What Do Computer Engineers Do?


Quick Answer

Computer engineers build computers and computer-based systems. They are responsible for designing both the hardware and software for computer systems. Typically, computer engineers are also responsible for testing hardware and supervising its installation.

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Computer engineering is the application of scientific principles to computer-related problems. The design of personal computers, supercomputers and workstations falls under this science. Likewise, computer engineers design computer systems for cars, planes, phones, electronics and similar types of products. Specific tasks of computer engineers include reading blueprints, writing reports and instructions, making data-driven decisions, and working in teams to solve hardware problems.

Computer engineers generally work for companies specializing in computers, such as Hewlett Packard or Texas Instruments. They also find jobs in industries that utilize computer systems. Some computer engineers transition into computer programming or working with the software in addition to the hardware.

Computer engineers must excel in both math and science. They should be analytical and efficient at solving problems, as the University of Houston states. Although the exact degree requirements vary by university, typically computer engineering students can expect to take classes in circuitry, electronics, software engineering and computer architecture. They also take upper-level math and science classes such as calculus, statistics, physics and chemistry.

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