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I am confused, What does a Computer Engineer do?

I love computer hardware and I have been thinking to pursue it as a career, not only as a hobby or just an enthusiast. But I am confused that some people say that Computer Engineer is more on software.  If Computer Engineer is just like Computer Science or I.T, then what do you called these who study computer hardware?

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18 minutes ago, 5GigaaHertz said:

I love computer hardware and I have been thinking to pursue it as a career, not only as a hobby or just an enthusiast. But I am confused that some people say that Computer Engineer is more on software.  If Computer Engineer is just like Computer Science or I.T, then what do you called these who study computer hardware?

Electrical engineers generally design the hardware. Computer engineers write the firmware that interacts between the hardware and your OS kernel.

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22 minutes ago, 5GigaaHertz said:

I love computer hardware and I have been thinking to pursue it as a career, not only as a hobby or just an enthusiast. But I am confused that some people say that Computer Engineer is more on software.  If Computer Engineer is just like Computer Science or I.T, then what do you called these who study computer hardware?

When you say that you "love computer hardware" and want to pursue it as a career, what do you actually want to do?

 

Please describe the kind of job and tasks you actually want to have.

 

A computer engineer is heavily programming based - you do learn electrical theory and electronics, but you also learn a LOT of programming.

 

If you want to develop and design new computer hardware (eg: CPU's, GPU's, etc), most of these people are electrical engineers - you can be a computer engineer, but you'll have to heavily specialize your education and further jobs.

 

Most computer engineers end up doing driver coding, firmware coding, OS/kernel coding, etc. Many of them just become computer programmers.

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1 minute ago, dalekphalm said:

When you say that you "love computer hardware" and want to pursue it as a career, what do you actually want to do?

 

Please describe the kind of job and tasks you actually want to have.

I like/want to tinker, design or make computer hardware. It would include modding or manufacturing like a motherboard(faily close to laptops), case, or anything that involves hardware. Sort of similar to what Not From Concentrate does(the creator of the S4 Mini).

Maybe I picked a wrong job though

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26 minutes ago, pierom_qwerty said:

Electrical engineers generally design the hardware. Computer engineers write the firmware that interacts between the hardware and your OS kernel.

Based on what I've been reading, computer engineers also design a lot of the components involved in computers. Probably depends on the actual job that one is applying for.

https://www.livescience.com/48326-computer-engineering.html

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3 minutes ago, Godlygamer23 said:

Based on what I've been reading, computer engineers also design a lot of the components involved in computers. Probably depends on the actual job that one is applying for.

https://www.livescience.com/48326-computer-engineering.html

But based on the replies on my past thread I posted. some replies says they only just do programming.

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5 minutes ago, 5GigaaHertz said:

But based on the replies on my past thread I posted. some replies says they only just do programming.

I think that's completely wrong. Some might just do programming or software development, but that doesn't mean they all do, and branches exist where they actually do design components used in computers. 

 

An article also from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_engineering

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27 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

When you say that you "love computer hardware" and want to pursue it as a career, what do you actually want to do?

 

Please describe the kind of job and tasks you actually want to have.

 

A computer engineer is heavily programming based - you do learn electrical theory and electronics, but you also learn a LOT of programming.

 

If you want to develop and design new computer hardware (eg: CPU's, GPU's, etc), most of these people are electrical engineers - you can be a computer engineer, but you'll have to heavily specialize your education and further jobs.

 

Most computer engineers end up doing driver coding, firmware coding, OS/kernel coding, etc. Many of them just become computer programmers.

i thought thats computer science and computer engineering works more on the hardware

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1 minute ago, spartaman64 said:

i thought thats computer science and computer engineering works more on the hardware

same

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Just now, spartaman64 said:

i thought thats computer science and computer engineering works more on the hardware

Computer Science is often used as a catch-all (especially in school) for anything computer related, but typically is mostly computer programming.

 

Computer Hardware is often the same thing, but is more hardware focused (often involved in the firmware and software that controls said hardware). Some indeed may be involved with actually designing circuits and hardware, but I doubt most computer engineers actually do this. Not saying none do.

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It depends, Computer engineers tend to work at much lower levels than most with a computer science degree will. This includes being heavily involved in the HDL (hardware description language) design of ASIC's and IC's as well as programming for FPGA's and CPLD's. You will absolutely learn allot of different programming languages, but the focus will be at a much lower level. There is also typically some amount of hardware stuff, but not to the same degree as you would get with a EE degree.

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53 minutes ago, spartaman64 said:

i thought thats computer science and computer engineering works more on the hardware

"computer science" is the study of things related to computers, so essentially academic research and programs at schools. Research generally tends to be less about making products, and more about studying methods and ideas, then publishing the research (which is often then used by engineers to make products)

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14 minutes ago, bob345 said:

It depends, Computer engineers tend to work at much lower levels than most with a computer science degree will. This includes being heavily involved in the HDL (hardware description language) design of ASIC's and IC's as well as programming for FPGA's and CPLD's. You will absolutely learn allot of different programming languages, but the focus will be at a much lower level. There is also typically some amount of hardware stuff, but not to the same degree as you would get with a EE degree.

Do you think it is better for me to take Electronic engineering than Computer engineering?

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look at the curriculum at your school you'll have about 2 years to make a hard decision between the two.

Edited by chrisrf
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42 minutes ago, 5GigaaHertz said:

Do you think it is better for me to take Electronic engineering than Computer engineering?

A lot of schools will have a common core between both of those with similar coursework especially early in the degree, with the later semesters diverging into the specialized fields.

 

You'll really want to look at schools you might be interested in, and then compare coursework between the two degrees, and see which courses are of more interest to you.

 

Ultimately it depends on what you want to do for your job. If you want to work for AMD or Intel? Probably do both, plus a Masters degree.

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OH BOY! Something I can actually answer :D

I'm in my final year of Computer Engineering at uni - 4.5 years this December. And to answer your question...

 

It depends.

 

I know, I know - what you don't want to hear. But it's true! Computer Engineering as a career is very, very flexible. The job opportunities range from extremely technical to more business oriented. Here are some of the positions you can go into

  • Anything software - QA, Firmware, UI/UX, Backend, Mobile, Web Dev, Cyber security, Digital Signal Processing, Radio/Telecom
  • Anything Hardware - Testing/Validation, VLSI*, Systems and Architecture*, Power Analysis*, IC Fabrication*, Cryptography, Robotics
  • People or Business Oriented - Consulting, Technical Marketing, IT, Management, Product Design
  • Academia - Teaching/Research

* these are generally NOT entry level positions and require graduate school

 

I've had 3 internships so far - one that was all research and software, another that was all hardware, and another was literally customer support with some IT. I have friends who had consulting internships as computer engineers and some doing IT...so yeah, it really does depend!

 

As a computer engineering student - it's a lot of math, a lot of programming, some physics (but not too much unless you *really* want more), and TONS of application. Most schools that offer some sort of computer engineering degree will let you choose a few electives to focus on what you want. For instance, my school offers "threads" which are basically categories of interest. Each thread has 5-15 courses you can choose from.

 

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I chose Computer Engineering because I loved computers as a hobby. Be warned though - it's NOT the same thing as building computers. Yeah, you can work on computers (one of my internships was like that), but it's very technical and you will go deeeeeep into how computesr work and function. Lots of abstraction. At the very least, it's interesting! By the end you should (hopefully) understand the basics of a CPU, memory, and storage.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me :) I hope this helps!

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3 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

When you say that you "love computer hardware" and want to pursue it as a career, what do you actually want to do?

 

Please describe the kind of job and tasks you actually want to have.

 

A computer engineer is heavily programming based - you do learn electrical theory and electronics, but you also learn a LOT of programming.

 

If you want to develop and design new computer hardware (eg: CPU's, GPU's, etc), most of these people are electrical engineers - you can be a computer engineer, but you'll have to heavily specialize your education and further jobs.

 

Most computer engineers end up doing driver coding, firmware coding, OS/kernel coding, etc. Many of them just become computer programmers.

I wish this wasn't true but it kinda is LOL. Most computer engineers end up with programming gigs, BUT you aren't at a disadvantage if you want a hardware position as a computer engineer. I say if you're just interested in computer hardware and not general electrical hardware, go CompE and specialize. There are lots of essential computer basics you'll miss as an EE ime

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22 minutes ago, ONOTech said:

- snip - 

It should be mentioned what ONO has said here only applies to US college degrees. If you live elsewhere, your requirements will vary. Further text below applies to US colleges:

 

If you're already set your mind on engineering, you will have up to two years at almost any ABET accredited University in the US to switch majors without requiring any classes. Every Engineering degree that is ABET accredited in the US (with the exception of technical degrees) will require the following pre-engineering classes:

 

Math: Calc 1, Calc 2, Calc 3, Differential Equations, sometimes Linear Algebra

 

Science: At lteast one semester of General Chemistry, University Physics 1, University Physics 2 (college and Universtiy physics are different).

 

Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, and computer engineers then break into their own sub-categories. Sometimes classes overlap in certian degres (EE and CE guys both have to take digital Logic and c++ classes) but the following pre-engineering will be required at any university. 

 

To save money, I suggest you do what one of my friends did: Get an associates degree in engineering (you will cover all these pre-engineering classes), then transfer to a unversity to finish off your chosen degree in two years. This can save up to 50% on your entire cost of college and if you live close to a community college (many do) you might not even have to pay for room and board.

 

Notes about "technical degrees":

 

I am currently pursuing a 4-year EET degree, but please do not make the same mistake as me. Despite what your college tells you, a technical degree is not viewed the same as a "engineering" degree. Technical degrees will not teach you how to write code or design new products, while a proper engineering degree will. Technical degrees will teach you how to test, repair, and do some manufacturing work. If that's what you're into, cool. go for it. But if you aren't into that, just suck up the shitty math and Science classes, and go with an engineering Proper degree. But even if you still want to do manufacturing work with a CE of EE degree, you can. But I cannot go the other direction and do design work with my degree.

 

 I'm in my junior year and due to a bunch of family reasons I can't talk about here, I will be completing my EET degree. But I did switch my minor to math just in case I decide to go for a proper EE degree at some point. I'm also trying to teach myself everything the EE guys are outside of class, because my school does not offer the same classes to students pursuing technical degrees.

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1 minute ago, ONOTech said:

I wish this wasn't true but it kinda is LOL. Most computer engineers end up with programming gigs, BUT you aren't at a disadvantage if you want a hardware position as a computer engineer. I say if you're just interested in computer hardware and not general electrical hardware, go CompE and specialize. There are lots of essential computer basics you'll miss as an EE ime

Ehh, in practice, as an EE you still need to be pretty knowledgeable on the software and logic side especially if you're getting more into system level design where you need to work closely with a software team to make sure ports are mapped properly. Most people i know that still have computer engineer as their title tend to do most of their work with either FPGA or ASIC HDL. Its Sort of hardware, but in a very different way than most people think.

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I guess it is different in my country.

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