Computer Engineer: Duties & Salary

Gina L | July 29, 2009

If you’ve ever been called a computer geek, good for you! A career as a computer engineer can be a fulfilling and lucrative career for those with a knack for computer science.

What does a computer engineer do?
Computer engineers work to design, build, test, and implement hardware and software applications for computer networks in a variety of settings, from home office to big business. Since even the smallest businesses rely on some type of computer system for their daily tasks, computer engineers are known to work all over the map in both the private and public sectors.

Computer engineers specializing in software need to be fluent in a variety of programming languages, like Java, C++, and COBOL. Being well-versed in the Internet is an absolute must, as many businesses have or want to establish a website or web applications in order to grow their client bases.

Computer engineers who specialize in computer hardware work in research, design, development, testing, and supervision of all aspects of the manufacturing and installing of computer hardware. The hardware of a computer includes chips, circuit boards, systems, keyboards, modems, printers, and other related equipment. Some computer hardware engineers have a background in electronics because the two fields are related, because computer hardware involves circuitry.

How much do computer engineers get paid and what kinds of computer engineer jobs can I get?
Computer engineers will be in hot demand as computer networks grow in importance for companies both large and small. As a computer engineer, you can find employment in a variety of industries in both the public and private sectors, such as business, telecommunications, government, and health care. Computer engineers specializing in the Internet will be successful in finding employment for businesses that rely on a Web presence for interacting with clients.

According to a 2006 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of computer software engineers was close to $80,000.

Computer technology grows at a rapid pace, and therefore the demand for skilled professionals in computer engineering will also grow quickly. The demand for computer software engineers will be especially high as businesses look to acquire more sophisticated technology in order to keep up with or exceed the competition.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer software engineers is expected to grow by nearly 38 percent by the year 2016. This amounts to approximately 324,000 new jobs and one of the biggest increases among all industries.

If you are looking for a career in an industry that will continue to flourish despite whatever bad news hits Wall Street, network your way into a job as a computer engineer.



How To Become A Computer Programmer

Gina L | July 22, 2009

Behind the scenes of your PC or Mac there are dozens of programs working to ensure that all runs smoothly. The people responsible for creating and updating these software programs are known as computer programmers and may specialize in one type of computer programming language or more. But where do they get this knowledge and where does it take them? Read on to find out.

How do I become a computer programmer?
If you’re thinking about a computer programming career, you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of computer codes from a reputable school of higher education or program. Although you maybe able to land a position as a computer programmer with a certificate or two-year associate degree, most computer programmers hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. As with most professions, the more you learn, the more job mobility you’ll enjoy.

If you’re looking to earn a certificate or two-year associate degree, you’ll probably end up attending either a career school or community college. However, if you want to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher, you’ll most likely need to finish your schooling at a traditional four-year college or university. (In some cases you can complete an associate degree at a community college and then spend two years at a traditional college to earn your bachelor’s.)

Once you have the proper credentials, you should be able to land a job in any of a number of software- and computer-related industries. Most of today’s companies need computer programmers on staff, whether it’s because their business is creating software or because they need specially designed software to cater to their business’ needs.

What will I learn in a computer programming school?
At their roots, computer programs are intricate lines of code used to call up other programs and data from a computer’s resources. Over the years, a variety of codes have been created evolving into either essential computer programming tools or passing fads.

Depending on whether the computer programmer works on software in general, or a specific program or type, she or he may learn and work in a few different code languages. Computer programmers are also tasked with seeking out bugs in programs, fixing them, and updating/replacing them as needed. When you attend a computer programming school you’ll learn everything you need to know about these computer languages, how to work in them, and how to maximize their effectiveness. You’ll practice writing lines of codes, programming computers, and debugging various computer programs.

Your lessons and exams won’t be exclusively on the computer, though. Many teachers will expect you to be able to code by hand (using just a pen and paper) as well as by computer. This helps ensure that you know your computer programming codes inside and out and aren’t relying upon cheats or the auto-correcting abilities that many computer programs come with these days.

Once you have your computer programming degree or certificate in hand, you’re well on the way to getting hired!

Every time you turn on your computer or start up some new software, you’re relying upon the hard work of computer programmers around the nation. Though PCs and Macs are amazingly user-friendly and simple to use these days, the truth is that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on that involves complicated computer programming languages and hours of tweaking and debugging. Interested in learning more about the day-to-day work of a computer programmer? Then you should keep reading…

What does a computer programmer do?
To a computer programmer, java isn’t just how they start their day, it’s one of the many different computer programming languages that they use to create and manipulate software that will accomplish the tasks that they want. Everything on your computer, from a simple game like Solitaire to a complex application like GarageBand, relies upon many lines of code to interact with the user and carry out various tasks. Computer programmers are the ones who code the software and debug it when problems arise.

But you won’t just find computer programmers working for big name corporations like Microsoft and Apple, you’ll also find them working for private companies and businesses, creating industry-specific software and programs that respond to the needs of their coworkers.

During your time at a computer programming school, you’ll learn the programming languages you need to get started in the industry. Your schooling may last from two to four years depending upon whether you wish to earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, but be aware that most computer programmers today have a bachelor’s degree — though an associate degree can still land you certain positions.

How much do computer programmers get paid and what kinds of computer programming jobs can I get?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earning for wage-and-salary computer programmers was $65,510 as of 2006. Meanwhile, the mid-50 percent of wage-and-salary computer programmers were paid somewhere in the range of $49,580 and $85,080 annually. To further compare, the top 10 percent of earners had a yearly salary of more than $106,610 while the bottom 10 percent was paid less than $38,460.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decline in employment opportunities in computer programming, there will always be job openings in this field as people retire or leave for other positions.

Computer programmers are an essential part of today’s economy and its industries. Though more than at home in the computer field and related areas, computer programmers can also be found working for places like schools, government agencies, and everyday companies. Wherever there’s a need for a personalized program or software that’s uniquely designed for an industry/company, you’ll find a computer programmer working to make it happen.

Thanks to the PC-driven nature of their jobs, many computer programmers choose to work from their own homes and offices. Referred to as telecommuting, this work arrangement allows computer programmers greater flexibility and efficiency.