How To Become A Computer Engineer

When it comes to hiring a computer engineer, you need to consider that education is the foundation of success, and that experience and hands on lab training are vital. The above article on how to become a computer engineer offers many suggestions on how find the best computer engineer.

You might think learning about computer engineering is hard, but it’s really not. The truth is that computer engineers using the right tools and methods can get the job done quickly and correctly. If you want to find out more about what a computer engineer does and how to become a computer engineer, keep reading for information on computer engineer salary and certifications and other ways to get started.

Are you wondering how to become a computer engineer? If you are, you will find this article interesting. It is always important to know your options and education that you need if you want to become a computer engineer.

what do computer engineers do?

Computer engineers evaluate, design, and maintain computer hardware and software systems. They develop, test, and design, computer processors, circuit boards, and network systems. They resolve problems or address any concerns that occur with the hardware or software and aid in the advancement of computer technology.

types of computer engineering

In addition to general Computer Science and Computer Engineering degrees, universities and colleges also offer different specialisations or subdisciplines if you want to narrow down your focus. Here are a few examples:

Computer Engineering specialisations

  • Hardware Systems
  • Distributed Computing
  • Robotics and Cybernetics
  • Embedded Systems
  • Computer Graphics and Visualisation
  • Medical Image Computing
  • Computer and Network Security

How To Become A Computer Engineer

This guide offers a step-by-step plan for entering the field of computer engineering based on details provided by professional associations and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020), which gives information about expected education, skills, and certification. Read on to learn more about computer engineering careers, including details on credentialing, salaries, and job growth.

Step 1

Earn an Associate Degree (Optional: Two Years)

For students who desire a direct entry training program or cannot attend a four-year program initially, then an associate degree program in computer science or related IT field of study at a community college or trade school can be a solid first step. Some community college students can save on tuition while completing their general education requirements, because tuition at these schools is sometimes more affordable than at four-year schools. In addition, students should ensure the courses they complete in their two-year associate degree program will transfer to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Step 2

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree (Four Years W/O an Associate Degree)

Typically, most employers expect software engineering professionals to have at least a bachelor’s degree, while companies hiring hardware engineers traditionally seek applicants that hold a master’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs allow students to complete a comprehensive education in while concentrating their studies in either hardware or software specializations. For example, an electrical engineering program with an emphasis in computer engineering is appropriate if you want to work with microprocessors and high-speed circuitry. For those considering a career in software engineering, they may want to pursue a general computer engineering degree or a software engineering degree. Other applicable undergraduate majors include mathematics and computer science. When choosing a program, be sure it is certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Step 3

Advanced Study (Optional, But Sometimes Required for Hardware Engineers)

While graduates may find an entry-level software engineering job with a bachelor’s degree, better-paying positions and software management jobs typically call for a master’s degree. Hardware engineers usually return to college for post-graduate work. Those who want to rise to leadership or management roles pursue masters of business administration (MBA) degrees with a technology focus. Pay increases are often pegged to ongoing education, and engineers are inquisitive enough to want to stay abreast of technological advances. In many cases, your employer may contribute to ongoing education fees. A doctorate can be an advantageous degree for engineers who want to teach at the university level or conduct advanced research at a university-sponsored laboratory. Engineers with a PhD in information technology can advance to management workplace roles such as IT strategist, chief technology officer or chief information officer.

Step 4

Specialized and Get Certified

Computer engineers can work as general problem solvers or they can focus on one aspect of their career. For hardware professionals, continuing education in software development can be beneficial and vice versa. As the fields are continually evolving, job candidates will want to go where the opportunities exist. Specialize, but remain nimble. Some corporations may demand employees pursue advanced certifications in hardware or software systems offered by vendors. Certification exams are offered to benchmark skills for a prospective employer or advance in the company. They can be an essential part of the job search arsenal. Popular certification categories include Microsoft Systems Administration (MCSA), Cisco Network (Wireless and Voice), Project Management and VM Ware.

computer engineer salary

Learning how to become a computer engineer is the first step toward earning a more-than-comfortable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for this profession was $108,430 in 2014, but the top-earners make more than $160,000. Salaries vary between regions and industries. Scientific research pays a more modest wage, while computer equipment manufacturing is more lucrative.

Computer Hardware Engineer$108,430
Software Engineer, Applications$95,510
Software Engineer, Systems Software$102,880

how to become a computer engineer without a degree?

Use these steps as a guide to help you become a software engineer without a degree:

1. Review what you already know about software engineering

Depending on your high school courses and your own exploration, you may already understand fundamental coding skills. Take the time to make a list of what you already know about software engineering to get an idea of where you need to start your education.

2. Enroll in a software engineering certification course

There are a variety of professional certification courses that you can complete online or in-person to learn more about software engineering. Complete an online search to determine which programs fit your schedule, budget and learning needs.

3. Get a job in IT or tech support to aid your learning

As you pursue a software engineering career without a degree, you can advance your knowledge of computer science by working in tech-related roles. This could include working as a tech support specialist or a tech store sales associate. These experiences can also help you enhance your resume when it comes time to apply for software engineering jobs.

4. Take additional certification courses for different programming languages

Because software engineers need to understand how to code for a variety of different programming languages, it’s important that you also devote time to earning certification courses in programming languages like Java or Python. By earning certifications at the beginner, intermediate and expert levels, you can enhance your employability without a degree.

5. Practice analyzing and reading code of other software engineers

As a software engineer, you need to be able to decipher code strings and reference code libraries to assist with revamping existing programs. You can do this by reviewing coding for websites and seeing how software engineers used code strings to build them.

6. Complete your own projects to enhance your professional portfolio

When pursuing a software engineering career without a degree, it’s important that you work on your own coding projects you can showcase to employers. This also gives you the opportunity to practice and refine your coding skills.

7. Get feedback on your code from industry professionals

After completing a coding project, reach out to a few experts to get their opinion on your work. You can do this by contacting a professional connection, or by enlisting the help of a software engineering consultant.

8. Join an online software engineering network to for connections

In a degree program, you have classmates with similar interests who may become professional connections. However, if you plan to get into software engineering without a degree, you need to establish connections in other ways. Joining an online software engineering association or group on a social networking platform can help you develop connections and learn about job opportunities.

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