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What Does a Computer Engineer Do?

When you log into your laptop or launch a word processing application, there’s a strategy behind it. While developing a computer incorporates several moving parts and requires insight from teams, one of the most important roles is shouldered by the computer engineer. 

With a passion for innovation and a diverse skill set for solving problems and launching new initiatives, these engineers have the potential to transform the resources in high demand by consumers. 

As computer engineering is a field in high demand, it may be worth a look if you’re considering a career in technology. Indeed.com records an average salary of $87,274 per year, with thousands of current job openings. 

What Does a Computer Engineer Do? 8 Things You Should Know 

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The field of computer engineering can be diverse with several opportunities across experience, skill levels, and industry. Here we share some of the key things you will want to know as you explore your own possibilities in computer engineering. 

Develop Computer Hardware Systems

A key responsibility included in a computer engineer job description is constructing hardware to be used by the team in implementing a project. This often involves both the design phase and the actual development of the hardware. Their primary role is centered more around the electronics rather than the back end software design. However, their work involves both the hardware and software elements of computers. 

Their intricate work is often involved in each stage of development. From design to creation to testing, and finally launching a new hardware project, these engineers help to guide the process to ensure its success. 

Solve Problems 

Technology projects rarely go exactly as planned 100% of the time. A computer engineer helps to solve problems in each stage of tech projects. They use logic, allocated resources, and their own experiences to develop solutions to any and all challenges they encounter in any stage of the computer development process. 

At times, this problem solving may come in developing and installing security systems to prevent further concerns or practice safe and sustainable network operations. 

Implement Security System 

By creating solutions to problems that an organization is experiencing, a computer engineer may also be tasked to develop and implement security systems on both a hardware and software standpoint. Whether within a single computer or across an entire network, meeting technical needs and preserving the safety of valuable information and systems is a top priority for a computer engineer. 

A person working on a laptop
Computer engineers are responsible for developing and implementing software and hardware that meets organizational goals.

Work With Several Departments 

Within an organization, it’s likely that every employee is influenced by the network system or other technology requirements to perform their job. Computer engineers are often involved in providing the necessary equipment to communicate with colleagues and other stakeholders in accomplishing what needs to be done. They’re the first ones called when a network is down or a system breaks and needs to be fixed. 

Help Make Decisions 

Whether in an entry-level position or managerial role, a computer engineer contributes to making informed decisions to set a productive path forward in a project or maintaining the flow of operations with an organization’s tech resources. With their extensive skill set and knowledge, they help to make decisions that affect a project’s trajectory or in providing a resolution to a problem. 

Understand Programming 

One of the fundamental skills employers look for is fundamental programming skills. Understanding key programming languages helps them accomplish their work. Languages like Java or Python are often essential in computer engineering. 

Similar to software developers, programming is an essential skill that opens opportunities across the technology field. Coding and programming languages are the foundation for creating and solving problems in software design and development. 

Maintain a Diverse Skill Set 

In addition to programming-specific knowledge, these engineers also have other helpful skills that are valuable in project management and other areas of collaboration within a team. With their myriad of responsibilities in all stages of computer development, computer engineers work to turn visions into tangible results. 

This diverse skill set especially comes into play when the role of a computer engineer stretches beyond that of hardware to incorporate the responsibilities of a software engineer or network engineer. While some organizations may have the resources to bring on people who specialize in these individual areas of development, at times a computer engineer may be responsible for software programming, creating physical products, and align networks and systems for optimal cohesion. 

Work Across Industries

Computer engineers are often hired by organizations like schools or businesses to establish processes and structures in a database or other computer networks. They may be tasked with developing new hardware or processor or develop an automated system. In any case, these engineers serve a vital role in bringing the vision and goals of an organization into reality. They may gain work experience in one specific niche or explore opportunities across different industries to meet the needs of others. 

Career opportunities are available from an entry-level or higher up position. While most positions are full time, there is also an opportunity to explore more flexible, freelance, or contractor roles as well. Start off with a bachelor’s degree in a related field like computer science and move up with graduate education as you continue your path in computer engineering. You may also consider pursuing additional certifications in specialized areas like system design or hardware engineering to refine your skills even more. 

Get Started on Your Future as a Computer Engineer

Like other career paths in technology, computer engineering offers a wide range of opportunities for the market both today and in the future. With the important responsibility of designing and constructing computer systems to accomplish project goals, their services are needed by businesses and organizations. Begin building your foundation to advance in computer engineering. 

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