Bachelor’s degrees afford students the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive programme while focusing their studies on either software or hardware specialisations. A programme in electrical engineering, for example, with a focus on computer engineering would be suitable should you wish to work with high-speed circuitry and microprocessors.
For anyone thinking about a career as a software engineer, you might wish to choose a software engineering degree or a general computer engineering degree. Other undergraduate majors that are applicable to a career as a computer engineer are computer science and mathematics. When seeking out potential programmes, ensure that it has received certification by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
While it’s perfectly plausible for graduates in a bachelor’s degree programme to find a software engineering role at entry-level, jobs as software managers or any other with better pay usually require a master’s degree. Typically, hardware engineers go back to college to perform post-graduate work. Aspirants seeing roles in either management or leadership take a master’s degree in business administration, known as an MBA, but with an emphasis on technology.
Ongoing education tends to lead to pay rises, and engineers are keen to stay on top of what’s happening in the field of technology. Your boss may even choose to contribute towards your education, as has happened in many cases. It can be advantageous to pursue a PhD for anyone who wishes to undertake advanced research at a laboratory sponsored by a university or, should they desire, to teach at a school. Engineers with a doctorate in information technology can go on to full roles in management such as chief information officer, chief technology officer, or IT strategist.
Specialisation and certification
Computer engineers have the option of focusing on a single aspect of their career or as general problem solvers. It can be advantageous for hardware professionals to continue their education in software development. The same is true of software developers continuing their education in hardware. As each of these two fields continues to evolve, job candidates will seek out where the opportunities lie. They’ll want to socialise while remaining flexible at the same time.
Some companies may insist on their employees taking advanced certifications in hardware or software systems provided by vendors. There are certification exams that exist that benchmark skills for prospective employers to progress within the company.
In fact, these exams can even be a requirement within the jobs search arsenal. Some of the more popular categories of certification include Project Management and VM Ware, Cisco Network (Wireless and Voice), and Microsoft Systems Administration (MCSA).
Which degree you pursue depends on which you fit the entry requirements for but there are also other aspects that you need to consider. For example, if you’re seeking a short-term degree that is flexible and provides training for entry-level work as an electronics technician, an associate degree is for you. Think carefully about what you wish to achieve with your degree.