Rather than just using a computers, computer engineers apply scientific theory and engineering design to use and develop new computer hardware or software (see also: Software Engineer). They write programs to solve problems and create more efficient ways of doing things. They also design new systems and machines, like robots, that rely on computers to operate.
Most computer engineers have bachelor's degrees. Those working with hardware or machines typically have degrees in computer or electrical engineering, whereas those dealing with software have degrees in computer science or software engineering.
Computer engineers can work anywhere there are computers, and telecommuting is becoming quite common for many computer professionals. They usually work 40-hour weeks, but can work longer hours on special jobs or projects with pressing deadlines. Computer engineers often work with teams of other engineers or scientists.
You are a Computer Engineer, if you:
- Want to keep getting better at things
- Can think creatively
- Can work on a team or alone
- Can be focused and patient
- Enjoy big challenges
- Can use and remember important facts and details
- Are interested in computer modeling
The average annual salary for an entry-level computer engineer is $56,438.*
- Design a feather-light laptop
- Develop the necessary systems for running the latest electrical car
- Oversee the computer network for a telecommunications company
- Invent a brand new video game
- Develop the control systems for a large-scale robotic manufacturing plant
- Create a new operating system for personal computers