it may be harder to form connections with colleagues or professors and you may lack access to laboratory equipment.
What to consider when choosing a Computer Engineering Degree?
Choosing the right computer engineering degree and committing yourself fully to any institution or program requires careful consideration, given all the factors involved. Taking your time and researching upfront can ensure that you select a great school that fits your academic goals and financial needs! With this information, you will feel confident moving forward with choosing your perfect fit!
To ensure you reap the full benefits of this crucial stage in your academic career, below are some essential factors to consider.
First and foremost, when searching for a computer engineering program, ensure that it is accredited with national or regional accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to vocational and technical schools, while regional accreditation applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. This is essential as attending an unaccredited school could leave you with a degree that employers or other educational institutions may not recognize in the future.
The best computer engineering programs maintain accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the premier organization for setting educational and professional standards in the discipline.
2. Course Options
When researching potential computer engineering programs, check out what courses are offered and if any specializations are available within the major. Additionally, look into any minors or certificates associated with the degree, as these may provide additional knowledge or skills for your studies and career paths. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting all of the coursework necessary for success in your field from your chosen institution.
3. Program Flexibility
Computer engineering programs vary in how much flexibility they offer students regarding scheduling classes and pursuing internships or research opportunities at school. Some programs allow students to take part-time classes while others require full-time attendance; some might even offer hybrid courses where students attend classes on-campus but complete assignments online from home or wherever they work. Additionally, many programs will require the completion of internships before graduation, so inquire about this opportunity before committing to a specific school or program.
4. Job Placement And Internship Opportunities
Finally, investigate what kind of job opportunities and internships exist through various computer engineering departments at different schools—this can help you determine which school provides you with the best chance at landing a great job after graduation (and possibly even during!). Many universities have strong relationships with tech companies, so inquire about those partnerships before enrolling to know what job prospects you might expect upon graduating from their program.
What can I do with a Computer Engineering Degree?
Regardless of what you read online, in books, or hear from others, having a computer engineering degree can genuinely set you up for more excellent job prospects and opportunities. Here is what the evidence really shows:
Computer engineering graduates are in a prime position to explore career opportunities directly associated with technology and computing. From becoming a computer hardware engineer to or software development engineer, the options abound! You could also consider roles such as computer network architect, systems analyst, and even programmer.
With an estimated growth rate of an amazing 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, computer and information technology occupations are expected to be a rapidly expanding sector, adding 682,800 new jobs over the next decade. This incredible rise is much faster than that for all other career fields combined.
Attaining greater levels of education can open up more opportunities as well as higher salaries. Software developers with a bachelor’s degree and applicable experience may qualify for jobs; however, those with master’s degrees in computer engineering (or related fields) tend to have even better career prospects. Additionally, professional certifications such as database management, software development, and networking are valuable accolades that could increase earning power while advancing the candidate’s potential within the field.
Computer Engineering Degree Salary
A computer engineering degree offers unparalleled earning potential, so the possibilities for salary growth are virtually limitless!
According to the BLS, the median annual wage in this field was an incredible $97,430 in May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.
Many computer engineering graduates transition into professional roles, which offer appealing pay rates, even at the entry-level. For instance, software development engineers earn average salaries exceeding $100,000 per year, even with little previous experience. Computer network architects make an average of more than $88,000 per year as entry-level employees, while hardware engineer salaries typically start north of $70,000.
Some common computer engineering career paths include:
Top Accounting Degree Jobs you can get:
Computer Hardware Engineer
Hardware engineers usually work in laboratory settings, where they design, build, test, and refine various computer systems.
$128,170 per year
Software Development Engineer
Software developers design computer applications or programs.
$109,020 per year
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.
$120,520 per year
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists design innovative uses for new and existing computing technology.
$131,490 per year
Computer programmers write, modify, and test code and scripts that allow computer software and applications to function properly.
$93,000 per year
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and design ways to improve efficiency.
$99,270 per year
*Please be advised that the average salary provided by the BLS may deviate significantly from state to state and occupation to occupation, depending on various factors.
Popular colleges with Computer Engineering Degree Programs
Making a decision where to pursue a degree in computer engineering can be challenging. That’s why we will help you narrow your choices. With top-notch faculty, cutting-edge facilities, and impressive job opportunities upon graduation, these schools provide students with a comprehensive education and career path.
Let’s take a look at five of the best colleges in the USA for computer engineering degrees.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
This esteemed university is globally acclaimed for its outstanding educational programs in science and technology. MIT’s renowned Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory offers an array of extraordinary opportunities for students of all academic levels.
From undergraduate to graduate studies, computer engineering is taught here with unparalleled research support available in the field. By attending this prestigious university, students can unlock a world of opportunities through access to sophisticated laboratories and groundbreaking research projects.
Stanford is another university with a strong reputation for its computer engineering program. The School of Engineering offers a variety of courses, ranging from introductory classes for first-year students to doctoral programs tailored to experienced professionals.
Stanford stands out among other universities with its exceptional computer science faculty member concentration – making it the perfect choice for students pursuing additional education or research initiatives.
The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
Dive into a world of possibilities with Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS). Here, you can explore the basic concepts and principles of computing or delve further into topics such as artificial intelligence.
No matter your level of expertise or interests, EECS is sure to provide an engaging learning experience. Students can join research teams or gain industry experience through internships offered by Berkeley’s renowned partner companies like Google or Apple.
Duke University has an impressive reputation for providing quality education in computer engineering fields like software development, robotics programming, data science, machine learning, etc.
The Pratt School Of Engineering offers several undergraduate majors, including Computer Science & Electrical & Computer Engineering, which allows Duke students access to top-notch resources such as computing clusters, 3D printing labs, and more, giving them hands-on experience with real-world applications by leading companies today.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University rounds out our list with its School Of Computer Science (SCS). SCS has consistently been ranked among the best schools offering computer engineering degrees due to its excellent teaching staff and comprehensive curriculum covering topics ranging from systems design & architecture to artificial intelligence & robotics programming.
What sets Carnegie Mellon apart from other Universities is SCS’s emphasis on collaborative work between different disciplines such as business, design, and engineering, which gives Carnegie Mellon’s graduates a unique insight into how technology interacts with other areas and allows them to take advantage on opportunities outside their field when looking for jobs after graduation.
FAQ about Computer Engineering Programs
A computer engineering degree is definitely worth it! As a graduate, you will have the skills to develop new technologies and advancements in computing, from software design to robotics and more. Leverage your knowledge to resolve difficult issues in the field, contribute significantly to examination projects, and propel your career development in numerous ways.
A Computer Engineering Degree equips you with the innovative skills to organize, create and preserve computer hardware, software, and systems design. With this degree in hand, you’ll be able to revolutionize the tech world! You will also learn about communication systems, networks, mathematics for engineering problems, and various programming languages.
It usually takes four to six years of concentrated learning for one to finish a Computer Engineering Degree, yet this time frame can differ based on the institution and program selected.
The cost of a Computer Engineering degree can differ significantly depending on where you choose to study and the duration of your program.
On average, you’re likely to need a budget of somewhere between $10.000 and $50.000 for a four-year college degree–not including textbooks or other necessary items for school.
After graduating with a Computer Engineering degree, you may pursue advanced degrees in engineering or technology, attend specialized workshops, conferences, and seminars to stay current on the latest technologies, or pursue certifications in specific areas. If desired, you can take your expertise in computer engineering to the next level by focusing on a specialized area like software engineering, hardware engineering, or systems engineering.
A Computer Science Degree emphasizes the development of software applications, programming languages/coding techniques, data structures/algorithms sets, and artificial intelligence. In contrast, a Computer Engineering Degree emphasizes electrical engineering topics such as hardware design and implementation, computer networks, embedded systems, and more.
Computer engineering degrees offer a wide variety of career paths. Graduates can pursue software development, computer networking, hardware engineering, or systems engineering jobs. Also, countless opportunities exist for those interested in pursuing management positions. Roles such as software development or IT project managers are excellent options for individuals with this expertise!
As the world increasingly relies on digital technologies, opportunities for professionals with advanced computer engineering and programming skills will likely expand.
Here are five incredible benefits of pursuing a computer engineering degree:
- Enjoy a Lucrative Career: With their sought-after technical abilities, computer engineering professionals take advantage of exceptionally rewarding salaries.
- Exceptional Job Prospects: Possessing a computer engineering degree offers one of the most diverse and profitable opportunities in computing. With this prestigious credential, you can open numerous doors for fulfilling career paths.
- Appealing Levels of Job Security: As technology rapidly evolves, the need for computer engineers only increases in parallel.
- Specialization Opportunities: An advanced degree in Computer Engineering allows students to delve into revolutionary and innovative technology fields.
- Creativity and Innovation: Computer engineers serve as powerful catalysts for creative thinking and growth on both a technical and organizational level. Their contributions are crucial to their employers’ success, offering priceless value in the workplace.
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