Computer engineers analyze and evaluate computer systems, both hardware and software. They might work on system such as a flexible manufacturing system or a "smart" device or instrument. Computer engineers often find themselves focusing on problems or challenges which result in new "state of the art" products, which integrate computer capabilities.
They work on the design, planning, development, testing, and even the supervision of manufacturing of computer hardware -- including everything from chips to device controllers. They work on the interface between different pieces of hardware and strive to provide new capabilities to existing and new systems or products. The work of a computer engineer is grounded in the hardware -- from circuits to architecture -- but also focuses on operating systems and software.
Computer engineers must understand logic design, microprocessor system design, computer architecture, computer interfacing, and continually focus on system requirements and design. It is primarily software engineers who focus on creating the software systems used by individuals and businesses, but computer engineers may also design and develop some software applications. More detailed information about Computer Engineering is available on the Career Cornerstone Center's Computer Engineering site.
Career Guidance Suggestions for Pre-University Students: Pre-University students should take as many math and science courses as possible, both during school and as part of after-school programs. Students aged 5-9 should do additional math, puzzles, and code exploration projects. Students aged 9-12 should take extra math, and if inspired, explore pre-algebra and geometry. Students aged 12-18 might consider taking advanced algebra, chemistry, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, physics, design, and engineering concept courses.
There are also several lessons and activities, and projects and competitions that can help provide students with an interest in engineering first hand exposure to electrical engineering principals. Students who implement these activities and participate in projects or competitions have a better understanding of engineering and its impact on society. They'll be better able to determine if engineering is the career path for them by sharing their interest with other students, and experiencing hands-on applications of engineering. Summer programs and internships are another great way for students at the pre-university level to explore engineering.