Computer engineers design the computing devices that we use every day. There are many types of computer engineers, who work on a variety of different types of devices and systems. Some of the more prominent engineering jobs are as follows:
- Hardware engineer. A hardware engineer designs hardware components, such as microprocessors. Many times, a hardware engineer is at the cutting edge of computing technology, creating something brand new. Other times, the hardware engineer’s job is to engineer an existing component to work faster or use less power. Many times, a hardware engineer’s job is to write code to create a program that will be implemented directly on a computer chip.
- Software engineer. Software engineers do not actually design devices; instead, they create new programming languages and operating systems, working at the lowest levels of the hardware to develop new kinds of software to run on the hardware.
- Systems engineer. A systems engineer takes the components designed by other engineers and makes them all work together. For example, to build a computer, the mother board, processor, memory, and hard disk all have to work together. A systems engineer has experience with many different types of hardware and software and knows how to integrate them to create new functionality.
- Network engineer. A network engineer’s job is to understand the networking requirements of an organization and then design a communications system to meet those needs, using the networking hardware and software available.
There are many different types of computer engineers, and often the job descriptions overlap. While many may call themselves engineers based on a company job title, there is also a professional designation of “professional engineer,” which has specific requirements behind it. In the US, each state has its own set of requirements for the use of this title, as do different countries around the world. Most often, it involves a professional licensing exam.