Like the architects that helped push the European Renaissance forward hundreds of years ago, the computer engineering of today create the underpinning and framing of the digital world that surrounds us. In the infancy of the internet, it was possible to qualify for positions in this field without a formal education. Decades later, though, high-paying software engineering jobs in this field require a bachelor’s degree at minimum.
The best candidates for software engineering jobs are those with a combination of creativity, analytical skills and a driving interest in the mechanics of bytes, megabits and microprocessors. This means that the field is dominated by men, but with a 21 percent increase in available computer engineering jobs over the next decade, opportunities for women will surely increase.
When choosing among computer engineering schools, look for coursework that will familiarize you with multiple programming languages such as Java, C++ and Python. You will also want classes in computer systems administration, internet programming, data structures and algorithms and database design. A minority of jobs are available for those who only hold certificates in specific programs or who have earned associates degrees, but a four-year software engineer degree will guarantee employment. A specialized master’s degree in computer arts or computers and business can result in even higher pay.
In the world of business, software engineering jobs can be found either at companies that specialize in computers or, increasingly, at companies that require in-house software to accomplish tasks such as billing, database management and even email and online advertising. The average salary for an engineer is more than $90,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generally speaking, compensation grows the more education, specialization and experience you obtain.
Careers in the video gaming sector are among the most competitive in the computer engineering industry. Luckily, one of the requirements for this work is experience playing the games themselves. You will also need to work closely with game designers and marketers, not to mention graphic artists and investors.
Regardless of your area of emphasis, you will need to be an expert problem-solver to succeed. This skill can range from “swatting bugs” in existing programs to conceptualizing electronic solutions for everyday business operations such as invoicing or human resources management. In many software engineering jobs, that results in a relatively constant influx of new projects. For that reason, the best engineers have a finely honed ability to concentrate fully on one task at a time.
A problem that has plagued recent computer engineering students has been the relative ease of outsourcing technology departments overseas, to places like China and India. There, much of the same work that U.S. engineers perform can be performed at much lower wages. To remain relevant in the global economy, build top-notch communication skills and be willing to travel nationally and internationally on relatively short notice. You might also consider training in foreign languages so you can manage employees that may be continents away.
When software engineers build the web pages and complex programs that make the digital world possible, they outline the way we think, communicate and even prioritize. The world is changing right alongside the very experience of being human. You can quality for software engineering jobs by completing a computer engineering degree. North Orion has more information on computer programming, the skills you need to succeed and the educational opportunities available.