electrial computer engineer
Bachelors In

Computer Engineering Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
Grant Aldrich
on June 30, 2020

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  • $97,340
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Computing technology is now part of our everyday lives, and the increased demand for new technologies in this industry has driven the need for talented computer engineers. If you’re fascinated with technology and want to develop innovative new hardware and software for computers and mobile phones, then a bachelor of science in computer engineering may be just what you’re looking for.

What is a Degree in Computer Engineering?

Computer engineers develop the hardware used in modern computing devices. Whether it’s traditional processors, memory chips, and circuit boards or newer technologies used in virtual reality and internet of things (IoT) devices, a computer engineer is behind it using his/her skills to create and innovate. In a computer engineering program, you’ll study electrical engineering from a computer hardware perspective, taking courses in topics like electric and digital currents, signals and systems, and more.

Many computer engineering courses also focus on the development of computer software. In these programs, students learn how to build the components of computing systems as well as program the software that’s used by the hardware. Students in these programs take classes in object-oriented programming and certain programming languages—such as C# and Java—qualifying them for a large number of careers after graduation in development, support, engineering, and system security roles.

What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Computer Engineering?

  • Engineering Design
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Elements of Discrete Signal Analysis
  • Discrete Structures
  • Electric Circuits
  • Digital Circuits
  • Analog and Digital Electronics
  • Organization of Programming Languages

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Computer Engineering?

Jobs in IT are among the fastest-growing of any industry in the U.S., and it’s expected that demand for talented IT professionals will exceed supply in the coming years. As such, more and more companies may start battling for top talent, and computer engineers should be in a great position to negotiate favorable employment terms and conditions. Additionally, because computer engineering graduates are well-versed in both hardware and software, they should have many career opportunities to choose from.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Computer Engineering will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Computer Engineering Degree

Studying computer science online is an attractive choice for full-time and working students. There are several online computer science programs offered by different universities with a variety of concentrations. Students will have to complete around 120 credit hours of study to gain the bachelor degree. Most programs will also require the delivery of a graduation thesis project.

*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Electrical Engineer (EE)


What Can You Do With a Computer Engineering Degree?

Computer Engineering refers to the design and development of computer hardware and software. Computer engineers integrate knowledge from computer science, programing and electronics. They work on the development of computer devices starting from electronic circuits, microprocessors, mobile phones, personal computers and supercomputers. Computer engineers were also involved in the development of more advanced systems as quantum computers and cloud processing systems.

What does a computer science student learn?

Computer engineering integrates subjects from different fields to develop the software and hardware of the computer. The following courses are common to computer engineering programs:

  1. Basic science courses: physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics. These are the basic sciences that are involved in the development of computers starting from a basic calculator to the most advanced supercomputer.
  2. Algorithms and programming languages: this is the core for developing computer software. It is the way of coding the orders or tasks that the computer performs.
  3. Graphics: developing graphics in computer software differs from coding of other types of data. Computers have a separate processor for showing the graphics of programs, internet or games.
  4. User interfaces concepts: this is a design course that introduces various designs that can be followed to design an easy-to-use and effective user interface.
  5. Software quality assurance: this course introduces standard methods for testing the performance of programs and detection of bugs or security issues.
  6. Introduction to operating systems: operating systems are master software that manages the hardware and software resources of the computer and provides common services to the running programs.

Now I have the computer science degree…where can I work after graduating?

Studying computer science is a challenging task as it includes a long list of advanced courses and subjects but career options are highly rewarding. Computer engineers work in the top companies around the world as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, NVidia, Google and Facebook. If you have a computer engineering degree, you should consider the following options for your future career:

  1. Software developers: the software market is booming with thousands of applications being added daily covering all aspects of life and business.
  2. Database administrators: databases are used by many companies and organizations to store the data of their employees or clients. It is a form of organized data that can be used in a more easy and efficient way.
  3. Hardware engineers: they are responsible for developing, testing and production of computer components as processors or data storage devices.
  4. Computer systems analysts: their role is to evaluate the computer systems used by organizations to recommend changes to the hardware and software that can increase the efficiency of the system.
  5. Computer network architects: they are responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the computer network for a company or organization.
  6. Web developers: they design and develop websites and pages to increase the visibility of the company or organization. They also aim at making the resources needed by the users available through an efficient and easy to use way.
  7. Cyber security engineers: their role is to protect the data against cyber-attacks and to detect possible security issues in a network or a system. They develop protection software as antivirus and firewall programs.
  8. Research and development: they are responsible for developing new computer products with higher computational and data storage power. They also work on products as wearable or implantable devices, and quantum computers.
  9. Freelancer: working as a freelancer is popular in the field of computer engineering. If you have built good reputation and experience, you can choose to work in most of the career options as a freelancer consultant.

Should I choose a computer science degree?

Studying computer science is not only financially rewarding but it is also an exciting career that allows great space for innovation and creativity. Graduates of computer science program develop a set of skills that is useful in any field:

  1. Creativity: computer engineers always push the boundaries regarding what is possible to do and we can see this obvious in the devices we use in daily life.
  2. Analytical skills: computer engineers must have the ability to analyze tiny details to reach a solution to a problem or a new innovation. They are usually working with huge amount of data which require proper analysis and organization to reach viable conclusions
  3. Problem solving skills: the designs of computer systems and networks have reached highly complicated level. Accordingly, systematic and well-organized mind is needed to work with these systems.
  4. Resilience: Programmers may need to test hundreds of codes before reaching the appropriate solution to a problem. Sometimes, an established system or program may need to be changed due to a change in the requirements or some criteria. Computer engineers should have the patience and persistence to overcome the many failures they face before reaching a success.

Best Jobs for Computer Engineering Degrees

Computer engineering graduates can find work in a number of different engineering and information technology roles. The obvious career that this degree leads to is computer engineer, but it could also work well for finding work as a computer repairman, an IT support specialist, or a computer scientist. Additionally, many graduates find work with entrepreneurs and startups developing innovative new software, apps, and tools.


How to save time and money

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Get a Certificate in Programming First

Before enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program, you may want to consider the benefits of completing a certificate program in computer programming. By earning a certificate in programming first, you may be able to gain professional experience in the field and begin earning an income sooner. Then, you can earn your bachelor’s degree to qualify for higher-paying and more technical positions, and the credits from your certificate program may even transfer to reduce the overall course load you’ll have to take.


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About the Author
Grant Aldrich
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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