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Prospects of a Computer Engineer

  1. Apr 4, 2010 #1


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    How are the prospects looking for someone who has a degree in Computer Engineering? I figured that since technology improves by the minute, that a computer engineers are never going to be obsolete and there are going to be jobs available that actually pay well.

    Is that statement misguided or is there actually some truth to it? I want to make some money for myself and my future family but at the same time I don't want to do something that I'll despise, which is why I'm thinking of getting a degree in Comp Eng.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2010 #2
    Honestly, it depends on how well you expect to do. If you are a good student, there will be opportunities. I would check with your specific career services and computer engineering department to see how they've done previously with recruiting. The job market for computer engineers is and will keep being tough to break into, at slower than average growth. The starting pay is nearly $62k in the US with an undergraduate degree though, which is high. Companies are willing to pay for good computer engineers.

    See http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  4. Apr 4, 2010 #3


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    do you think places like Silicon Valley will continue to hire more computer engineers in the future?
  5. Apr 4, 2010 #4
    Yes, computer hardware engineers will still be needed in roughly the same numbers per the BLS. If your school has connections to Intel or Dell etc that will certainly help your chances. If not, you may have quite a bit of networking to do to make connections for internships at those or similar companies.
  6. Apr 5, 2010 #5
    Kote you make it seem as though it is really difficult to find a job if you are a competent CE unless your school has connections. I don't really think this is true, there are tons of jobs advertised especially in the Bay Area, while you might need an in of some sort to or a good deal of experience get a job at a brand name place it seems like there are enough smaller companies that finding a job is very doable. Also, don't almost all EE/CE programs have at least some kind of industry connections? I know my school has a Intel dude on the "Board of Advisers" but I guess which companies will represent depends on who is local.
  7. Apr 5, 2010 #6
    Right now I think it's pretty hard to get any job. You can get a job without prior connections... but it takes making your own connections. It takes a lot more work. And yeah, lots of schools have certain companies that will hire a lot of grads. It's worth investigating with your department and career services office to see if there are any companies like that where you are. On campus recruiting is another good way to actually get an interview. Many schools don't have many or any companies recruiting on campus though.
  8. Apr 5, 2010 #7
    Yea this is what gets me a bit worried, as I mentioned in a previous post,as I plan on moving across the country to Silicon Valley once I finish my degree. So my company won't have a ton of connections. They even state on there website that most grads from our program find jobs within 100 miles. Maybe I can link up to another location of one of the companies my school has connections with. Otherwise I think I'll just try my chances.
  9. Apr 5, 2010 #8
    See if you can connect with anyone out there... check your school's alumni network if they have one or see if anyone who has a job locally works somewhere with an office out in that direction. You can also try to see who is recruiting on campus at schools in the area, and see if you can get in contact with them at all. If you have to apply online, make sure you do it early. Most large companies take the majority of their new hires from their intern pool, and they make offers at the end of the previous summer.

    If you can get a name brand internship before you leave you'll have a much easier time finding somewhere new too. You might also be able to ask around at a local internship to see if anyone has connections out West.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  10. Apr 5, 2010 #9
    Being hired right out of school is always a special challenge that I can't really say anything about, but I think that things are beginning to pick up again in Silicon Valley. After a long period of sitting tight, I can see more companies starting to hire again.

    I'm fairly optimistic about the area (and the field) in general... while more jobs certainly are outsourced, there seem to be more jobs here as well. Things could always change, but...
  11. Apr 6, 2010 #10


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    is a Master's/Ph.D. degree important?
  12. Apr 6, 2010 #11

    D H

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    Yes, and much more than it was in the past. That's partly due to
    • The decreasing quality of undergraduate education. Why hire a freshout with (only) a bachelor's degree when that degree doesn't mean much anymore?
    • More and more students getting advanced degrees. Why hire a freshout with (only) a bachelor's degree when there are lots of freshouts with advanced degrees to choose from?
    • Offshoring. Why hire a freshout with (only) a bachelor's degree when there are tons of people in China, India, and Chile who can do the same low-level tasks at a fraction of the cost?
  13. Apr 6, 2010 #12
    Computer engineering undergrads are offered salaries out of school that are higher than in almost any other field. There is a demand for undergrads. I'm not sure I buy the declining curriculum argument, especially considering ABET accreditation in engineering. Competition from lower cost countries is definitely a concern if you don't have a strong undergraduate resume though.

    It depends what you want to do. If you plan on working in a lab at Intel or IBM coming up with the next processor technology, you probably want more than an undergrad degree. If you want to design routers at Cisco using components developed by others in labs, you can do it with a bachelor's degree. If you don't want to do engineering at all, but you want to manage Dell's supply chain, your best bet is to get work experience ASAP and then go for an MBA.
  14. Apr 6, 2010 #13
    Yep, just to add onto what D H has said, a graduate degree gives you more credential when moving up the corporate ladder. Also, some jobs simply don't hire bachelors. With that said, some people provide a counter argument by saying that graduate degrees can make you over-qualified for certain jobs.
  15. Apr 6, 2010 #14
    I can't say categorically that this has *never* happened to anyone in the computer industry... but I will say that after 20 years with a Ph.D. in the computer industry, I've never personally known anyone that it happened to.

    I'm very curious if it actually does happen... but it's one step away from being an urban legend for me.
  16. Apr 7, 2010 #15
    What exactly do you want to do as a "Computer Engineer"? Is it the advanced research into chips and fabrication techniques, cos in the UK that would be done by specialist EE boys. Is it Network design and admin or software development? It's such a huge area. What you really need in the UK for example is experience in these fields and I would expect Silicon Valley to be hiring programmers (easily out-sourced now though) and design specialists by the bundle.

    I currently work as a Computer Engineer although graduated as a Physicist. I require knowledge of scripting languages and System admin skills, specialising in messaging and databases. The going rate for a decent experienced tech here is around £35,000 (which is about $55,000), so enough to keep the family as long as the wife is working. The industry credentials are more important for that here than the BSc in CE. Most of the guys I know, and who are really good IT boys, don't have a degree at all.

    I suspect you're talking about taking part in advanced research and for that I'd look to get the postgrad qualification. The undergrad qual in the UK at least is very broad and doesn't really prepare people for real-world computing requirements. Just my opinion though.
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