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How to Become a Computer Engineer?

how to become a computer engineer

Are you considering becoming qualified to work as a computer engineer?

This job could be perfect for you if you have a solid knowledge of computer components and how they function. These skilled professionals help to develop a wide range of products like video game consoles and mobile phone innovations.

Computer engineers are always in demand, and there are usually plenty of jobs available for talented candidates. However, it can take time to gain the skills and qualifications you need, and this job is not for everyone.

So, let’s find out how to become a computer engineer and what this job involves.

how to become the computer engineer

What Does A Computer Engineer Do?

As the name suggests, computer engineering involves working with computers in a number of different ways. This includes developing, deploying, and maintaining different types of computer systems. Computer engineers are also responsible for working with different types of networks and infrastructure.

Most large organizations hire computer engineers to design and build networks and systems. They spend their time troubleshooting and maintaining those systems and updating them as necessary. Some companies also employ these talented professionals to create innovative software and technology that is targeted to their business.

Key Duties And Responsibilities

If you choose to do this job, you could be assigned a wide range of different tasks. However, these tasks typically fall into three main categories. So, here are the main duties and responsibilities you are likely to be charged with regularly.

Designing computer hardware

This job involves having a good working knowledge of computer components like routers, circuit boards, and processors. You need to follow project specifications to create blueprints and models before beginning the building process. You also have to take compatibility, power, and size into account during the design phase.

Testing and documenting progress

This stage involves testing different components and making modifications when necessary. If the software is not running correctly, you need to analyze the data to pinpoint the problem. You need to thoroughly document any fixes you perform to create a comprehensive record for all systems and components.

Collaborating with colleagues

You will usually work as part of a team of IT professionals when you do this job. To design and test software, you need to collaborate with software engineers, designers, and other people. It is necessary to be able to seek advice and provide information so that the IT department runs smoothly.

Important Skills And Attributes

In order to do this job well, you need to have a range of hard and soft skills. The hard skills can be taught during special courses, while the soft skills relate to personality traits. Here are the main skills and attributes you need to have to be a successful computer engineer.


This is one of the most important hard skills you need to learn to do the job. You need to have deep knowledge of several different types of coding. The necessary information can be gained through both formal education and online courses.


You need to have a good understanding of cybersecurity when coding software and programs. When working with sensitive information, it is essential to keep it private and protected at all times.

Software development

You need to understand common frameworks for different types of software development. You must have a good working knowledge of various software development structures. This will help you to quickly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve program issues.


It is often necessary to work closely as part of a team and train new employees. You need to be able to explain complex information as clearly and concisely as possible. You may also need to explain the software to clients who have limited technical knowledge.


You need to be able to brainstorm with other employees to develop new software and solve issues. It is often necessary to think outside of the box to come up with innovative solutions.

how to become the computer engineers


When debugging programs and finding glitches, you will often be faced with technical challenges. It is necessary to be able to identify the issue quickly and come up with ways of fixing it. In some cases, you may need to suggest many solutions for clients to choose from.

The Steps

You need special skills and qualifications to work as a computer engineer. It can take several years to become qualified, which takes dedication and drive. Here is an overview of the steps you can take to complete the process.

Get educated

You usually need a bachelor’s degree before you can even think about looking for work. If possible, it is best to complete a degree in computer engineering, although some other courses teach the necessary skills.

These include computer science, computer information systems, and engineering. The course will feature both lectures and practical lab instruction and usually takes four years to complete.

Consider a Master’s Degree

Completing a master’s degree is a good way to secure a higher-paying job and gain more responsibility. Many technical colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in computer engineering. The course includes advanced coursework and usually takes two years to complete.

Complete an internship

While you are completing your bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can join a summer internship. These internships usually run for ten or twelve weeks in the summer semester break. You will have the opportunity to work alongside trained professionals and pick up practical skills. If the internship goes well, it could lead to a full-time position after you graduate.

Get certified

After gaining your degree, it is a good idea to get a professional certification. Although this is not technically needed to secure work, it will show employers you have the necessary skills and knowledge. Several types of professional certifications emphasize your knowledge about specific technologies.

CompTIA offers a wide range of certifications for computer engineers. The CompTIA Network+ program is ideal for entry-level workers, while the CompTIA Project+ is also a good option. Other good options include the certifications offered by Cisco and the IEEE Computer Society.

Work on your resume

Now it’s time to create a resume that reflects your skills and expertise. It is a good idea to check out different job templates to see the types of skills employers are looking for. Completed coursework, experience, and certifications in software development and software engineering should all be highlighted in your resume.

Now you are ready to start searching for the perfect job. Make sure you read job postings carefully and create a cover letter that reflects the keywords in the post. Do as much research into the company and position as possible and be prepared to answer technical questions during the interview.

Different Specializations

Choosing a specialization can help you excel in your field and secure a higher salary. It is a good idea to check out the different types of specializations and select one that matches your skills. Here are the main specializations that you can choose from.

Processor design

This process involves choosing an instruction set along with an execution paradigm. This specialization is also known as CPU design of data paths, control units, and clock circuitry.

Coding, cryptography, and information protection

This specialization is focused on using coding, cryptography, and information protection to protect sensitive data. You are likely to work with encryption to protect music and digital images from copyright infringement. These specialists typically work with multi-antenna systems, wireless communications, digital watermarking, and optical transmission.

Communications and wireless networks

Most large companies hire these specialists to update and innovate their communication systems. As a result, people who choose this specialization are in high demand. Tasks can include designing high-speed networks, storage, and specialized transmission systems.

Compilers and operating systems

This specialization is perfect if you have an affinity for different types of operating systems. This specialization is likely to allow you to become an IT manager. You will mainly be charged with troubleshooting existing operating systems, designing new ones, and implementing innovations.

Computational science and engineering

This is a relatively new discipline that focuses on formulating and solving complex mathematical engineering problems. This specialization is perfect for people who have a head for numbers and enjoy solving complicated equations.

Specializing in this area could allow you to work on VLSI circuit design, semiconductor wafers, radar detection systems, and related technologies.

Computer networks, mobile computing, and distributed systems

This specialization allows you to build integrated environments for communications, computing, and information access. This can include adaptive resource management, shared-channel wireless networks, and ATM environments. You could also work on Ethernet cluster wired systems and wireless network systems.

Computer Engineering Credentials

There are lots of different credentials in this field that you can work for to gain knowledge and skill. These advanced credentials show that you have technical proficiency in a particular aspect. Let’s take a look at some of the main advanced credentials and what they involve.

Professional Software Engineering Master Certification

This is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society and consists of proficiency certificates in twelve knowledge areas. These include software engineering construction, software engineering quality, and software engineering management. After completing the specified coursework, you need to pass two advanced module exams to gain certification.

how to become a computer engineer guide

Cisco Certified Network Professional Wireless

Gaining this certification demonstrates your technical expertise in wireless networking principles as well as design, implementation, installation, and operation. You need to pass a series of four exams to gain certification. This certification can also help you secure a job with Cisco or one of the company’s subsidiaries.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

This certification has been designed for engineering and IT professionals who work with on-premise and cloud-based computing systems. This includes server infrastructure, business intelligence, device management, desktop infrastructure, and messaging.

Certified Computer Security Incident Handler

The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University sponsors this certification. It has been specially designed for people who work in networking security and administration. You need to have professional experience and pass an advanced exam to secure this certification.

Computer Engineering Professional Organizations

Joining an organization is a great way to make connections with other professionals. Most organizations offer their members resources and run seminars and networking events throughout the year. Here are some of the main professional organizations that are open to members.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

IEEE boasts nearly 400,000 members and is the top worldwide organization for computing, engineering, and technology information. Members are given access to a wide range of networking opportunities as well as publications and educational programs. This allows computer engineers of all types to take their careers to the next level.

Association of Computer Engineers and Technicians

This non-profit association was founded in 2004 and has more than 14,000 members worldwide. Members are treated to a whole host of insurance and warranty services as well as discounts on essential products. The association also offers its members legal support as well as special training programs and resources.

Association for Women in Computing

The professional can be a bit of a boy’s club, and the Association for Women in Computing helps address the balance. Female computer engineers are provided with professional networking opportunities where they can make valuable connections within the industry. Other benefits of membership include mentorship resources and continuing education programs.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

This association has been established to serve underrepresented minorities who are pursuing postgraduate degrees in engineering. Members gain access to career resources, scholarships, and the executive speaker series. The NACME also partners with private corporations and holds regular events to help support and connect members.

Computer Programming Info And Guides!

If you’ve already started on your journey into IT… Congratulations! But, it doesn’t get any easier, so check out these amazing finds from study guides to handbooks galore!

Firstly, I recommend the Computer Programming for Absolute Beginners, Computer Programming: The Most Complete Crash Course, or how about the Computer Science Principles: The Foundational Concepts of Computer Science, and the Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science to improve your skills.

Secondly, why not try reading up on The Art of Computer Programming, or Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach, and Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective, along with the Introduction to Algorithms and Computer Science Illuminated, all available online in 2023.

Finally, we move on to A Programmer’s Guide to Computer Science: A virtual degree for the self-taught developer, which is extremely insightful, as well as Intro to Python for Computer Science and Data Science: Learning to Program with AI, Big Data and The Cloud to help with those practice exams.

Final Thoughts

As long as businesses use technology, computer engineers will always be in demand.

The average salary for this role is around $115,000 per year. You will also receive an additional benefits package that includes dental, medical, and vision insurance.

Gaining a master’s degree and other advanced qualifications can boost your salary considerably. You can also specialize in an area of computer engineering that is in demand to receive a higher paycheck. If you excel in your career. You could earn up to $180,000 per year over time.

Good luck with your new career in Computer Engineering!

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