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What does a Computer Engineer do?

Are you the guy that spends time inventing better ways to get things done? Do you have superior math skills and creative problem solving abilities? Are you analytically minded? Are you a people person, capable of managing others? Do you want, or already have computer programming skills? If the answers to these questions are a definite yes, you are a good candidate for becoming a computer engineer.

computer engineer

People that become computer engineers normally specialize in a niche of programming, such as in robotics, operating systems, architecture or a combination of these, such as programming and architecture. The field is multi-layered and there are many different options available for computer engineers to explore.

Computer engineering degrees can be obtained at the associate, bachelor. masters and Phd levels. Post graduate certification is recommended. Obtaining gainful employment after obtaining an associates degree in computer engineering is highly unlikely. The most recommended path is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, or other related computer science field and work at an internship, either while attending college, or after graduation.

The field of computer engineering is complex, and offers many different areas of study. Some areas of study include: software engineering, hardware engineering, network engineering and computer engineering technologies. These areas offer aspiring engineers a plethora of fields to work in. Whether you want to work on computer circuitry to create the most powerful handheld computer in existence, or software that integrates programs to make complex computing easier, you can find a degree program to fulfill your career aspirations.

The world of computer engineering is all around us. Automatic doors, smart phones, parking assistance in automobiles, optometric exam equipment, factory lines; all of these have been engineered. The field is so vast it’s expected to experience growth of 32% in the coming years.

What does a Computer Programmer do?

Computer Programming as a Career

Computer programming has come a long way since the days of binary basic code. There are many computer languages, and all require a different skill set. They all have one thing in common, a need for a masterful set of math skills and a creative mind. An eye for detail is also important, as coding requires very specific syntax.

computer programmer

There are a variety of coding languages. Programmers often develop on Linux, it is considered a programmer’s platform. Two important programming languages include C++ and Python. Both languages execute very specific tasks unique to their coding.

As with many industries, companies are sending jobs overseas and computer programming is no exception. The industry is expected to experience a 3% decrease in job availability according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Computer Programmer’s Lifestyle

Some employers stress production and push their programmers to produce more, faster and with a 100% accuracy rate. You may need to put in long hours, including nights and weekends while on salary, meaning no overtime pay. Some do thrive on this type of stress. A post graduate degree affords the programmer more flexibility. These computer programmers may write their own ticket for very specialized skills. Finding the right working conditions as a programmer may take several tries. Some experienced computer programmers even end up working primarily from home.

Computer Programmer Common Qualities

The ideal computer programmer qualities include these traits: patience, logic, superior math skills, an almost obsessive attention to detail, patience, a creative knack for design elements and style, and an ability to be precise. Coding can sometimes be monotonous as you comb through thousands of lines, trying to find the one element that is incorrect while debugging. Being able to stay focused and not get distracted is important. Writing code with the anticipation of future changes is a tremendous asset.

Educational Requirements

Degree requirements are generally a bachelors or masters degree in computer science or a related field with programming skills. Significant course topics typically include:

  • Introduction to Commands
  • Defining Commands
  • Iteration
  • Animation
  • Procedure Inputs
  • Pixel Graphics
  • Defining Operators
  • Hierarchy

What does a Software Developer do?

A software developer creates software, overseeing the process from design to completion. As a software developer, you may be involved in each stage of the software development process, from identifying user requirements to producing successive iterations of the product.

software developer

Software developer: the job description

Software developers develop rather than engineer software. As IEEE Computer Society defines it, software developers participate in the ongoing process of executing a software design. Software engineers, by contrast, focus on the initial design phase of software research and development.

Software developers work with the product from start to finish. Key steps in the software development process include:

  • Identify user requirements
  • Develop operational specifications for the software
  • Code the application
  • Test the product
  • Iterate coding and testing until the product meets specifications

Software developers may specialize in applications development or systems development. Applications developers work with other technical specialists such as database developers to produce specialized computer tools. Systems developers, meanwhile, create operating system software such as compilers and network utilities.

Training to become a software developer

Software developers train for the career with a college degree in computer science, software engineering or information systems. Most developers begin their career with a bachelor’s degree, and may advance into supervisory or specialist roles with a technical master’s degree in software engineering or management information systems.

Continuing education is an important component of software developer training. In order to remain at the top of your game, you can take advantage of professional certifications in particular vendor technologies or specialized software developer skills. Some of the leading software development certifications include Oracle (formerly Sun) Java certifications, Microsoft Certified Solution Developer, Siebel and SAS certifications.

Software developer careers

Software developers earn their value to employers by bridging technical R&D and production. IEEE Computer Society sees opportunity for developers “who have the mindset of an engineer coupled with an ability to ensure that technology is aligned with business needs.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also cites a combination of technical and management skills as the recipe for a successful software developer career: “Employers will continue to seek computer professionals with strong programming, systems analysis, interpersonal and business skills.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, software developers can expect “excellent” job prospects, with 32 percent job growth in the coming years. Top-paying regions for software developers include greater Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley near San Francisco, Boston and greater Seattle.

Software developers can find demand for their skills at web development companies, gaming companies, mobile app startups, the federal government and data management firms. Key specialties in software development include cybersecurity, networking software development, e-commerce and web development, scientific R&D and mobile development.

With a technical degree, you can find a niche in the exciting world of software design and development. Begin your career as a software developer and work at the vanguard of high tech innovation.