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Difference Between Computer Engineering And Electrical Engineering

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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Difference Between Computer Engineering And Electrical Engineering

Graduates with a degree in computer science can pursue careers as computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, and computer system analysts. As the demand for new and better technologies increases, the need for highly skilled computer science professionals is also expected to increase.

Electrical engineering is a broad field that deals with the generation, transmission, and conversion of electric energy. It therefore involves anything from working with electrical circuits in electronic devices to working with electrical installations in buildings and working on power plants.

What is the Difference between a Computer Engineer and an Electrical  Engineer? - Oxbridge Academy Blog

If I were to be an electrical engineer, what would I be doing?

As an electrical engineer, you could design and develop new electrical systems, solve problems, and test equipment. Depending on your area of specialisation, you could find yourself working with anything from pocket calculators to supercomputers, wiring systems, communication systems, and generators.

WHAT IS COMPUTER ENGINEERING?

Computer engineering is a branch of electrical engineering, and like the name implies, it involves designing, building, and fixing computers and computer components, as well as matching various digital devices to software programs.

If I were to be a computer engineer, what would I be doing?

As a computer engineer, you could specialise in areas such as computer hardware and architecture, IT security, IT communication and networking, or software engineering. Depending on which area of specialisation you choose, you might find yourself designing or improving computer hardware, designing and implementing IT communication systems, or working with software developers to identify hardware that is compatible with specific types of software.

HOW ARE THE TWO LINKED?

Electrical Engineering vs Computer Science | GCU Blog

Electrical and computer engineering involve the same core subjects. Both electrical engineers and computer engineers are involved in developing, programming, and enhancing electrical circuits, systems, and devices. As mentioned previously, computer engineering is considered to be a sub-discipline of electrical engineering.

Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers vs. Computer Engineers

Electrical engineers are professionals who design electrical equipment. They use computer design software to produce technical documents and assess the performance of their products before the product moves to the manufacturing phase. The work that some computer engineers do is similar because all computer engineers develop a design as part of their work. Those who work with hardware and software construct prototypes that they test. Those who create networks oversee the equipment installation and they evaluate the system to make sure that it works properly. Electrical and computer engineers produce a creative vision for the products they’re working on, apply their technical knowledge and develop a strategy to achieve their goals.

Electrical Engineering Vs Computer Engineering - How to Pick the ...

Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers use their technological and creative skills to develop new electrical products or to improve the design and function of existing types of electrical equipment. It’s common for electrical engineers to work in research, manufacturing or power production. Most of the work they do is performed in an office, although they may need to travel to worksites on occasion. With experience electrical engineers can pursue roles in management. A Professional Engineer (PE) license may be necessary for advancement to a supervisory role.

Job responsibilities of an electrical engineer include:

  • Producing design plans
  • Evaluating the performance of existing products
  • Developing strategies to improve product performance
  • Performing tests on equipment
  • Monitoring equipment production

Computer Engineers

Computer engineers may produce computer equipment, components, applications, software or networks. Whether they’re working on hardware or software or networking systems, their objective is to enable the computers to function effectively. With extensive experience in their field they can consider pursuing advancement to a role as a computer and information systems manager, but a master’s degree in business administration or a similar discipline may also be required. They may work in fields as varied as manufacturing, finance and research, depending on their area of specialization, and typically spend most of their time working in an office.

Job responsibilities of a computer engineer include:

  • Clarifying the needs of their client or employer
  • Developing design plans for hardware, software or networks
  • Producing prototypes of hardware or software
  • Performing tests on their products
  • Installing new equipment
  • Producing project budgets

Electrical Pay

Most engineering jobs pay well above the average income for all jobs. Electrical engineer pay is a bit lower on average to computer engineer pay, though. As of May 2012, average income for an electrical engineer was $91,810, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The aerospace sector offered the highest average at just over six figures. Ten percent of all electrical engineers made at or above $136,690.

Computer Pay

The typical computer engineer earned a six-figure salary as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall average for all computer engineers was $103,980 per year. At the high end, 10 percent made at or above $150,130. Computer and ancillary equipment engineering paid the highest average income at $110, 400. Semiconductor and electrical component engineers earned an average of $105,380 per year.

Electrical Pros and Cons

Electrical engineers help design and develop new technologies and equipment used in both business and residential settings, such a electric power generators. If you enjoy creating useful and innovative products, this field makes a lot of sense. The breadth of industries using electrical engineers contributes to job variance and career stability. The potential for long hours, dangers of electrical systems electricity, and lower pay than other engineering jobs are among the drawbacks.

Computer Pros and Cons

Computer engineering is a high-demand career field. Advancement of mobile technology contributes to steady career options. A computer engineer needs to stay abreast of emerging computer languages constantly advance and change. Computer professionals increasingly need to work in organizational or departmental teams, which makes interpersonal and social skills necessary. This requirement may challenge those that prefer a lab-based jobs.

Which One Is Better: Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering?

Like most career choices, “electronics engineering vs computer engineering” isn’t one size fits all. The features that make electrical engineering a clear winner for one person may make computer engineering the choice for another. Although both career fields overlap, knowing the difference between electrical engineering and computer engineering can help you make the right choice.

Computer hardware engineering and electrical engineering are sibling career fields. You’ll take many of the same subjects in high school and college, although computer engineers eventually become more specialized. Computer engineers make the higher median salary. Which is “better” is ultimately a personal judgment call.

Electronics Engineering vs. Computer Engineering

Electrical and computer engineering overlap because computer engineering is a subset of electrical engineering, Brigham Young University says. Computer engineers study many of the electrical engineer subjects in college, although the two fields diverge as students get further along in their studies.

Electrical engineering, Oxbridge Academy says, deals with everything from electrical circuits to wiring up to power plants. A professional electrical engineer might work on new electrical systems, fix problems in wiring systems or test generators before they hook up to the grid.

Computer engineers work with a subset of electrical equipment: computer hardware and compatible software. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says computer hardware engineers design and test new technology, analyzing the results and modifying the design if necessary. They also work to keep computer hardware compatible with new and updated software.

Although computer engineering is a more specialized field, it still covers a wide range of topics. Engineers may work on a wide variety of products that include computerized elements or internet connections. That can include cars, home appliances and medical devices.

If money’s a concern, both the electrical and computer engineering salary are good, the BLS says. The median income for computer hardware engineers is ​$117,220​. For electrical engineers other than computer engineers, the median is ​$105,570​, according to the BLS. The best wages for computer engineers are in manufacturing; for electrical engineers, they’re in R&D.

Computer and Electrical Engineer Subjects

The BLS says that electrical engineering subjects at the high school level include physics, advanced math and drafting. The latter is important as technical drawings and blueprints are part of many electrical engineering jobs. In college, a degree in electrical engineering includes courses in circuit theory, digital systems design and differential equations.

Computer engineering, the BLS says, covers much of the same territory: math and science in high school and many of the electrical engineering subjects in college. The big difference is the greater emphasis on computer science and computer programming; even if you’re not writing software yourself, you need to understand it. Still, an electrical engineering degree by itself may be enough to get you an entry-level position in a computer engineering career.

Both fields require you to think creatively, analyze problems and find solutions. Despite the technical focus, good communications skills are a must. In the 21st century, engineers usually work in teams. It’s also important to communicate your ideas and conclusions with non-technical projects managers and administrators.

Types of Computer Engineers

There are two main types of computer engineers: hardware and software. Hardware engineers work on physical computing devices and their components, while software engineers, also known as software developers, focus on the programming code that operates the devices. In addition to working on all types of computers, from PCs to the largest supercomputers, both hardware and software engineers build and maintain computer-based systems found in smartphones, home appliances, cars, planes and many other consumer products.

The field of computer engineering is broad. Some hardware engineers who work on circuit design are doing work similar to that of electrical engineers. Others who put together complex networks may focus on software architecture, part of the skill set of computer scientists. Many universities provide different paths for computer engineering students, depending on whether their interest is in working mostly with computer hardware or with hardware and software in combination.

Computer Hardware Engineer Salary

The U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks computer engineering salary data, reports that the 2017 median salary for computer engineers was $115,120. This is the amount at which half of engineers made more and half made less. Salaries for the top 10 percent of earners was more than $176,900. The lowest 10 percent made less than $66,290.

Some industries pay higher salaries for computer engineers than others. For example, the semiconductor industry had a median salary of $130,150 in 2017. Another high-paying area for computer engineering is scientific research and development, where the median annual wage was $126,670. Computer engineers working for the federal government were among the lowest earners, with a median salary of $111,550.

Becoming a Computer Hardware Engineer

Most entry level computer engineering jobs require at least a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Engineering (BSCE) degree or in a related field like electrical engineering or computer science. Some positions require a master’s degree or doctorate, especially when research is involved. To gain experience, many students complete internships or work as assistant engineers while earning their degree.

Computer Engineers vs. Software Developers

Software developers work on computer programs but typically do not work on hardware. Most have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Their college coursework may include some basic computer hardware classes, but most of their studies focus on software architecture and computer programming using languages like Java and Python. On the job, software developers may work on applications like video games or word processors or they may work on system software that runs computers and networks.

The median annual wage for software developers was $101,790 in 2017. The highest 10 percent of developers made more than $160,100. The lowest 10 percent made less than $59,870. The industries paying the highest software developer wages were software publishing, manufacturing, finance and insurance.

Employment Trend for Computer Engineers

Technology has developing at a rapid pace in recent decades, but the Department of Labor forecasts that employment of computer engineers is expected to grow by only 5 percent between 2016 and 2026, from 73,600 engineers to 77,600. This is average growth compare to other occupations. In comparison, employment of software developers is expected to grow by 31 percent during the same period, from 1.2 million to 1.5 million. The Department of Labor attributes this difference to a growing demand for new software products compared to new hardware devices.

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