How to Become a Computer Engineer

The field of computer engineering combines computer science and electrical engineering. Computer engineers create and develop software, hardware, network services, and new technologies.

This profession is well-paid and in high demand. That’s why many people are always pursuing it, although it takes a long time and effort to achieve this career.

In general, you must experience several stages to achieve your goal, including:

  • Step 1: Gain a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering (software engineering or computer science)
  • Step 2: Gain a master’s degree in computer engineering (software engineering or computer science)
  • Step 3: Gain computer engineering experience
  • Step 4: Obtain a professional engineer license
  • Step 5: Take into account vendor certifications

If you are curious about detailed steps, it’s time to dive into this article.

Let’s scroll down!

Computer Engineering

What is Computer Engineering?

Before diving into basic steps to become a computer engineer, it’s best to learn about the computer engineering field. So, what is it? 

This word refers to a group of occupations that are inextricably linked. Software and hardware engineering are two broad categories. The third category may be network engineering.

Computer engineers can select from various degrees to develop the specific set of abilities they desire.

What is a Computer Engineer?

There are a variety of ways to define computer engineer. One of them is a professional with experience in networking, systems, and computer programming.

Computer engineers have a strong background in computer programming and may work on both software and hardware. 

A person with electrical engineering expertise might also be described as a computer engineer.

Computer engineers can focus on different degrees that provide them access to a wide range of IT fields.

What Does a Computer Engineer Do?

So, what does a computer engineer do? That is dependent on their chosen profession, such as:

  • Engineers who work in the hardware field develop and manage physical items.
  • Software engineers are involved in developing smartphone apps, computer programming, and software in general.
  • Engineers who work in networking create and operate networks and systems.

Computer engineers perform a wide range of tasks related to developing, deploying, and maintaining computer networks, systems, and infrastructure.

A computer engineer might produce new technologies or customized solutions by designing computer hardware. 

These positions are at the heart of computer engineering and require extensive design and research.

Computer engineers also assist in deploying these technologies by setting up and maintaining relevant hardware. 

Many businesses require computer engineers to build and implement computer systems and networks to keep up with the latest technologies.

Establishing computer networks, adding new systems, and updating older systems are examples of this.

Computer engineers must also verify the systems that they develop. They may conduct tests on computer networks to ensure it is working correctly or identify bottlenecks that might be addressed.

Computer engineers are primarily concerned with the development of computer software and hardware. They create effective systems that are ideally qualified for the task.

Where Does a Computer Engineer Work?

In most cases, computer engineers can work full-time in the company and organizational contexts. 

They work on their own, research, and develop computer components and equipment to meet the customers’ requirements.

They also work as a collective member to help implement computing system components, interacting with computer programmers and other IT specialists.

a computer engineer

What Are Advantages of This Profession?

One of the best advantages of working as a computer engineer is the variety of job opportunities accessible to you. There are always jobs, no matter what field of study you pursue.

What’s more, this career seems to be always in high demand regardless of the position in the technological world, and their pay reflects this.

In particular, engineers help you maintain your Wifi connections and fiber optic cables, and they repair your computer and other devices when they malfunction.

What Do You Need to Become a Computer Engineer?

So, if you want to become a computer engineer, what do you need to do? A Bachelor’s degree is the first requirement for this job, but it is only the outset.

The majority of computer engineers have earned graduate degrees and certifications.

Apart from certifications, actual communication might be the most challenging aspect of the job. 

Computer engineers at big businesses frequently deal directly with customers and vendors, a position that necessitates exceptional active listening abilities.

Another essential attribute of the work is conducting operation analyses. First, computer engineers must always be decisive.

There are numerous requirements to become a computer engineer. Scroll down and keep reading to learn in detail!

5 Steps to Becoming a Computer Engineer

Do you plan to work as a computer engineer in the future? What do you need to prepare before entering this domain? Following are some basic steps involved in becoming a computer engineer:

1. Gain A Bachelor’s Degree In Computer Engineering (Software Engineering, Or Computer Science)

You’ll typically earn a college degree in computer engineering, software engineering, or computer science to work as a computer engineer. 

Although some junior programmers may skip this phase, it is more customary to obtain a degree after gaining considerable programming or construction expertise.

Always check the granting institution’s accreditation status when selecting a degree in this profession. National and international accreditation labels the kinds of programs provided at a university or college.

Students interested in the profession should look for schools that have been approved by ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), the leading institution for establishing academic and employment standards in this domain.

This accreditation ensures that learners receive a high-quality education, and the courses satisfy additional requirements for Bachelor’s degree admissions, certification, or employment by various employers.

Students might be able to seek colleges that provide five-year programs that include both a master’s and bachelor’s degree. 

Here are some considerations for admissions requirements and typical courses you should know. 

Admissions Requirements:

The prerequisites for admission to computer engineering degrees differ in each school; however, there are a few similarities. 

Admissions officers look at a student’s overall grade point average (GPA), achievement test scores, extracurricular activity involvement like computing or software clubs.

It’s also possible that a phone or an on-campus interview will be necessary.

The following are some examples of essential admissions documents for computer engineering colleges and universities:

  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Competitive GPA
  • An essay describing a student’s objectives
  • Proof of completion of a prerequisite curriculum
  • Completed application
  • Fee

Typical Courses:

Bachelor’s degree programs in computer engineering may include the following courses:

  • An overview of software engineering
  • Microprocessors
  • Computer organization
  • Control systems
  • Systems programming
  • Differential equations
  • Operating systems
  • Computer science
  • Microcomputer architecture
  • Engineering-related algorithms
  • Probability theory

2. Gain A Master’s Degree In Computer Engineering (Software Engineering Or Computer Science)

Even though computer engineering doesn’t require a master’s degree, it might benefit those who desire to develop in the area or seek more specialized work.

Here are the admissions requirements and typical courses you need to participate in to get a master’s degree. 

Admissions Requirements:

Admissions requirements differ among colleges and universities. The following are some of the most common prerequisites for master’s degree programs in this profession:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an authorized university
  • An objective statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GPA is at least 3.0.
  • Transcripts demonstrating completion of academic prerequisites
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Completed application 
  • Fee

Typical Courses:

In the first year, you need to complete course requirements. You can select your specific areas and other electives in the second year. 

A few degree programs may include concentrations. The following are some of the sample concentrations:

  • Software
  • Cybersecurity
  • Computer architecture and hardware
  • Computer networks and connections

Here are typical courses you must complete if you want to gain a master’s degree:

  • Systems engineering
  • Electronic design
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital communication
  • Solid-state devices
  • Operating systems
  • The architecture of modern computers
  • The basics of computer security
  • The architectures of broadband networks
  • Computer and electrical engineers’ prospects
  • Structures of advanced data
  • Active circuitry in today’s world

3. Gain Computer Engineering Experience

Computer engineering skill and experience is valuable for a variety of reasons. It can result in a breakthrough or growth in this field by directing experts in a new study path.

Practical experience may help students stand out from other candidates when they enter this field. An internship may be necessary as a part of a computer engineering bachelor’s degree program.

Many colleges collaborate with corporations and organizations to place students in internships at software companies like Apple or Microsoft.

Students may be able to select their favorite internship. An internship might result in a full-time job following graduation in any case.

Professional experience in this profession is also advantageous for students entering the labor market.

Employers looking for new talent value can demonstrate a functional grasp of programming, infrastructure, and networking.

Students who intend to pursue a degree in this career, notably those with a bachelor’s degree in a field apart from computing, benefit from prior experience.

Computer engineers need a variety of abilities. Many of these abilities can be acquired by working, taking professional courses, or receiving training.

For computer engineers, analytics is a crucial skill set. The following analytical skills are necessary:

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Electrical engineering

Many soft-skills are essential for computer engineers for them to function efficiently, such as:

  • Problem-solving
  • Management
  • Communication
  • Good design sense and creativity

The specific knowledge that a computer engineer requires will vary depending on the specialization. Many of these abilities will be acquired through on-the-job training with experienced engineers.

When doing this job, you can work in many different fields, including: 

  • Telecommunications
  • Robotics
  • Integrated circuits
  • Network security
  • Quantum computing
  • Embedded systems

4. Obtain A Professional Engineer License

Although a PE license is not required to work in the area, it might be beneficial to get better job opportunities.

PE license has several advantages, according to IEEE-USA, including the ability to demonstrate that:

  • Engineering education has passed minimum norms.
  • The public health and safety requirements have been ethically committed.

The IEEE-USA has particular prerequisites for obtaining a professional engineer license:

  • A four-year employment experience is mandatory.
  • After four years of experience, you must complete an eight-hour Professional Engineering examination.
  • The Fundamentals of Engineering test is compulsory.
  • It would be best if you acquired an engineering degree accredited by ABET.

Note: Computer and software engineers can take the PE test. It’s advisable to take an examination that closely matches the applicant’s degree program.

5. Take Into Account Vendor Certifications

Certifications from vendors or professionals might also be beneficial in a computer-engineering job. 

These credentials might show a dedication to the field’s competence, specific skills, and a desire to keep learning.

A list of certificates for computer hardware engineers and software developers is shown below:

  • Red Hat Certified Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
  • Linux Foundation Certified Engineer
  • Certified Software Development Professional
  • Certified Software Development Associate
  • Certified Wireless Network Engineer
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Besides, it would help if you also created your resume. Future and existing computer engineers have the most to build a resume, including professional experience, degree, and relevant certifications.

Resumes should be both informative and complete while being clear and concise. Students should highlight their soft skills to show employers their range of abilities.

When writing a CV, emphasize qualities and skills relevant to certain professions. Employers can see what a candidate contributes to their firms based on their education, certifications, and experience in computer programming and software development.

How Long Does It Take To Be a Computer Engineer?

Candidates are more competitive, talented, and qualified due to technological advancements. 

To become a computer engineer, how long does it take? You may spend four to seven-year to officially becoming a computer engineer after receiving a formal degree at a prestigious college.

You must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree before continuing your education with a two-year master’s degree to further your job. 

Candidates who want to advance their careers can pursue a Ph.D. in computer engineering and in-depth study on the subject.

You can figure out how long it will take you to get a computer education based on the Bachelor’s degree you choose to pursue.

If you’re still in college and want to pursue this job, you’ll need strong science, math, and other computer skills.

To work as a computer engineer, you must meet specific requirements. It is through the completion of a degree and the acquisition of skills. 

Degree programs year comparison

The following are a few degree programs that may be beneficial to you:

Associate’s degree

An associate’s degree is a curriculum that provides a basic understanding of computer technology and systems. It takes two years to achieve this degree. 

You need to spend 60 hours to complete all credits of the coursework, which will prepare you for an entry-level career.

Fundamentals in electronics design and computer engineering are covered in these courses, which include:

  • Programming
  • Electronic Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Maintenance And Repair
  • Communications And Networking
  • Computer Hardware And Software

Bachelor’s degree

According to the employer’s point of view, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree needed to look for a position. It takes four years to gain this degree.

It covers 120 to 128 credit hours, with seamless credit transfer between the various degree levels.

In the first two years of study, you must finish all engineering prerequisites and general education classes.

The challenging complexities in computer networks, including the interplay of software and hardware components and the operation of computer systems, will be the focus of the remaining two years.

Master’s degree

A Master’s degree is essential to progress your profession to obtain a high-paying job. Depending on the research’s completion, you may gain this degree after 1.5 to 2 years.

It usually has 30 to 33 credits available. It allows you to work in administrative and managerial positions in a company.

You can also acquire an in-depth understanding of this topic by:

  • Write a thesis
  • Research
  • Complete coursework (software, cybersecurity, computer and hardware architecture, and networks and computer communications)

Doctoral degree

The coursework for this degree program consists of 32 to 36 credits. However, post-coursework master’s and a dissertation are the highest priority in practical research.

A Ph.D. takes approximately 4-5 years to complete. However, it is compulsory to conduct competitive examinations like comprehensive exams, research exams, etc.

All in all, it takes dedication and hard effort to become a computer engineer. 

You need to spend a lot of time and budget to obtain a good education, which may take 4 to 7 years to achieve bachelor’s and master’s degrees, based on your desired field.

What Are Personality Traits Needed To Be A Computer Engineer?

Being a computer engineer takes time and effort for most people. It’s a difficult job requiring a wide variety of skills and involves the management of hundreds of lines of sophisticated reasoning.

Only a tiny percentage of people succeed as computer engineers. 

However, possessing the below personality characteristics can help you advance your profession and become successful:

Communication Skills

To be a competent engineer, you must be a skilled communicator, both verbally and on paper.

Everything should be clearly and precisely communicated to others, including customers and stakeholders, from the characterization of the issue to debates of alternative solutions to guidelines for building or submitting the final concept.

Math and Computer Skills

A skilled engineer must be able to solve problems in mathematics, at least up to the standard of algebra and trigonometry, and comprehend the value of using data to guide design decisions.


This profession is about creating and developing software, hardware, and new technologies. 

As a result, if you want to keep afloat in the sector, you’ll need to acquire problem-solving skills because you’ll face hundreds of everyday obstacles, each demanding a unique approach.

Train your brain to swiftly generate multiple alternatives, which you can then evaluate and choose the most plausible.

Inquisitiveness and Accountability

It is impossible to master all aspects of computer engineering in one go. 

Even outstanding engineers over the world are constantly learning new things. 

As a result, if you select this profession, you should be willing to learn.

Besides, always be prepared to handle your mistakes and repair anything you messed up.


Humility allows you to engage your colleagues and learn about their perspectives on the team project, which will benefit you.

Humility will indeed assist you in admitting mistakes and accepting responsibility for your decisions and actions. Don’t confuse humility with a lack of self-assurance, though.


You can’t succeed if you don’t believe in yourself and your ideas. It’s important to remember that such trust does not come easily.

Once you grow in your career path, you will gain greater confidence in your profession and strategies.

Willingness To Help

You’ve probably noticed that most of your work entails interacting with inexperienced engineers who are always in desperate need of assistance.

As a result, always be ready to help others if possible!

Advice & Conclusion

This article has eventually got to the bottom of your question: How to become a computer engineer? 

In a nutshell, although each person’s path is unique, there are a few more typical milestones that can assist you in becoming a computer engineer.

The first phase is generally a bachelor’s degree. Based on your professional choice, other requirements, such as certificates or an additional degree, may be necessary.

Besides, you must learn abilities and skills supported for your profession like those mentioned above. 

Also, it may take you from 4 to 7 years to officially work as a computer engineer. 

So, if you decide to pursue this career path, you need to be consistent from the start. No pain, no gain! Try your best, and success will come to you!

Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next post!