A career in computer engineering can offer many benefits. But it’s not always the easiest field to break into, and not everyone is suited to the task.
There are a number of things you’ll need to be successful in computer engineering. These requirements break down into three general categories: personality traits, education requirements, and certifications and credentials.
When it comes to education requirements, we can help you get ready for a computer engineering career. Check out our rankings for the Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Degrees and the Best Online Master’s in Computer Engineering Degrees to find the right program for your future.
Computer engineering requires excellent logic and analytical reasoning skills. Particularly if you plan to work with hardware design or manufacture, it helps to have a strong inclination towards mechanics and physical sciences.
If you’re someone who loved calculus and geometry while all your friends complained about it, computer engineering could be a perfect choice for you. Nearly any job in computer engineering will rely strongly on mathematical skills.
Computer engineers frequently find themselves working with clients and employers who may not have the same technical background that they do. Engineers will need to be able to clearly explain technical concepts in layman’s terms in order to make themselves understood. They will also have to take clients’ instructions and requests and translate them into functional solutions.
Some computer engineers will also participate in writing technical manuals or training staff in the use of hardware or software. Strong written and verbal communication skills are important for these aspects of a computer engineer’s job.
While associate’s degrees are a great way to cut down on college costs, you won’t necessarily want to stop at a two-year degree. Job opportunities for computer engineers that only require an associate’s degree are fairly rare. The ones that are available, such as computer support specialist, generally pay much less than the jobs at the next educational tier.
The majority of computer engineering job titles will require at least a bachelor’s degree. Occupations like computer hardware engineer, computer network architect, and database administrator will all typically set a Bachelor of Science as the minimum required education.
Some occupations, such as electronics engineer, may only strictly require a bachelor’s degree. But getting a master’s degree will make it easier to find a job, and it will also likely lead to a higher salary compared to a candidate with only an undergraduate degree.
Doctorate degrees are most often reserved for professionals who are pursuing a career in academia. A Ph.D. can allow you to become a published researcher and professor at a university. On the other hand, a Doctor of Engineering degree can pave the way to leadership positions within the computer engineering field.
Certifications and Credentials
Computer engineering does not have any strict licensure or certification requirements in order to practice this profession. But if you’ve been out of school for a while, or if you don’t have a formal degree, you may want to consider a professional certification.
Your career goals and area of specialization will determine which certification makes the most sense to pursue. For example, if you work or plan to work in a management positions where you oversee other computer science professionals, you might consider a certification from the Project Management Institute.
Other certifications are specific to the area of computer engineering where you work. IBM provides an extensive array of certifications for computer science professionals, and so does Microsoft.