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June 3, 2013 / NextStepU

Major Monday — Computer Engineering

young African American student studying in college classroomAccording to a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), students who majored in computer engineering are number two on the top-ten list of highest-paying salaries for the class of 2013. So, if you are fascinated by how computers work and are interested in improving them, computer engineering could be the perfect major for you!

According to the College Board, computer engineering is offered at both the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree level. In order to prepare for the program, consider taking AP Calculus, AP Physics, electronics and chemistry in high school. Some typical courses in the computer engineering major are computer architecture, software systems design, digital-logic design and systems programming.

What to know before you apply
Before deciding on a particular college, you should know whether the program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.  Also, you should be aware of the program requirements, as well as the chance for internships and other real-world experience. Finally, it is important to know whether the program is associated with the computer science or the electrical engineering department.  This will make a difference in the program and you should know which you would prefer in your own studies.

Computer engineering majors often go on to become computer hardware engineers, engineering technicians and software developers. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer hardware engineers earned an average yearly salary of $101,360 in 2011. Engineering technicians earned between $45,730 and $59,820 in 2009, depending on their specialty. Software engineers made between $92,080 and $100,420 in 2011, depending on their specialty.

According to the recent NACE report, computer engineer majors from the Class of 2013 make an average starting salary of $71,700.

> For more information about choosing a career, visit


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