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2021 Computer Engineering Degree Guide

Do you love learning how computers work? Does analyzing, developing, and designing computer hardware and software sound like your dream job? If so, Computer Engineering may be the major for you. The field of computer engineering has drastically changed our way of life over the last few decades. Computer engineering includes working with operating systems, computer networks, artificial intelligence, robotics, computer architecture, and computer-aided design. You will also learn about electronic circuits along with hardware and software aspects in this major.

Some courses that you may come across could include: computer architecture, computer assisted design, calculus, digital imaging, introduction to data structures, physics, programming languages, systems programming, electricity, circuitry, and electro mechanics.

A Spike in Computer Engineering Degrees

#60 Most Popular Major
15.9k Degrees Awarded
3.5% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, computer engineering was the 60th most popular major nationwide with 15,891 degrees awarded. This represents a 3.5% increase in CE degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 15,329.

Approximately 304 colleges in the U.S. offer a computer engineering degree of some kind. This year's Best Colleges for Computer Engineering ranking compares 102 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom CE rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Computer Engineering

Do you enjoy working independently, while still being part of a team? This major will require spending time on your own time solving complex problems, as well as presenting solutions to others and listening to feedback. You should enjoy solving complex problems with advanced mathematics.

Creativity is also an important element of this work as you create and design new devices. Your professors will be asking you to think outside the box and to create something new and useful. Thinking of ways to improve current computer and devices or designing new ones should be something you find enjoyable. Communication skills are also important in this field. You will spend time working with your team members, your professors, or other professionals, so speaking skills are imperative.

Engineering students tend to spend long hours studying and finding answers to difficult problems. Those who persevere will have a satisfying and exciting career of coming up with new, innovative products.

CE Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most CE degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific CE careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Computer Engineering Degree Types

There are many different CE degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in computer engineering to something that takes less time like a associate's. How long it takes to complete some common CE degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to CE, with approximately 54.4% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for CE workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 59.6%
Master’s Degree 18.9%
Doctoral Degree 6.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate 4.0%

About 89.5% of workers in careers related to CE obtain at least bachelor's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in computer engineering careers have.


This of course varies depending on which CE career you choose.

CE Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$68.8k Average Starting Salary
19% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Obtaining your degree in computer engineering will allow you to go in many different directions. Right after graduating you could get a job with a digital hardware design firm, software engineering companies, or a telecommunication firm. This major is usually closely linked with electrical engineering so you could work in that field if desired. Some students will attend graduate school in either Computer Engineering or even Business or Law.

To increase your chances of finding work in computer engineering you should make sure your college offers an ABET-accredited program.

High Growth Projected for CE Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your CE degree? Computer Engineering careers are expected to grow 19.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to computer engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Software Applications Developers 1,086,600 30.7%
Systems Software Developers 472,100 11.1%
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Computer Network Architects 173,200 6.5%
Computer Hardware Engineers 77,600 5.4%

How Much Money Do People With a CE Degree Make?

Recently graduated computer engineering students earned an average of $68,762 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $37,800 to as high as $112,300. As you might expect, salaries for CE graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid CE Careers

Salaries for computer engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers CE grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Computer Hardware Engineers $117,840
Systems Software Developers $114,000
Engineering Professors $113,680
Computer Network Architects $111,130

Getting Your Computer Engineering Degree

With over 764 different CE degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased CE school rankings to help you with this.

One of 38 majors within the Engineering area of study, Computer Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to CE

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001

View All CE Related Majors >


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