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What Are the Different Types of Computer Engineering Jobs?

A hardware engineer may have to create computer hardware for smaller household computer systems, larger equipment, or computer networks.
A computer engineer may be tasked with maintaining servers.
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  • Written By: Bryon Turcotte
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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Within the area of technology, the computer industry contains multiple disciplines which require specific engineering knowledge and skills creating many different types of computer engineering jobs. Generally, these jobs appear regularly in the areas of systems, networking, client service, software, hardware, research, and academics. Computer engineering jobs can be found in every industry and include specialists in programming, system deployment, network architecture, or the configuration of very specialized software applications. These individuals are active with the healthcare industry, education, finance, entertainment, and service-oriented businesses.

One of the many computer engineering jobs is the systems engineer. This individual is focused on the design, management, and logistics behind complex engineering projects within the employers' vision and understanding. Most often, this engineer is responsible for the coordination of different development team members, implementing the development process, and determining what tools will be needed to complete the project. This position often parallels and sometimes shares the responsibilities of a project manager, an industrial engineer, or a process engineer.

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A network engineer is a primary role in most industries because of the importance of communication through the Internet and local area networking. This role may provide a specific level of analysis and recommendation for the entire network infrastructure. Most regularly, the network engineer collaborates with specific clients, project managers, and team members to organize and plan network-related projects. This individual may also be responsible for the research, development, and implementation of important security information and documentation that may impact a network's protection and stability.

Software engineers are responsible for the creation, design, and modification of computer programs based on the technical requirements of the employer. These ideas, visions, and designs are then transformed into a language which matches the client specifications and expectations. Most often, these computer engineering jobs require a full level of collaboration between engineer and each team member included on a project. This individual often works closely with product development, software quality assurance, and technical support to insure solid product development and production from start to finish.

The hardware engineer focuses on the development of computer hardware which will better support the demands of the most current software performance. He also works to parallel stability with both the operating system and primary application's productivity. Along with the concerns of compatibility with specific software applications, this professional must confirm that the relationship between all pieces of hardware and software works flawlessly and efficiently.

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NathanG
Post 4

@miriam98 - That may be true. I'm more interested in work environments than the nature of the job, however.

If I had my choice, I’d rather work in academia rather than in private industry. The reason is that there is so much theoretical work that goes on in the academic sphere that never makes it into the real world.

Some of the theoretical stuff is really exciting, like working with genetic algorithms and things like that. In academia, you will always be on the cutting edge of the most challenging ideas in computer science, whether there is any practical application or not.

In private industry all you want are practical applications. Some of these cutting edge ideas eventually do make it into private industry after they’ve been refined a little more.

miriam98
Post 3

@allenJo - What do you guys think is the hardest of these positions? I realize that “hard” is subjective, but personally I think hardware engineering is the most difficult and demanding of electronic engineering jobs.

I think you need a mix of electrical engineering and computer science to really do well. Learning how to program software is easy; but to get down into the nuts and bolts of the circuitry, and learn how to design better components is a different thing altogether in my opinion.

I’ll bet you anything that if you can design super fast integrated circuit chips that your salary will soar and you’ll be in much demand.

allenJo
Post 2

@MrMoody - I would like to point out that some of these jobs may go by different titles, judging from the computer engineer job description that I see listed here.

For example, what you call a network engineer might in some companies be referred to as a systems analyst or a network administrator. In our company he is the network administrator and he designs the network and is responsible for doing backups and things like that.

The engineering designation is appropriate, however, because a lot of these administrators also have software development skills. They may do some light scripting and things like that; in terms of career paths, however, they simply prefer networking.

MrMoody
Post 1

Computer software engineer jobs are the most creative, in my opinion. I work as a software engineer for a small business catering to the utilities industry.

As a software engineer I do a lot of programming, but the hardest part of the job is collaborating with end users to know exactly what their requirements are. The reality is that what end users actually expect may be different than my own expectations.

For example, my computer training provides me with certain ideas of what a good user interface might look like, but in the end the user dictates what is or is not a “good” interface.

Of course, I can’t tailor my design to the needs of just one client, since we serve an entire industry. But usually if I notice more than one customer make a similar design request, then I know that it’s time to hit the drawing board for the next software release.

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