Careers 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 it 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.



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 this field.


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 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.





List of Careers Directly Relevant to This 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:


• Application Architect

• Applications Analyst

• Applications Programmer

• Astronaut

• Astronautical Engineer

• Automation Engineer

• Avionics Technician

• Blogger

• Broadcast Engineer

• Business Analyst

• Chief Information Officer

• Circuit Designer

• Computer Programmer

• Computer Scientist

• Computer Service Technician

• Computer Systems Engineer

• Consumer Advocate

• Cyber Security Specialist

• Data Processing Director

• Database Administrator

• Electrical Engineer

• Electronics Engineer

• Embedded Software Engineer

• Energy Efficiency Engineer

• Energy Engineer

• Entrepreneur

• Hardware Engineer

• Helicopter Pilot

• Information Systems Consultant

• Information Systems Designer

• Information Technology (IT) Service Manager

• Instrumentation and Control Engineer

• IT Analyst

• IT Manager

• Java Developer

• Network Architect

• Network Engineer

• Patent Agent

• PHP Developer

• Product Development Engineer

• Product Manager

• Production Engineer

• Project Engineer

• Project Manager

• Quantitative Analyst

• Research Engineer

• Robotics Technologist

• Software Designer

• Software Sales Representative

• Software Testing Engineer

• Systems Administrator

• Systems Integration Engineer

• Technical Coordinator

• Technical Sales Engineer

• Telecommunications Engineer

• Telecommunications Technician

• Test Engineer

• University Professor

• User Interface Designer

• Video Game Audio Programmer

• Webmaster


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

• Mathematics

• Programming methodology

• Operating systems

• Digital electronics

• Computer hardware architecture

• Computer software

• Computer networking

• And many other areas


Teaching methods

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 Students

Degree programs in this field 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 an outside career.


As a 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

• Programming


Design Skills

• Software design

• Microprocessor based design

• Digital electronic circuits design

• Computer operating systems design

• Embedded system design


Other Skills

• Basic entrepreneurial skills

• Teamwork

• Communication 





Main Areas of Employment for 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! 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  

• Telecommunications      

• Wholesale Trade    

• Public Administration      

• Finance and Insurance   



Typical Graduate Salary Level

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.


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.


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 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 relevant career 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 an 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 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.



Relevant Scholarships in Our System

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.



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