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Computer Engineering, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Computer Engineering, General. A program that generally prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of computer hardware and software systems and related equipment and facilities; and the analysis of specific problems of computer applications to various tasks.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

Additional Information

Computer engineers take the results produced by computer scientists and create a device or system that can be applied to real-world problems. Their training combines courses from two fields: electrical engineering and computer science.

To be certified as a computer engineer, you'll need at least a four-year bachelor's degree.

If you don't want to spend that much time in school, there are plenty of two-year community college programs that will train you to become a computer engineering technologist. CE technologists assist computer engineers in their work.

At many universities, the CE program is offered under the heading of "electrical and computer engineering." The two programs may share many courses for the first two years, then branch out.

It's important to have a pretty good idea of what you would like to do with computers, since there are now so many options for specialized study. Investigate a school's program carefully to see if it offers what you want.

For example, one school may have three options within computer engineering -- communications networks, software engineering and hardware engineering. Other schools may offer robotics or artificial intelligence.

Check if a program offers a co-op option. Co-ops are work terms that give you course credit and allow you to get hands-on training. Co-ops are also paid, so it's a way to finance your education.

Cristina H. Amon is associate director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. She says students can find work with a bachelor's, master's or PhD.

She adds that the amount of education will depend on a student's career plans. Often, a graduate working in the field will decide to go back for a more advanced degree to become eligible for more jobs. Her school also offers an option to complete both a bachelor's and a master's degree in an accelerated five-year program.

You'll need a good foundation in science and math. Take physics, chemistry, calculus, geometry and biology.

It's essential for engineers to be good communicators, too, so English skills can't be overlooked.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Computer Systems Analysts, Database Administrators and Computer Scientists

Electrical and Computer Engineering Resources Guide
Tools and educational resources

Learning Network
Get the basics on how computers work

Computers 4 Kids
All about computer history, modems and more


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