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Computer Engineering Major

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Computer Engineering

9,874 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
4,800 Master's Degrees Annually
#50 in Popularity
$113,680 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer engineering graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 9,874
Master’s Degree 4,800
Doctor’s Degree 388
Graduate Certificate 135
Associate’s Degree 98
Basic Certificate 31
Undergraduate Certificate 3

What Computer Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, CE majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to CE:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with CE:

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 Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering?

9,874 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
13% Percent Women
38% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Computer Engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #50 out of all the undergraduate majors we track. In 2018, about 9,874 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this field. This major tends to be male dominated. About 87% 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 Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,801
Black or African American 460
Hispanic or Latino 1,124
White 4,738
International Students 1,097
Other Races/Ethnicities 654

Geographic Diversity

CE appeals to people across the globe. About 11.1% 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?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that computer engineering students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $68,700 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $61,250 (25th percentile) and $72,750 (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

CE majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $111,130 to $117,840 (25th to 75th percentile). 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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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with CE may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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 2017-2018 academic year, 372 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) 12 6
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 28 8
Bachelor’s Degree 34 10
Post-Baccalaureate 12 6
Master’s Degree 180 38
Post-Master’s 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 73 2
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 46,014
Electrical Engineering 31,993
Civil Engineering 21,299
Chemical Engineering 14,729
Biomedical Engineering 11,483
General Engineering 11,245
Industrial Engineering 9,714
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 6,315
Materials Engineering 3,555
Systems Engineering 3,439
Other Engineering 2,900
Petroleum Engineering 2,818
Environmental Engineering 2,746
Operations Research 1,555
Agricultural Engineering 1,546
Engineering Science 1,509
Nuclear Engineering 1,050
Engineering Physics 1,028
Manufacturing Engineering 920
Architectural Engineering 874
Construction Engineering 870
Robotics Engineering 755
Geoscience Engineering 510
Marine Engineering 506
Mining Engineering 434
Biological Engineering 400
Textile Engineering 359
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 348
Engineering Mechanics 329
Ocean Engineering 305
Metallurgical Engineering 218
Biochemical Engineering 124
Ceramic Engineering 111
Electromechanical Engineering 84
Surveying Engineering 73
Paper Science & Engineering 51
Forest Engineering 39
Engineering Chemistry 5

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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