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What is a Computer Engineer?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A computer engineer is an engineering professional who not only possesses the training of an electrical engineer, but also has credentials related to the field of computer science. The combination of the basic engineering skills that are the province of all engineers with an extensive knowledge of software design and implementation provides the engineer with a skill set that is very attractive in the business world today.

Computer engineering involves many aspects of computer design, the creation of individual components for computer equipment, networking design, and integrating software options with the hardware that will drive the applications. A competent engineer can secure work in any environment where computers play a role in the operation of the business. Because the engineer will have an extensive understanding of such electronic devices as microprocessors, local and wide area networks, and even supercomputers that form the basis for worldwide communications, the career paths are wide and varied. Computer engineers can find work in such fields as telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing, and product development.

Some of the common tasks associated with the engineer include software design that is customized for a particular industry type. Operating systems that are peculiar to the culture of a given company often require the input of a computer engineer, ensuring that the functionality of the custom design meets all the needs of the application. In general, the engineer is not only part of the design process of a new application, but also continues to provide service and support as new versions of software are released, and in implementing additional customizations or fixes to existing software.

One area where opportunities are expanding for qualified engineers is in the robotics industry. The unique skills of the computer engineer is helping to move robotics forward, by making the best use of traditional electronic technology and the latest in computer generated applications. The computer engineer can find significant opportunities within robotics to purse the design of new motors, improved communication devices, and more sensitive sensors that can help robotic equipment function more efficiently.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon1002330 — On Oct 30, 2019

Studying computer studies in the 11th and 12th grade is essential if you want to study computer engineering, but this also plays a role in the college you are applying to. Some do not require one to have done computer in the 11th and 12th grade, while some do. Check the college requirement for computer engineering to be sure.

By anon994219 — On Jan 24, 2016

I am in the sixth grade and I have to do a report on computer engineers. What kind of things can they make?

By anon346185 — On Aug 26, 2013

I am an ss3 student so I want to find out the courses. I want to find out the courses that are mandatory to study computer engineering as a course.

By anon334981 — On May 17, 2013

To those who are asking questions in relation to if one needs math skills to be a computer engineer: The answer is not only yes, but *yes!*

If one does not test high enough into a university to take college algebra, one may have to take developmental math I, developmental math II, and intermediate college algebra before college algebra. After college algebra, one has to take trigonometry, pre-calculus (*not* business calculus). Pre-calculus is the prerequisite for calculus I with analytic geometry, then calculus II with analytic geometry, then calculus III with analytic geometry, then differential equations.

Calculus I with analytic geometry is a requirement to take physics I with calculus/analytic geometry (not business calculus!), which you must take. I suggest taking physics I when one is taking calculus III, because in physics I, you are exposed to vectors, which you will learn in calculus III, so they fit nicely together.

One must also take physics II with calculus/analytic geometry next and usually a good path is to take differential equations at the same time. Trigonometry is also a requirement for digital logic, and programming for engineers which prepares one for micros, digital design and computer architecture. Calculus II is a requirement for engineering software tools and engineering statistics, which take one into Sig and Sys. Physics II and calculus III are requirements for circuits I, which takes one into electronics I, circuits II, EEE Solid States. Differential equations is a requirement for intermediate engineering analysis, plus some universities require even more. Don't let anyone tell you that a computer engineer does not need to know math.

If you want to be an electrical or computer engineer, then you need to love math!

By anon317567 — On Feb 02, 2013

I'm a student of mathcomp in 11th grade. Which courses should I take in 12th grade?

By anon292086 — On Sep 18, 2012

I am a Computer Engineer. You don't get paid a lot if you work for people who are scumbags. Just be wary. Don't work for big businesses like Hewlett Packard or Apple Incorporated. I have worked for both and they both are complete jackasses.

By anon291809 — On Sep 17, 2012

I am 13, and I live in the Middle East, but I come from the U.S. I aspire to be a computer engineer, and I already know Python, Lua, SQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Bash script. Am I on the right track?

By anon291808 — On Sep 17, 2012

I don't suggest studying computer science in the Philippines. Maybe in Europe, or the U.S.? They probably have better programs.

By anon289947 — On Sep 06, 2012

I hate math but love computers. Will that mess up my major in computer engineering?

By anon284415 — On Aug 10, 2012

I am currently studying computer engineering here in the Philippines. What concerns me is that I am not good in computers. But I am determined to learn and as long as God is with me, I know, and I believe I can do it. Do you think I will be successful?

By anon267226 — On May 09, 2012

I have a master's degree and I am proud of it. It took me a long time but it was all worth it. Not only did I got some satisfaction of accomplishing this, but I'm going to be rich!

By anon256732 — On Mar 23, 2012

i have recently completed a certificate course in desktop / laptop chip level course and working as a trainee. Which course should I do for a better future? Will getting a diploma in electronics benefit me?

By anon228608 — On Nov 09, 2011

I´m only 13 years old. I'm from Mexico and I want to be a computer engineer. The problem is that I am very bad in Algebra. Really I don't understand anything but I'm working on that.

By anon200970 — On Jul 28, 2011

will a computer engineer be called as an engineer?

By anon194855 — On Jul 09, 2011

I love this course as a student. I'll be graduating in october 2011 and i want to proceed on to a graphic card company like ATI, Sapphire, etc. I love ICs.

By skhera1 — On May 28, 2011

do you only have to know algebra to do computer engineering. If there is more mathematics that you have to learn than please let me know.

and please would you kindly give me some tips on becoming a computer engineer?

By anon173968 — On May 09, 2011

For all of you who are asking if you need to be good at math: Yes. Math is also important in computer engineering (or almost any other engineering degree).

You will have to pass through many math classes. If you are struggling with even the simplest algebra, this is not a career for you. Math skills are probably more important than your basic computer skills (anyone can build a computer from parts; it takes much much more than that to become an engineer).

By anon172887 — On May 05, 2011

I am currently an eighth grader but I'm pretty mature, I love working with computers and I'm starting to get into computer hardware engineering. There's only one problem. I'm not the best at math, I can do it, but i had downgrade my classes from algebra to regular math, so I'm wondering if i can still make it and not be the best at math.

By anon168914 — On Apr 19, 2011

i have a very good background in trigonometry and algebra, including physics when i was high school so i guess I'm taking up computer engineering in college.

By anon166345 — On Apr 08, 2011

I'm a student of grd 10 after slc, i want to go in the field of computers and i want to study computer engineering. so i just want to know how i join after slc or what are the things that I need for CE and do I also study mathematics in this field?

By anon165397 — On Apr 04, 2011

A professor of differential and integral calculus said that if a student could pass these two subjects he or she will progress in the field of engineering.

By anon160142 — On Mar 14, 2011

i really love computers, however I'm very weak in maths. Can i improve?

By anon152879 — On Feb 15, 2011

do i need computer as a subject of 11th and 12th for any good college entrance, or it is not necessary?

By anon149144 — On Feb 03, 2011

I am a second semester sophomore in computer engineering. A B.S. typically takes four years, and some can complete their M.S. in one or two additional years.

So far, I have taken: linear algebra, vector geometry, calc 1-3, differential equations, discrete, calc-based physics 1-2(we covered all of AP physics in two weeks), circuit analysis, intro to comp engineering, intro to C++, fata structures, microprocessor system design, Unix, and signals and systems. Those are just the most related ones. Trust me, there have been more.

By anon138112 — On Dec 30, 2010

i just want you to show me the steps i can take to study my computer engineering education.

By anon135341 — On Dec 18, 2010

i have not entered into the university but i want to start reading books on computer engineering. but i don't even know the recommended books to purchase.

By anon134529 — On Dec 15, 2010

how can we score in engineering?

By anon133472 — On Dec 10, 2010

Is math used in computer engineering?

By anon132969 — On Dec 09, 2010

how do i become a competent computer engineer? and is math a compulsory subject. please reply

By anon131118 — On Dec 01, 2010

I am good in math but my weakness is designing.

By anon123196 — On Oct 31, 2010

what is a typical day for someone in this career/profession?

By anon122009 — On Oct 26, 2010

I want to learn all about computer especially when it comes in software and hardware. can you please give me some ideas on it for me to know how will i undergo with this kind of studying? i need your reply. thanks.

By anon121992 — On Oct 26, 2010

i am studying a diploma in computer eng. Please inform me more about this engineering and give me information about jobs after my diploma.

By anon119981 — On Oct 19, 2010

I am currently pursuing a computer engineering degree (BSCPE). The math involved can become extensive and tedious, but does not go as far as a math major or physics major. Calc 1,2,3 and Diff. Eq. are required.

You must also take prob + stat for engineers and linear algebra is recommended, but not required.

Most of the courses after your GEP, or associates degree as some say, are electrical engineering and computer science based. I would highly recommend that a minor in intelligent robotic systems be considered, as this is a field with a growing demand. FYI: Avg, starting salary is about 60k per year (USD).

By anon116349 — On Oct 06, 2010

@anon109541-78, i am a junior in high school and am already taking calculus ab, so you are really far behind. And i want to become a computer engineer as well.

By anon112845 — On Sep 22, 2010

@78 -anon109541 You're going to need Calculus 1, 2 and 3 for starters so that mean Pre-cal and Cal with Trig as a pre-req, Physics with Cal 1 and 2 at the minimum, along with a ton of other maths like Linear Algebra and Differential Equations. All the above mentioned is only for the two-year transferable and not the actual 4+ year degree

By anon110926 — On Sep 14, 2010

I am 23 and I have finished my Bachelors in Business Studies and would like to make a future in the field of computers. So, how would I choose a better college for Computer Engineering? And how much does it cost to finish the course?

By anon110004 — On Sep 10, 2010

how do i become a competent computer engineer?

By anon109541 — On Sep 08, 2010

I am 26 and am now deciding to pursue a bachelors in computer engineering. I have been out of school since 2002. I was very good at math and sciences in school. I was wondering, are there any math courses I should already know going into a bachelors of computer science. I took algebra 1 and 2 geometry and trig in high school but I forgot a lot of it because it has been so long. I am sure if I studied I could pick it up quickly.

By anon109538 — On Sep 08, 2010

I want a career in computer engineering. how much will i learn and is intel the only chip makers?

By anon105081 — On Aug 19, 2010

I am 26 and am now deciding to pursue a bachelors in computer engineering. I have been out of school since 2002. I was very good at math and sciences in school. I was wondering, are there any math courses I should already know going into a bachelors of computer science. I took algebra 1 and 2 geometry and trig in high school but I forgot a lot of it because it has been so long. I am sure if I studied I could pick it up quickly.

By jane18 — On Aug 16, 2010

what qualifications do i need to study computer engineering?

By anon102528 — On Aug 08, 2010

i passed 10th and now i want to make career in computer engineering. What do i do now?

By anon100688 — On Jul 31, 2010

I am a computer engineer and i worked on different computers but at times faced some challenges, like being unable to recover system from its recovery disk. what might be the root cause?

By anon97810 — On Jul 21, 2010

what type of math is needed in computer engineering? is is it possible to get a job after completing computer engineering? Please reply.

By anon94495 — On Jul 08, 2010

what are the different courses of computer engineering?

And what type of maths do i need to study it?

By anon93754 — On Jul 05, 2010

Please tell me all about computer engineering. I'm getting confused about which engineering career to pursue.

By anon92619 — On Jun 29, 2010

i want to understand all thing about computer engineering.

By anon92127 — On Jun 25, 2010

i passed my 12 this year. i wish to become a computer engineer, but i need proper information about it. can you please help me? thanks.

By anon91676 — On Jun 23, 2010

i have done my 10 standard now and i want to pursue computer engineering? can i do this course on 10th basis? Is math very important for this subject? what level and kind of math will i learn?

By anon91001 — On Jun 19, 2010

i am in 12 std. and wish to do computer engineering. what are criteria required? what things should i take in to consideration. And on which subjects should i pay attention? does it have any relation with 12 computer.

By anon90026 — On Jun 14, 2010

What are the steps required for being a computer engineer?

By anon89929 — On Jun 13, 2010

can you tell me the kind of maths you need to know to become a computer engineer, and how much years you have to finish to get your bachelors or masters degree in becoming a computer engineer?

By anon89501 — On Jun 10, 2010

I heard computer engineering is a really good course, and is currently on top ten highest-paying majors. Is this true? Medicine and law came tops followed by computer engineering and other computing careers. Also, what is the difference between computer engineering and computer science? thanks.

By anon88764 — On Jun 07, 2010

I am starting college for software engineering technology this september 2010. I just wanted to know if there where any courses other then my main study that would really look good on a resume?

Also can you tell me what pays more: software engineering technology or software applications development and what the difference is between the two?

By anon88758 — On Jun 07, 2010

I really love computers. However if math is my weak point, can I always improve it greatly?

By anon87932 — On Jun 02, 2010

i am passing SSC this year. i want to became a computer engineer. will you give me guidance?

By anon87434 — On May 30, 2010

I am a computer engineer and i have been searching for a good job the last two years.

I am a good programmer plus i have many other skills, like analysis of electrical circuits etc etc. I want to invest my skills for a disciplined organization but this world does not needs good engineers.

I have applied to bigger companies of the world like GE, Microsoft and many more but all in vain. No response at all from almost 30 big organizations.

By anon86157 — On May 24, 2010

I would very much like to be a computer engineer.

and i want you to tell me the difference between information technology and computer engineering.

By anon85101 — On May 18, 2010

seriously, i want to know what it really takes to be a computer engineer. most times it's like we are relegated to the background except when you have some IT knowledge-which is very expensive. please, how can one get around to learning the real basics without paying so much.

By anon84746 — On May 17, 2010

what is the difference of information technology and computer engineering? what is much better to take to college --IT or CE?

By anon84049 — On May 13, 2010

Please how is a computer engineer useful to a country. In a way like a doctor?

By anon82619 — On May 06, 2010

what is the worst quality of this job?

By anon81263 — On Apr 30, 2010

What subjects do i need at leaving cert to qualify as a Computer Engineer?

By anon80349 — On Apr 27, 2010

I want to be a computer engineer, but i would like to know what to specialize in, so that after finishing i can easily get a good job. thanks.

By anon77698 — On Apr 15, 2010

what is the difference between computer engineering and computer science engineering? kamal-india

By anon76772 — On Apr 12, 2010

Please, i am a nigerian and i'd like to be a computer engineer but most of the schools on the net don't offer programs to african countries. how can you guys help students here in africa.

By anon72737 — On Mar 24, 2010

what are the opportunities for a masters degree when you study computer engineering.

By anon72258 — On Mar 22, 2010

do i have to go to college to become a computer engineer?

By anon70297 — On Mar 13, 2010

I want to be a potential computer engineer. but i just wanted to know if it would be very tough or hard to cope up with because it would include electrical engineer and computer science. Please reply to this query.

By anon70269 — On Mar 13, 2010

I am a computer engineering student in my last year.

I doesn't matter what you major in - it has no connection to the world outside whatsoever.

as for a job, I am currently working @ Intel Development - a pretty fun place to work in.

By anon69613 — On Mar 09, 2010

how do i become a competent computer engineer?

By anon69544 — On Mar 08, 2010

Computer Engineering is a very wide field. You can deal with hardware and software side of technology, or you can take different specialist path.

By anon69385 — On Mar 08, 2010

i am now a college student and i will be taking computer engineering. Is this course really hard? what are the subjects?

By anon63174 — On Jan 31, 2010

right now i'm taking up computer engineering don't know the reason why, but i really did enjoy it. And i still don't know what would be my specialty.

By anon55536 — On Dec 08, 2009

what do you do all day once you are at work?

By anon55439 — On Dec 07, 2009

What courses do you have to take in high school to become a software engineer?

By anon50324 — On Oct 27, 2009

how do i become a computer engineer?

By anon49488 — On Oct 20, 2009

@anon32425: Some math that I've encountered; calculus 1/2, multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, abstract algebra, advanced geometry, discrete mathematics, statistics and trigonometry. It's not too bad. I tend to think of the math as three types: calculus, algebra, and discrete. Calculus mostly for the EE, discrete for the CS, and algebra for both.

@Diana

A computer engineer could very well be capable of fixing the hardware like a TV, or even the software such as MP3. Keep in mind though, many repairs on recent hardware will involve swapping out prefabricated parts, and for the most part doesn't require a vast knowledge of how the hardware works.

By anon49299 — On Oct 19, 2009

What's the salary difference between Manangement Info Sys and CE?

By anon45048 — On Sep 13, 2009

normally a salary for a CE is around $50,000 - $90,000 per annum.

By anon44766 — On Sep 10, 2009

What qualifications does one need to attain in order to enter the computer engineering field? -thando

By anon44326 — On Sep 07, 2009

can you tell me about opportunities for getting jobs after finishing the B.E computer engineering course? and also tell how much salary I can secure by being a general computer engineering?

By mikehough11 — On Aug 19, 2009

Can computer engineering be used in game engineering? Do you like your job? Do you enjoy your work? What is your annual salary?

By anon39746 — On Aug 04, 2009

how much can a computer engineer with a masters degree earn? ulrich

By anon34084 — On Jun 17, 2009

What are some career options for computer engineers after obtaining a B E Degree?

By anon32425 — On May 21, 2009

What math will I encounter?

By Diana — On Mar 02, 2009

Does a computer engineer have to read a lot and deal a lot with statistics?

Can a computer engineer fix electronics such as computers, mp3s. televisions, bluetooths, etc...

By anon26167 — On Feb 09, 2009

What is the career path to becoming a certified computer engineer?

By anon22186 — On Nov 29, 2008

@anon16185: You should be learning Calculus, Trigonometry, and all of the basic algebras I & II.

@newguy123: Just google it, like I googled "Top 10 Tech Colleges" and I came up with some good stuff, It depends on where you are living or where you want to go.

By anon18360 — On Sep 21, 2008

@anon13183: Web, Software and Hardware

By anon16185 — On Jul 31, 2008

what type of math will i be learning?

By newguy123 — On Jul 21, 2008

what college do you have to go to for a major in computer engineering.

By karly2188 — On Jul 02, 2008

I am majoring in Computer Engineering. What classes should I take?

By anon13183 — On May 21, 2008

What are three computer-related jobs?

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum

Writer

Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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