What Types of Careers are in Computer Engineering?

If you’re thinking you might like to work in a STEM job, perhaps you’re wondering about the types of careers in computer engineering. What are some typical job titles in this field, and what are the corresponding job descriptions like? What differentiates these career paths from each other? Will a computer engineering major lead to a worthwhile career? Let’s discuss some of the most common jobs available in the field of computer engineering.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers are the innovators who produce new computer systems and components such as processors, networks, switches, circuit boards, routers, firewalls and memory devices. They draw schematics of the new systems they want to build. They also spend time improving the efficiency and speed of existing hardware and adding new features. Most computer hardware engineers are well paid. The median yearly salary for these professionals is $115,080, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Network Engineer

A network engineer is adept at designing, developing, maintaining and troubleshooting computer networks and providing accurate documentation for colleagues to use. They often discover and implement new technologies to improve their networks’ reliability, speed and performance.

Many employers have moved their operations to cloud networks and therefore require their network engineers to have experience working with and maintaining cloud infrastructure. Some employers require their network engineers to have experience with maintaining VPN or WIFI infrastructure. Some employers expect their network engineers to assume responsibility for network security. As of 2016, network engineers were earning median yearly salaries of $79,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer Software Engineer

Software engineers create computer code and polish it into finished software products that solve a variety of problems for businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals. Software engineers typically need to have broad knowledge and skills in multiple computer programming languages. Troubleshooting problematic code is an important facet of the job description.

This is one of the fastest-growing types of computer engineering specializations. Strong demand for software engineers is motivating employers to add new software engineering jobs to the US economy at a rate of 17 percent. Software engineers get paid median yearly wages of $102,280, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Firmware Engineer

Firmware engineers work to develop algorithms that control a variety of different devices. For example, an employer in the utilities industry might hire a firmware engineer to design computerized components for energy storage systems. That sort of job might also entail customizing the features to enable remote wireless control, monitoring and diagnosis of the systems. Nowadays, increasing numbers of vehicles, household electronics and medical devices incorporate computer chips. These sorts of items may also be internet-enabled.

The internet of things is likely to create a wealth of new opportunities for firmware engineers. The challenge will be to transform the existing standalone embedded systems into interconnected networks of internet-enabled devices. According to CNN, the average annual salary for a firmware engineer is $100,000.

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These are not your only possible career choices as a computer engineering major, but they are some of the most common careers in the computer engineering field right now. If you study computer engineering in college, your career opportunities are likely to be broad and varied after graduation. You’ll have the option to pursue any of these types of careers in computer engineering.