Computer Engineering Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Course Info

About this article
An associate's and bachelor's degree in computer engineering can lead to careers in the computer engineering field. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and career options, and find out what you can do with your degree in computer engineering.
View available schools

Study Computer Engineering: Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

In undergraduate computer engineering degree programs, students will learn how to apply knowledge of math, science, and engineering to solve computer problems and create new computer elements. Computer engineering specialties include computer software engineering, computer hardware engineering, and computer systems engineering.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineering is projected to be among the fastest growing occupations from 2008 to 2018. The number of computer hardware engineers is expected to grow slower than the average for all occupations through 2018.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who enjoy math and science are interested in computers and technology Individuals with exceptional problem-solving and innovative skills who seek a pivotal role in the construction and operation of computers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Computer engineering technologist or support specialist ($50,000)** - Computer Applications Software Engineer ($88,000)*
- Computer Systems Software Engineer ($95,000)*
- Computer Hardware Engineer ($99,000)
Time to Completion 2 years full time 4 years full time
Common Graduation Requirements - Science, math, technology, and engineering courses Hands-on projects
- Approximately 120 units of course work
- Senior Seminar
- Hands-on projects
Prerequisites High school diploma - High school diploma
- Satisfactory college admission exam scores
Online Availability Yes Yes

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

Associate's in Computer Engineering

An associate's degree in computer engineering is designed to meet lower division requirements for those who later plan to major in computer engineering at a four-year institution. Computer engineering associate degree programs prepare students for a variety of essential academic, technical, and professional roles needed for success. Students in computer engineering associate degree programs will learn to solve problems by applying knowledge of math and science, demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and professional responsibilities of computer engineers, and use technology to enhance their productivity.

Pros and Cons


  • Earning an associate's degree in computer engineering can allow you to seek transfer to a four-year institution*
  • Because of the heavy dependence on computers in today's world, almost any business or organization will need to have someone maintaining their computer systems
  • Computer engineers are at the forefront of technical, computer, and innovative knowledge


  • Professional engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree*
  • If you will like to specialize in computer hardware engineering as you further your education, you should note that employment of computer hardware engineers is expected to increase slower than the average for all occupations*
  • A limited number of engineers will be needed to meet the demand for new computer hardware because more of the creation of computer components and processes now takes place with software than with hardware*


Common Coursework and Requirements

In order to receive an associate's degree in computer engineering, students will need to demonstrate proficiency in computer, science, technical, and mathematical courses. Students will also be required to demonstrate an ability to identify, originate, and solve computer engineering problems. Before beginning a computer engineering associate's degree program, students are urged to discuss acceptance requirements and transferrable credits requirements of specific four-year institutions with their academic advisor. Some required courses needed in order to earn an associate's degree in computer engineering include: Differential Equations, Discrete Structures, Digital Logic Design, and Physics for Scientists and Engineers.

Online Degree Options

There are some online programs that can give you the opportunity to study specialty areas in computer education. For instance, an associate's of science in software development online program incorporates the fundamentals of computer engineering such as programming, networking, troubleshooting, and internet application. These programs also offer general education courses required for an Associate level degree.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

In order to become a computer engineer, employers will require at least a bachelor's degree. You can use the expertise, knowledge, preparation, and instruction you received from your associate degree program as a way to propel you into a bachelor's degree in computer engineering program. You can also get ahead with your degree and make yourself more marketable to employers by enrolling in continuing education courses, joining professional organizations, volunteering at engineering corporations, or seeking out a professional engineer as your mentor.

Bachelor's in Computer Engineering

Earning a bachelor's degree in computer engineering provides students with the skills, knowledge, techniques, and training needed for careers in computer engineering. Some possible career paths for students who complete a bachelor's degree program in computer engineering include hardware engineer, software engineer, computer applications software engineer, and computer systems software engineer. Computer engineering bachelor degree programs aim to provide students with an ability to design systems, elements, or procedures that will meet desired needs within realistic guidelines such as economic, ecological, social, political, or health and safety guidelines.

Pros and Cons


  • After earning a computer engineering bachelor's degree, graduates may possess the discipline and expertise to be productive, entry-level computer engineers within the industry*
  • Bachelor degrees in computer engineering provide academic preparation for entry into the Master of Science in Computer Engineering (MSCE) program*
  • Job opportunities for certain specialties, such as software systems developing, should see new opportunities because of an increase in the number of products that use software**
  • The course of study is demanding
  • Foreign competition can negatively affect certain aspects of the field**
  • You may have to work extra time to solve unexpected and urgent computer**

Source:*, **

Common Coursework and Requirements

Bachelor degree programs in computer engineering prepare students for careers as computer engineering professionals or for entry to graduate school programs in computer engineering. The core requirements in computer engineering bachelor degree programs provide a solid foundation on the theories and applications of computer engineering. Students can also choose from a wide range of electives such as databases, networking and network administration, artificial intelligence, and Java technologies. Some courses that computer engineering majors are required to take include Computer Architecture, Data Structures, Operating Systems, Software Engineering Methods, and Digital Design.

Online Degree Options

Some colleges offer students the opportunity to earn their bachelor of science in computer engineering degree through distance learning programs. Various schools will offer differing methods of course delivery. For instance, some programs may be 100% online while some programs may include a combination of traditional on-campus courses and real-time interactive video distance learning courses.

Stand Out with this Degree

As technological advances continue at a rapid pace, computer engineers must be on the forefront of continually updating their training, knowledge, and skills needed to remain marketable in the computer engineering field. Job candidates with a computer engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program have better chances of finding jobs. Thus, before enrolling in any education program, it is helpful to be sure the engineering program is ABET-accredited. Furthermore, computer engineering hopefuls should stay abreast of computer software elements because engineers who have an advanced degree along with experience with computer software will have the best job prospects.

Popular Schools

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
  • BSIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Mobile Development

What is your highest level of education?