Computer Engineering Technology Degrees: Associate, Bachelor & Online Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer engineering technology? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and computer engineering technology-training programs.
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Studying Computer Engineering Technology: Degrees at a Glance

Computer engineering technology occupations support the design and development of multiple technology-based products. Specialists in the industry apply their knowledge of mathematics and the sciences to the creation, management and design of computer hardware and software. Professionals work in the product development, automation or telecommunications industries. The associate's degree will prepare you for entry-level support or technician positions. The bachelor's degree offers the education necessary for work as a computer hardware engineer or software developer.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that job candidates could expect a range of job growth statistics in the industry. Some opportunities (e.g. electronics engineer) would see little to no change (-2-2%) in job growth. Other opportunities, including software development (30%), would see much faster than average growth. Most programs offer concentration options so that you can tailor your degree to fit your career goals.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level support or technician opportunities in the manufacturing, product development or high-technology sectors People who want to pursue a career in software development or hardware engineering
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Computer support specialist ($52,000)*
- Computer programmer ($76,000)*
- Electronics engineer ($57,000)*
- Electronics engineering technician ($59,000)*
- Software developer ($92,000)*
- Computer hardware engineer ($101,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60 credits in general education, elective and core courses
- Internship
- Roughly 120 credits in lower- and upper-division, general education and elective courses
- Capstone
- Professional internship
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Limited Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Computer Engineering Technology

The associate's degree program provides a background in the sciences and technology through programming, data and electrical coursework. Schools usually structure programs to confer an associate's in science degree, which provides a strong foundation in mathematics and science-based subject matter. You will learn to create technical laboratory reports, execute project management schedules and solve technical problems using critical thinking skills. You may spend long hours in a laboratory environment learning new programming languages and designing systems.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Job growth will remain at average (12% - 18%) for many job opportunities over the 2010-2020 decade versus a decline for other careers*
  • Programs offer multiple concentrations from which to choose
  • Many programs transfer to a bachelor's degree

Cons

  • Competition against candidates with a bachelor's degree will be keen
  • You may need to continue your education to achieve advancement
  • There are limited, or nonexistent, online degree options

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections).

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree will prepare you for a career in computer support, programming or electronics engineering technology. Programs require roughly 60 credits in general education and subject-matter courses. You will take a number of scientific and mathematics courses to develop critical thinking skills. Following are some common courses offered by the program:

  • Computer programming
  • Scientific and technical writing
  • Electrical circuits
  • Discrete mathematics
  • Digital electronic design
  • Networking systems
  • Electromechanical devices

Online Course Info

Locating an associate's degree in computer engineering technology may prove difficult. Some schools offer computer science programs with electives in software or hardware topics. Computer science programs provide a foundation for bachelor's degree and the knowledge to start a career in computer support or other technician opportunities.

Stand Out with This Degree

Competition against bachelor's degree holders for positions in programming and computer systems analysis will present a challenge. Following are a few steps you can take to stand out with this degree:

  • Learn multiple programming languages. Boosting your knowledge of several programming languages will make you more flexible. Take as many courses as you can during your studies and consider pursuing continuing education courses for additional languages.
  • Obtain an appropriate certification through an industry-standard certifying agency. Certification can increase earnings potential and validates your skills. For example, the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals revealed that 63% of respondents to its 2012 skills and salary survey received a raise of 8.6% or more. The Associate Computing Professional credential offered by the organization will demonstrate your skills.
  • Participate in internships to gain experience. Employers value experience and internships, or collaborative projects and cooperative education, offer work-based, hands-on experience.

Bachelor's in Computer Engineering Technology

The bachelor's degree in computer engineering technology emphasizes hardware development, software design and automation through a broad range of engineering technology courses. Programs provide training through hands-on courses and laboratory work to develop analysis and critical thinking skills. You may need to meet field experience requirements to complete your degree. The degree would prepare you for computer hardware engineer (9%), software developer (30%) or electronics engineering technologist (3-9%) job opportunities, which the BLS projects will experience slower through faster than average job growth.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Some jobs pay competitive salaries (computer hardware engineers earned $101,000 annually) with the appropriate experience
  • Job growth for software developers will be faster than average at 30% over the 2010-2020 decade**
  • Programs offer a combination of lower- and upper-division courses, laboratory work and electives, which offers a well-rounded education

Cons

  • Some salaries are comparable to those earned by associate's degree holders (computer support specialists earned $52,000 vs. electronics engineering technologists earned $59,000 annually)*
  • Job growth will linger between little or no change (-2-2%) and slower than average (3-9%) job growth over the 2010-2020 decade for some careers**
  • Online programs may not offer a substantial amount of laboratory coursework to facilitate hands-on learning

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections).

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree offers lower- and upper-division courses that may require a minimum grade in prerequisite courses. For example, an industrial communications course may require a passing grade in an introductory engineering course. Programs require roughly 120 credits of general education, subject matter and upper-division coursework. The completion of an internship in an approved and certified industry may also be required.

You will to design and analyze electronics and software programming to computers, microprocessors and digital systems through courses in digital electronics, circuit analysis, computer applications, manufacturing operations, control instrumentation and client/server computer technology.

Online Course Info

Some schools offer the bachelor's degree as a complete online experience. You may need an associate's degree prior to enrolling in the program. Some colleges structure programs to offer the remaining 60 credits of a bachelor's degree through online courses. Courses are similar to those offered at a campus-based program and include the digital electronics, technical and circuit analysis, limited laboratories and electives. Keep in mind; you may need to work closely with an advisor to plan the transfer of an associate's degree to an online bachelor's program.

Stand Out with This Degree

The best steps to consider when pursuing marketability rely on your selected career path. Job prospects will be best for individuals with updated knowledge of programming tools and languages for software developer opportunities. Electrical and electronics engineers opportunities will likely surface in the research industry. Following are a few steps you can take to get ahead:

  • Learn the latest programming language updates and tools.
  • Pursue internship opportunities with an organization that complements your career goals.
  • Seek certification that will enhance your skills and demonstrate your ability to execute job requirements.

Popular Schools

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      • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
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    4. Colorado Technical University

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Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Mobile Development

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
  • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration

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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - IT - Software Systems Engineering

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Excelsior College

  • BS in Technology (Electromechanical Technologies)
  • BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology (Nuclear Leadership)
  • BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology (Without Concentration)

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