Education Required to Be a Computer Engineer

Computer engineers require some formal education. Learn about degree programs, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Computer engineers might work on any aspect of computer systems engineering, from hardware to software. Their duties might include designing computer systems, troubleshooting existing systems and developing applications to meet a client's needs.

Computer engineers must have at least a bachelor's degree and some internship experience to get a full-time job in the industry. Many computer engineers prove their skills by obtaining professional certification.

Required EducationBachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or a related field
Other RequirementsInternship or relevant job experience
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*7% (computer hardware engineers); 22% (computer software developers)
Median Salary (2013)* $104,250 (computer hardware engineers; $93,470 (computer software engineers, systems software); $85,430 (computer software engineers, applications)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Overview

Computer engineers might work with software, hardware or applications and system development. They work to fulfill user needs based on usability, function and logic. Job duties include conceptualizing and designing new systems based on the needs of the end user, testing and troubleshooting various aspects of computer systems, including hardware, software programs and networking systems. Computer engineers also might be involved in the development of software, particularly from a hardware support and feasibility consulting position.

Required Education

Generally, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education required of a computer engineer. Most employers require students to hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, computer information systems, electrical engineering or a similar computer-related field. Employers have a strong preference for graduates with computer programming skills and a familiarity with a range of programming languages.

Taking an internship under the supervision of an experienced computer engineering professional is the best way to learn the skills and technical applications needed to be a computer engineer. Many internship programs are available for college credit in any given major. Internships offer hands-on experience to otherwise inexperienced amateurs in the field. Most employers will not hire a computer engineer who does not have some relevant experience.

Certification

Voluntary professional certification for computer engineers is offered through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Certification can serve as a boost for those looking to accelerate their career. A bachelor's degree in addition to work experience is required to apply for the exam; a passing score on the written exam qualifies an individual as a Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP).

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