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Computer Engineer

Online Degree in Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering Online Degrees: Computer software engineers apply the values of computer science and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers work. Software engineers can be involved in the design and development of many types of software, including computer games, word processing, business applications, operating systems, network distribution, and compilers, which convert programs to machine language for execution on a computer. Computer engineering can go hand in hand with electronic engineering, as both concentrations focus on software and hardware design, among many other computer aspects. A deep understanding of computer systems, how they integrate into our daily lives, and their basic structure is required to become a successful computer engineer.

Online degree completion programs can offer prospective students a chance to begin or finish a college-level degree in order to obtain an entry-level job or senior position in the field of engineering. Computer engineering as a subject is readily offered online, with many programs from which potential students can choose.

Computer Engineering Degree Levels Available Online

Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate: 1 year to complete

Associate Degree: 2 years to complete

Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete

Master's Degree: 1 to 2 years to complete

Doctoral Degree: 3 to 5 years to complete

Computer engineering certificate programs are for students who already hold a degree or have some educational background in electric power systems. An undergraduate certificate, for example, may be able to be obtained during coursework at the undergraduate level. Some universities will offer more advanced certificates as an integrated part of their computer or electrical engineering programs. In most cases, computer engineering degrees can be completely entirely online with the exception of a lab course.

Degrees at the associate and bachelor's levels offer a more in-depth educational experience. Students can expect to take coursework in hardware, physics, math, data analysis, and computer organization, to name a few. Other universities will feature a computer engineering technology program that requires students to implement hardware and software of their own design.

Graduate degrees are even more in-depth, offering advanced skills, theories, and knowledge. This type of education allows graduates to pursue senior positions in the computer engineering field, and they will be prepared with classes such as microprocessor design, computer design, and electrical engineering. Master's programs often require a thesis based upon the student's own research in order to graduate.

Admission Requirements

Specific admission requirements will vary by school, and even by program, but computer engineering degree programs generally require a strong background in math and science. If this is the first time you are entering college, grades received in these subjects in high school are taken into account. Both associate and bachelor's programs require a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Graduate programs require a bachelor's degree, preferably in engineering or a related field like math or science, while doctoral programs require a master's degree. Other requirements may include the program's application, letters of recommendation, a resume, standardized test scores, and transcripts.

Online Computer Engineering vs. Traditional College Programs

Unlike traditional college programs, online degrees have less overhead. This equates to a less expensive alternative to traditional college. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of online computer engineering courses is that these degree programs are incredibly flexible. Anyone wanting to get their college degree or obtain a higher level of education need not quit their day job or take time away from family to do it. Online students must be able to work more independently than traditional college students, since they will be receiving little direction and virtually no direct contact with their instructors or classmates. This doesn't mean, however, that no help is available. It just means that questions are answered online rather than in person. This means that you must be driven and independent to be successful in an online program.

What's more, many engineering programs require at least one lab credit for degree completion. This means that you may have to go to a local university lab or even travel to the closest one available in order to fulfill the requirement. Most computer engineering courses are strictly online, but make sure you know the residency requirements, if any, before applying.

Tuition and Accreditation

Online programs often cost less than those offered at brick-and-mortar schools, but the cost still depends on the degree program and education level. An associate degree in computer engineering could cost as much as $31,000. Check your intended program's tuition estimates and note if they are listed per course, for one semester, or are a total for an entire year.

As with any engineering program, computer engineering degrees should be accredited by the ABET, or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. This organization is the standard accreditation for a variety of programs in the engineering field, and a degree from an accredited ABET program proves that you received a high-quality education and have met high academic standards. A degree from an ABET-accredited school is generally required for acceptance into graduate school or certain career fields.

Choosing the Best Computer Engineering Degree

The best computer engineering degree largely depends on the individual wishing to obtain it. Ask yourself what your career or educational goals are and determine whether you need a bachelor's, a master's, or simply a certification. Computer engineering is an ever-changing field in a big industry, so you may work at an entry-level job as a recent graduate only to find that you want to go back to college for a more advanced degree. Those wishing to teach engineering at the college level, for example, need to obtain a doctorate degree, while those wanting to stay competitive in the current job market should consider at least a master's. Think about the skills that you hope to obtain throughout the coursework to ensure you are placing yourself on the right career path. This is why it is so important to compare online computer engineering programs to view their requirements, their core classes, tuition rates, and accreditation.

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