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Computer Engineering Major

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Computer Engineering

4,523 Master's Degrees Annually
363 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#42 in Popularity (Master's)
$113,680 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 4,523
Doctor’s Degree 363
Graduate Certificate 135

What Computer Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to CE were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for CE Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in CE should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills for CE Majors

When studying CE, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for CE Majors

As you progress with your CE degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Computer Engineering Major?

People with a CE degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Computer Hardware Engineers 5.4% $114,600
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Telecommunications Engineering Specialists 6.5% $109,020

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering?

4,523 Master's Degrees Annually
28% Percent Women
13% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Computer Engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #42 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 4,523 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major tends to be male dominated. About 72% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of CE majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of CE Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 329
Black or African American 80
Hispanic or Latino 141
White 673
International Students 3,159
Other Races/Ethnicities 141

Geographic Diversity

CE appeals to people across the globe. About 69.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Iran

How Much Do Computer Engineering Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of computer engineering students with a master’s degree is $95,900 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $87,300 (25th percentile) and $95,900 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in CE, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $111,130 to $117,840 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to CE. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Computer Engineering Major  ( 111130 to 117840 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with CE may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for CE careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.6%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 4.0%
Some College Courses 0.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 59.6%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.7%
Master’s Degree 18.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.6%
Doctoral Degree 6.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.6%

Online Computer Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 384 schools offered some type of computer engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 16 8
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 31 9
Bachelor’s Degree 37 12
Post-Baccalaureate 16 8
Master’s Degree 181 41
Post-Master’s 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 74 3
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Computer Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a CE grad is $113,680 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 185% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,475,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to CE.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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