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What do computer engineering graduates do?
The Computer Engineering Program is designed to prepare an engineer to work in both the abstract software world, where high level languages and more complexity will often provide a solution to a problem, and in the physical world where designs are often compromises between many opposing factors. The program further prepares engineers to compete in today's rapidly changing marketplace by providing the fundamental concepts and attributes that will enable them to recognize and understand future developments.
The distinction between a computer engineer and the more traditional computer science major or digital design electrical engineer may be in his/her desire to understand and participate in the entire process of using abstract algorithms and data structures to control changes in real physical devices.
There are many aspects to Computer Engineering. A Computer Engineer might be working on the design of a new automobile brake system where a knowledge of the electronic sensors and the dynamic nature of the brakes might be as important as the programming of the I/O handler interrupt subroutine in high level C or assembly language. Another project such as the design of a distributed control system for a factory floor might require the engineer to have background in computer networks and programming as well as an understanding of the manufacturing process.
Recent Missouri S&T computer engineering graduates have been employed in the private sector by several well known corporations including AdTran, Cerner, Caterpillar, Motorola, Intel, and Microsoft. Graduates have also worked in the public sector for the Naval Research Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.
Because computer engineering is a relatively new degree (when compared to electrical engineering) salary data is not readily available. However, a recent salary survey* conducted by IEEE yielded the following median salaries as a function of degree for engineers working in the computer area.
PhD: Approximately $120,000 per year
Master's Degree: Approximately $106,000 per year
BS Degree: Approximately $98,000 per year
Note that the data for this survey came from a cross section of IEEE members and therefore includes both new hires and individuals with many years of experience. These median salaries should not be interpreted as median starting salaries. This data also includes members from many different geographic areas.
* IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey - 2001 Edition, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Piscataway, NJ., 2001.