What is Computer Engineering?

Computer engineering is the process of analyzing and designing all of a computer system’s hardware, software, and operating systems. It’s a hybrid of two disciplines: computer science and electrical engineering. Computer science and engineering are frequently conflated, but the two fields are vastly different. While computer scientists are more concerned with electrical and software engineering, computer engineers are also educated in software design and hardware-software integration.

Computer networking is also a focus for computer engineers. They must apply their knowledge and understanding of logic and microprocessor systems, as well as computer architecture and interfacing, to their work. During their work, computer engineers may come up with solutions to major computer problems, resulting in the next big technological breakthrough.

In 1971, Case Western Reserve University was the first to offer a computer engineering program; however, there are now over 100 accredited universities worldwide. Students interested in majoring in this field should have a strong background in mathematics and science. Computer engineering will most likely be a good fit for a student who excels in these subjects. Computer engineers must also have strong attention to detail, teamwork, and analytical abilities. Because computer engineers frequently interact with customers and other professionals outside of the lab, good communication skills are also required.

Although the field of computer engineering is broad, most students concentrate on a few smaller areas. A student pursuing a degree in computer engineering may choose to focus on computer architecture, or how information is organized internally, as a major. Database systems, operating systems, and software engineering are some of the other areas of study. If a student studies any of these subjects, or a variety of others, they will bring a specialized advantage to the field of computer engineering.

Because of the rapid pace of technological advancements, this field is constantly growing and changing. As a result, it is critical that professionals continue to improve and learn new skills in order to stay on top of all new developments. Vendors, hardware and software manufacturers, colleges and universities, and other private institutions frequently require computer engineers to attend training seminars.

Computer engineering splits into two directions at some point. A professional must choose whether to focus on the technological side of the field or pursue a career that combines technology and management. If the latter option is chosen, he will need to continue his education taking additional business and finance courses, and an MBA may be required.