Computer Engineer: Average Salary of a Computer Engineer

Published Aug 12, 2009

RSS Feed

Computer engineers design hardware or software for computers. It is because of innovative computer hardware engineers that printers, microchips and other everyday technologies exist; computer software engineers program both advanced and everyday applications. Salaries for computer engineers depend on experience and qualifications.

Computer Engineer Career Summary

There are two main types of computer engineers. Developing, designing and testing computer hardware are the core responsibilities of a computer hardware engineer. This hardware may come in the form of microprocessors, modems, circuit boards and computer systems. The job of a computer engineer is very closely linked to that of electrical engineers, but electrical engineers work with electrical systems in general while computer engineers focus on computer hardware. Typically, a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering or a related field of study is required for an entry-level position.

Computer software engineers focus on designing and programming software. They also debug current software and create new applications based on client needs. A computer software engineer can also be called a computer software programmer or developer. Aspiring computer software engineers may earn a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or computer software engineering, according to Workers with master's degrees typically earn higher salaries than those with just bachelor's degrees.

Computer Engineer Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,, computer hardware engineering positions are projected to experience slower than average growth through 2016. Much of this slow growth is due to strong competition from other countries. The computer systems and equipment design industries employ the most computer engineers, followed by the federal government and science research industries.

In contrast to positions for computer hardware engineers, positions in software engineering will grow 38% through 2016, which is much faster than average, according to BLS. Workers looking for positions related to computer software engineering could look into computer programming, network administration and systems engineering.

The median salary in 2006 for a computer hardware engineer was $88,470, according to BLS. However, salaries can range from as low as $59,000 to over $148,000 a year. Some of the highest paying industries for computer engineering positions include data processing, magnetic and optical media manufacturing and business support services. Software engineers with less than one year experience earn between $51,180 and $73,103 according to

Featured School Choices: