A guide to computer engineering [Must See]

Computer engineering is a merger between electronics/electrical engineering and computer science. It is a field that focuses on hardware engineering like microprocessors as well as software engineering. This enables them them to make breakthrough advances in fiels such as networking, digital technology, and even IoT. Computer engineers have inputs in fields such as aerospace, automobile, healthcare, automation, robotics, you name it!

A lot of universities offer courses like computer science and engineering. In essence, it is just elect/elect and computer science.

Difference between computer science and computer engineering

The difference between computer science and computer engineering degree is that computer engineering focuses mainly on computer hardware and software. Computer science, on the other hand, focuses mainly on four areas of algorithms, theory, programming language, and computer architecture.

In other words, a computer scientist is like an architect who builds and design a house while the computer engineer does the wiring work and plumbing, light works and water. One cannot exist without the other and someone who is running the plumbing of a house must know how to the design and building of a house is done. It is for this reason that computer engineers are usually vast in software engineering.

How to become a computer engineer (requirement)

The obvious way to do this is to study computer engineering straight up from undergraduate. However, the fact that you studied computer engineering doesn’t necessarily make you a computer engineer: it is not about cramming books. You must be able to make things work and taking apprenticeships in computer hardware stores will definitely help more than school.

Also, those who studied electrical or electronics engineering can very well become computer engineers. After your undergraduate elect/elect degree, you can simply go and study computer science for Masters AND FOCUS ON ONE AREA of computer science and then you become a computer engineer. Do you notice the first definition of computer engineering I gave? A merger between elect/elect and computer science.  I have a close relative who studied electrical and electronics at Bida Polytechnic but studied network engineering as a masters student and is now into telecoms related stuffs, big boy now I must add. In essence, life is not rigid and sometimes, you just have to flow with the tide.

Typical courses for computer engineers

  • Microprocessing
  • Circuit designs
  • Power systems as well as energy systems
  • Nano Tech
  • Computer architechture

Typical courses for computer software developers are:

  • Programming
  • Algorithms
  • User interface design
  • Operating system design
  • Software engineering and so on.

The career path for computer engineers

Often, because of their hardware knowledge, computer engineers find themselves in jobs that involve manufacturing or any other job which relates to computer hardware.

A few obvious choices are network engineering or telecoms related professions. However, a degree in computer engineering is a lot more diverse than a mere focus on computers. Hardware knowledge can be applied in field as mechanical engineering or general manufacturing. Job title for computer engineers include:

  • Computer Network Architect
  • Web developer especially backend
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Information security analyst
  • Industrial engineer
  • Computer programming

A bachelors degree is usually enough to start off in these fields, however, you can also use a three months training camp to become a web developer for example.

On a final note, life could be crazy sometimes, most of us will end up not studying what we had in mind. A lot of us have lofty dreams but our society can sometimes be a huge dream crusher. My advice to you is to always look out for opportunities and stay abreast of the latest information. For example, the field of computer engineering is gradually moving towards the Internet of things, connected devices, and advanced automation and all these will be backed by the next generation 5G communication infrastructure. So people who are studying computer engineering should do well to stay abreast of events on sites like TechCrunch or Cnet. I probably visit those sites daily and my field is not directly related to computer.

You can check a concise guide on electrical engineering here.

There is also a guide on civil engineering.