Computer Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

Computer engineering colleges teach you to apply your mathematical skills to the ever-expanding realm of computer technology.

Fascinated by the Way Things Work? Consider Computer Engineering Schools: The world's first electronic computer debuted in 1946 and weighed thirty tons. Today, computers are found in nearly all industries, from education to commerce, and in most homes as well; the American household without at least one computer is considered quite unusual these days. Clearly, computer technology has evolved exponentially since the early days and, amazingly enough, continues to advance at a dizzying rate. Computer engineers are the professionals responsible for this rapid progress. They research, design, test, and develop new hardware systems and software programs (depending on their speciality).

Degrees in Computer Engineering Prepare Students for Several Rewarding Careers: Computer engineering schools may teach the subject generally, or may gear their curricula to prepare students for either hardware or software development careers. Computer hardware engineers develop computer chips, circuit boards, and related components. Computer software engineers, often simply called computer engineers, design the applications and systems that make computers usable. For both careers, a bachelor's degree serves as the most common certificate of educational attainment, though research positions often require master's degrees, and certain software engineering positions only ask for two-year degrees. Hands-on design classes and labs are integrated into all four years of this major, and typical classroom subjects include:

  • • Calculus
  • • Physics
  • • Discrete mathematics
  • • Programming languages
  • • Computer architecture
  • • Systems programming

Students who choose to pursue degrees in computer engineering should possess a deep curiosity about how things work. They should also be creative, analytical, highly skilled in math, and comfortable working both independently or as part of a team. Many computer engineering students complete off-campus internships during their upper division years.

Job Outlook and Earnings Report for Computer Hardware and Software Engineers: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer hardware engineers can expect to face tough competition from abroad in the coming decade. Employment in this speciality is projected to grow only 4% between 2008-18, slower than the national average for all other occupations. The best prospects for Americans lie in computer systems design. On the bright side, those who do land a coveted job in this industry are well-compensated. As of May 2009, hardware engineers earned a mean annual wage of $101,410. In addition to systems design and related services, major industries include computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, and semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing.

In contrast, employment of computer software engineers is expected to grow much faster than average: over 30% during the 2008-18 decade. From the internet to business to healthcare, rapidly evolving technologies have created massive demand for well-trained software engineers. The BLS notes that engineers with bachelor's degrees and related experience find themselves in a better position to take advantage of these great opportunities.

The most recent data shows applications engineers earning a mean annual wage of $90,170. Systems software engineers make a mean annual wage of $96,620. For both subdivisions of the software engineering industry, major employers include computer systems design and related services as well as software publishers.

The writer Karin Hansen holds a degree in English from San Francisco State University.

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