What do computer engineers do ?

I'm a freshman in high school who is interesting in technology/computers and i want to know what this career is and what they do.

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Asked Jan 06 '12 at 14:55
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AishaCodman2 .

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Akshat Pradhan code, security, and user experience
Boston Technology Last updated Apr 07 at 08:46

Computer engineers are hardware hackers who work on making hardware "Do things." For example, they can program the thermostat in your house to be remotely controlled via your iPhone. They are heavy on the programming side and on the hardware side. They work with chips, IC's, and other gadgetry. They tinker with things. Soldering, oscilloscopes, bread boards, and getting zapped by electricity are just some of the fun things we get.

If you want to get started in computer engineering, you should take a look at the awesome freedom-loving folks over at Arduino. http://www.arduino.cc/

See that thing in the palm of that dude's hand? Yeah, that's what they play with on the side. Using that little thing and plenty of reading, amateur's such as yourself can make earthquake detectors, lawnmowers, credit card readers, and all kinds of other fun stuff. The most fun part is playing pranks. I built this device in high school that made cricket chirping sounds and put it in the teacher's room. She couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. The Principal called in the exterminator 4 times and they still couldn't find it. It was great. After doing it for about 5 years, Intel will look at you and go, "oh wow."

Three comments

Kyle Doherty
Dec 30 '13 at 12:16

Here is a website that shows some really cool things people have made with Arduino: http://www.instructables.com/id/20-Unbelievable-Arduino-Projects/

Michael K.
Mar 31 at 18:05

Thank you so much!

Manuel B.
Apr 07 at 08:46

Thank you so much!

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Jared Chung Founder at CareerVillage.org
Boston, MA Nonprofit management Last updated Jan 08 '12 at 22:56

Computer engineering is the creation and improvement of hardware/software interface, chips, memory, FPGA, and the "architecture" inside your computer. Computer engineers work many capacities in designing computers (including desktop computers, mainframe computers, routers, smartphones, and any specialty devices), improving performance for computers, or helping companies make use of computers.

For additional information, you can check out the "computer engineering" entry in wikipedia here, and this nice explanation of the difference between computer engineering and electrical engineering in this Quora post: here.

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engineer87
Last updated Mar 31 at 17:52

I was an engineering major in college and now I hire computer engineers for my businesses.

There are different types of computer engineers. Some computer engineers spend a lot of time designing hardware and chips, and they spend a lot of time with advanced (and very exciting to use) tools like CAD, circuit design and circuit layout tools. These are typically programs that run on high performance computers and sometimes supercomputers. Other computer engineers focus on the low level operation of the semiconductor chip itself, and design arithmetic logic flows and design chip building blocks like Flip-Flops, NAND memory cells, ALUs (arithmetic logic units), and advanced building blocks like pipelines, carry look-ahead logic, and multiprocessor RAM synchronization. All of these concepts sound big and complex but when you visualize them and start playing with them, they're fascinating and very approachable.

One comment

Kamrul H.
Mar 31 at 17:52

Certain answers seem boring. Is it boring and too much work.

Michael Kehoe Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) at LinkedIn
San Francisco Bay Area Internet Last updated Feb 21 at 12:08

Computer Engineers generally have a wider skill set than say a Software Engineer. Computer Engineers usually have a good understanding of hardware (electronics), software and all of the respective systems that make a computer work. If you have a general interest in computer engineering, you can pursue a number of careers after you finish studying. These include: Site Reliability Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Network Engineering, Hardware Design Engineer

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Jason Shao Software Engineer at LinkedIn
Ottawa, Canada Area Computer Software Last updated Feb 21 at 12:53

I am actually a Software Engineer who is pursuing an Engineering Degree right now. I see that a lot of comments are about hardware positions, but I think it's fair to say that there are quite a few computer engineers in the software industry as well. They also do their fair share of both high level coding and low-level hardware analysis. I truly believe that computer engineering is one of the most amazing career paths out there.

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Christine Matheney Technical Evangelist at Microsoft
San Francisco Bay Area Computer Software Last updated Mar 31 at 20:12

Hi! So there are many many things you can do with a degree in computer engineering. There are really 2 flavors.

  1. Computer Engineering. This is more of a hardware side. You know how you have RAM in your computer, and a hard drive? Some computer engineers design how those work within the computer.

  2. Software engineering. Software engineers design things like the apps on your smart phone, or things like Microsoft office. They can also write programs which control things like the space shuttle or the Tesla Car.

With a degree in computer engineering, you can really do both, and as you learn more in school, you can find what's a best fit for you.

Also, what I did was get a degree in Computer Engineering, and then went into teaching. What I do as an evangelist is help people build apps for smart phones and teach people how to use technology. It's a super awesome job!

With a degree in computer engineering, the opportunities are limitless!

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kaykay24say
Last updated Jan 29 '13 at 15:26

well i'm a 7th grader at Oms north in Kentucky and Computer engineers they make and work through the computer system using many things.

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