Computer Engineering majors study computer hardware, including integrated circuits (computer chips). By contrast, Computer Science majors focus on computer software. Computer Engineering students take a core set of courses that usually includes several semesters of mathematics, physics, computer programming, computer architecture, electronics, and circuits. They typically also choose several electives in their major which may include advanced classes in the core areas of computer engineering as well as additional computer science classes.
At Colorado State University, Computer Engineering is taught in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which is housed in the College of Engineering. For information about the Computer Engineering curriculum at CSU, see Computer Engineering Degree Standard Schedule of Coursework.
Some of the most common jobs for Computer Engineering graduates include:
You could also become a college professor, but this would definitely require going to graduate school.
Indicators of a possible good match
Personal characteristics that suggest you may like computer engineering are:
You need to be strong in math and science to succeed in the required classes, and you will need to retain what you have learned so that you can apply it in your engineering classes. CSU requires Computer Engineering majors to take three semesters of calculus, plus differential equations and a year of physics. Electives may have additional math and science requirements.
As a Computer Engineering major, you will also be required to take some computer programming classes. It helps to be a logical thinker with the ability to break a problem down into small pieces.
Your high school studies should include as many math and science classes as you can possibly take. For math, at a minimum, you should be ready to start calculus during your first semester of college. If possible, take calculus in high school. Science classes that include labs are more valuable than classes without labs, and courses in physics and chemistry are more relevant to Computer Engineering than courses in the biological sciences. See Competitive Majors and select “Engineering” for more information.
If your high school offers Advanced Placement Computer Science, you would be wise to take it, even though most colleges do not require it for admission to Computer Engineering studies. If your school does not offer a programming class, there are several ways you can get experience on your own. Similarly, if your school offers a course in electronics or circuits, take it if you can. It will introduce you to important fundamental Computer Engineering concepts while at the same time helping you evaluate your interest in and aptitude for Computer Engineering.
Computer Engineering is a competitive major at CSU. This means the Computer Engineering major’s admission requirements are stricter than requirements for admission to the university in general. Admission to the Computer Engineering major is based on class rank or GPA, ACT or SAT scores, and the math and sciences classes taken in high school. For the exact requirements, see Competitive Majors and select “Engineering”.
Students who meet the university’s admission requirements but not the Computer Engineering admission requirements may be able to begin taking Computer Engineering courses and qualify for admission to the Electrical and Computer Engineering department by doing well in these classes and their other coursework. For details about qualifying for Computer Engineering while attending CSU, talk with a CSU admission counselor or a Computer Engineering undergraduate advisor.
Computer Engineering at Other Schools
At other colleges and universities, Computer Engineering may be in a department of its own, or it may be a specialty or concentration within Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. Admission requirements may vary, so be sure to check them carefully.
For More Information