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What exactly does a computer engineer do?

I'd like to know because I'm learning about this in school and considering it as my career. engineering

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Iliya’s Answer

Computer Engineering involves working at the low level of computer infrastructure. Most computer engineers work with circuit designs, low level firmware, and integrating components into larger systems. It is a discipline that is more software oriented and less hardware oriented than Electrical Engineering which is more concentrated on actual circuit and hardware design. Yet it is also more hardware oriented and less software oriented than Software Engineering which is concerned with writing the higher level software to run on the machines.


Think of it this way:


Electrical Engineers design the hardware that runs code


Software Engineers write the software programs to run on the hardware designed by Electrical Engineers


Computer Engineers take care of linking the hardware and the software by designing intermediate hardware and writing low level firmware for it.


So do you spend all day writing programs? Or are you working on electronics in a lab? Or both? John F.

As a software engineer I currently spend my day writing programs exclusively. I did my Master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering so when I was working on that I had to deal with much more hardware and electronics in a lab. Iliya Koreshev

As a software engineer I currently spend my day writing programs exclusively. I did my Master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering so when I was working on that I had to deal with much more hardware and electronics in a lab. Iliya Koreshev

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David’s Answer

Check out: https://careervillage.org/questions/95/what-do-computer-engineers-do (As a software engineer, I can vouch for the replies; they're excellent)

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Sharon H. Thanks so much for your question. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

I think one of the many cool things about what a computer engineer does is that it often isn't the same. Part of the reason why there is variety in the type of work that a computer engineer does is because technology, which is the basis for lots of computer engineering, is constantly changing. In fact, I suggest to you that if you are seeking a career where the job is exact, you may find that computer engineering is not necessarily in that bucket.

As mentioned in previous answers, computer engineers do lots of things and I will add that they can do this work in areas of business or in areas of academia, that aren't considered typical IT areas. For example a computer engineer could be useful in creating an app, because maybe that computer engineer has an interest (or love) of coding...but the app itself could be use as an environmental tool or to help people learn how to speak different languages.

In my opinion, it is the limitless possibilities of the application of computer engineering that makes what a computer engineer does so very interesting, and for people who chose that field, it can be a very long lasting and rewarding career.

Best of luck to you!
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Brian’s Answer

There are several names for the engineering disciplines that involve computers: software developer, software engineer, computer scientist, computer engineer, and others. The term computer engineer usually means engineers who work with the actual hardware of the computer, rather than the software; but they need to know a lot about software, so computer engineering would include courses on software. Computer engineers also take courses on electrical engineering, because they need to know something about the electronic circuits inside the computer. It is a good example of engineering disciplines that are hybrids, requiring a combination of skills for multiple engineering disciplines.

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