What Is Computer Engineering?

Computer engineering is the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering.

The range of computer engineering occupations is broad and varied. There are also a wide variety of options when it comes to earning a degree in computer engineering. Visit our rankings for the Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Degrees and the Best Online Master’s in Computer Engineering Degrees for some of the most outstanding academic programs in this discipline.

Here’s what Technopedia has to say about this field:

“Computer engineering allows professionals to engage in a number of areas such as analyzing and designing anything from simple microprocessors to highly featured circuits, software design, and operating system development. Computer engineering is not limited to operating computer systems but is aimed at creating a broad way to design more comprehensive technological solutions.”

The field of computer engineering is a unique combination of practical and abstract, physical and digital. Depending on a student’s individual interests and strengths, a computer engineering degree can focus on either hardware engineering or software engineering. (We cover software engineering as its own specialization here.)

Computer engineers might be responsible for writing code for software, designing VLSI chips and microcontrollers, or implementing a distributed network. The unique and valuable skills of computer engineers are in demand in a wide variety of industries, including communications, consumer electronics, healthcare and medicine, automotive technology, games and entertainment, and many more.

One of the most exciting aspects about a career in this field is that computer engineering is no longer confined to computers. Thanks to the rapid pace of technological advances, there are more opportunities than ever to work in computer engineering.

Wearable technology, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things—all of these developments are breaking the boundaries of what we once considered computers. No longer restricted to the traditional keyboard-and-mouse model, computers now exist in all kinds of forms and for all kinds of purposes.

Although computer engineering is mostly concerned with the design and implementation of hardware, there are a myriad of specialties and concentrations within the industry.

With a degree in computer engineering, you can easily pursue a career in computer architecture, network administration, database management, cyber security, and numerous other areas. To learn more about the specializations within computer engineering, take a look at our FAQ post: “What Are the Specializations Within Computer Engineering?”

How do you know if computer engineering is right for you? A career in this industry require outstanding mathematical skills and strong analytical and problem solving abilities. It also requires precision, attention to detail, and a great deal of patience. Most people must be willing to commit to at least a bachelor’s degree before they can get their first job in computer engineering.

If this describes you, then you could be a perfect candidate for a computer engineering career.