What You Can Do with a Computer Engineering Degree
It’s common knowledge that with a computer engineering degree, you can become a computer engineer. But what exactly does that mean? And is there anything else you can do with this degree?
A career as a computer engineer
Does developing faster Internet sound like something you want to be part of? What about designing the next big thing in smartphones or video games? If you choose to work as a computer engineer, you could be involved in the development, implementation and modification of these, and other computer products and systems.
Within this one occupational field, you have so many options. For example, as a computer engineer, you can choose the kind of industry you want to work in, the kind of employer you want to have, the level of responsibility you’ll take on, and whether you’ll work in product development, maintenance, implementation, testing, improvement, or other areas.
Given all these options, your career as a computer engineer can take so many potential forms. It all depends on your interests, your preferences, and your career ambitions!
Other career options
And you’re not just limited to a career as a computer engineer. The skills, knowledge and competencies that you can acquire through your coursework and co-op work terms can be applied to careers both in the field of computer engineering, careers indirectly related to it, and even careers that aren’t related to computer engineering at all! With the skills you’ll gain in this field, you’ll be attractive to so many types of employers, for so many different roles.
Job Board for Computer Engineering Students & Grads
Interested in refining your knowledge base and skill set, to gain true expertise in an area of computer engineering? As luck would have it, you also have the option to go on to graduate studies in a more specific area of computer engineering.
From there you can choose to work in industry, or you can apply your skills and knowledge to performing research in the field, or teaching at the high school, college, or university levels.
So, if you’d like to know more about where an education in computer engineering can take you, read on below. This computer engineering careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers.
Career Guides Related to a Computer Engineering Degree
The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying computer engineering at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.
Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to this degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in a computer engineering degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:
Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.
What Computer Engineering Programs Teach You
Areas of understanding
Computer engineering degree programs typically aim to provide you with a strong understanding of computers as physical devices and of the software that drives them. To accomplish this, these programs must provide you with a fundamental understanding of many areas, including:
• Engineering science
• Programming methodology
• Operating systems
• Digital electronics
• Computer hardware architecture
• Computer software
• Computer networking
• And many other areas
Computer engineering programs often include a mix of classroom-based theoretical work, and hands-on practical work. In order to effectively integrate hands-on learning methods, many computer engineering programs use laboratories with state of the art equipment.
By combining academic coursework and hands-on lab-based work, you are taught both theoretical and practical computer engineering skills. Learning how to properly apply this knowledge and skill set through hands-on work enables you to become a highly qualified computer engineering professional.
You will likely also be required to complete projects that will provide you with work experience in a team setting, as well as applicable experience utilizing technical skills, such as turning a design into a prototype.
Employable Skills Gained by Computer Engineering Graduates
Computer engineering programs are designed to teach you skills that are necessary to succeed in a career as a computer engineer. Many of these skills however, are transferable to other careers, should you choose to pursue a career outside of computer engineering.
As a computer engineering graduate, you should be armed with the following skills (not an inclusive list):
Fundamental Scientific Skills
• Physical sciences
• Information sciences
• Semiconductor modeling
• Discrete mathematics, probability and statistics
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
• Computer languages, data structures and algorithms
• Circuit analysis
• Signal processing
• Computer architecture
• Digital networks
• Software design
• Microprocessor based design
• Digital electronic circuits design
• Computer operating systems design
• Embedded system design
• Basic entrepreneurial skills
Main Areas of Employment for Computer Engineering Graduates
Are you interested in computer engineering, but not quite sure where your talents will fit in? Do you need a better idea of what kind of industries you can find work in? Well, look no further, we’ve got you covered! (Well, the Government of Canada’s got you covered, but we’re passing their message along).
Computer engineering graduates are typically hired by organizations in these industries:
• Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
• Computer Systems Design and Related Services
• Scientific Research and Development Services
• Architectural, Engineering and Related Services
• Manufacturing (General)
• Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
• Information and Cultural Industries
• Wholesale Trade
• Public Administration
• Finance and Insurance
Computer Engineering Degree Jobs
Whether you're a computer engineering student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.
Computer Engineering Graduate Salary
The salary level you could earn as a graduate of a computer engineering program can vary quite a bit, typically depending on the following factors:
• Your level of education (bachelor’s, graduate etc.)
• Whether or not you end up working in computer engineering
• If you achieve a professional designation (such as PE)
• The amount of work experience you’ve accumulated
• The size and type of your employer
• The industry in which you find work
• The region in which you find work
That’s a lot of factors that can influence your earnings. To make it easier to determine what you could earn, let’s just look at the average salary level of a computer engineer.
Computer Engineer Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Computer Engineer occupational group earn an average salary of $88,975 per year.
Computer Engineer Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers) occupational group is $80,734 per year.
Computer Engineer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Computer Hardware Engineers occupational group is $100,920 per year.
Gaining Computer Engineering Career Experience as a Student
Pursuing an internship (also known as a field experience, practicum or co-op opportunity) in a career field related to your degree is a great way to gain work experience for a career in computer science while you’re still a student.
If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in this field, do your best to land one of these opportunities. Doing so has many benefits, including:
Meeting other people who share the same professional interests
Meeting others who share that same interests and passions can be highly beneficial. You can see them operate on daily basis, you can ask them what it is they like about what they do, you can learn how they got where they, and you can get idea of the dynamics of the environment they work in.
Gaining valuable career experience
If your school has any role in facilitating the opportunity or introducing you to the internship opportunity, which they likely will, odds are the employer has been carefully screened and will only provide you with valuable on-the-job experience.
Internships, co-ops and other forms of work experience are meant to add practice to the theory you have been learning, so teaming up with an employer that meets your school’s standards is a great way to ensure that you are part of a great work and learning experience.
Getting your foot in the door with an organization
A great way to make the transition from student to employee is to be offered a position with the same organization you worked for as an intern or co-op student! If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you once you’ve graduated.
Why is that? Well, they will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit and train someone else.
How to Find a Computer Engineering Internship
Your college or university may or may not require you to participate in an internship or other form of work experience program as part of your computer engineering degree. If it is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, as many schools work directly with employers to arrange work experience opportunities.
If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, Engineering program staff as well as your school’s career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.
Computer Engineering Scholarships
If you’re a computer engineering student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck; our scholarships database has scholarships that are specific to computer engineering, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study!
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.