1. Computer engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering (or electrical engineering),software design, and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering. Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture.
Usual tasks involving computer engineers include writing software and firmware for embedded microcontrollers, designing VLSI chips, designing analog sensors, designing mixed signal circuit boards, and designing operating systems. Computer engineers are also suited for robotics research, which relies heavily on using digital systems to control and monitor electrical systems like motors,communications, and sensors.
In many institutions, computer engineering students are allowed to choose areas of in-depth study in their junior and senior year, because the full breadth of knowledge used in the design and application of computers is beyond the scope of an undergraduate degree. Other institutions may require engineering students to complete one year of General Engineering before declaring computer engineering as their primary focus.
2. Computer engineers continually push the capability and applicability of computers in every industry and every facet of modern life.
Boosting Capability & Usability
Computer engineers embed computers in other machines and systems, build networks to transfer data, and develop ways to make computers, faster, smaller, and more capable. Computer engineers are improving the ability of computers to "see" and "think." They are making computers more mobile, and even incorporating computers into fabrics, clothes, and building materials.
The Body and the Mind
Computer engineers are concerned with analyzing and solving computer-oriented problems. CPEs understand both the hardware and the software of computers. This enables them to choose the solution that is best, not just the one they know. Sometimes the answer to making a program more efficient is a change in the computer itself. Sometimes it's cheaper and faster to change the software than the hardware. The knowledge of both the "body" and the "mind" of a computer helps computer engineers work at the microscopic level and on a large, system-wide scale.
A Field of Its Own
Computer engineers use many of the principles and techniques of electrical engineering and many of computer science. Computer engineering, however, is more than a blend of two other fields.
The major technical areas of CPE:
- Design automation
- Machine intelligence
- Computer software
- Embedded Systems
Computer engineering graduates typically have some of the highest starting salaries in engineering. Computer engineers have the option of moving into hardware or software positions, or blending the two.
Typical industries hiring computer engineers, include financial services, computer manufacturers, chemical companies, defense contractors, consulting, transportation, manufacturing, and consumer goods. Computer engineers are equally successful in large multinational firms and small startups.