Computer Engineer Salary: Your 2023 Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

For those who want to explore a career in computer engineering, learn more about potential salaries and the education and experience needed to reach different levels.

[Featured Image]:  Computer programmer, working at a desktop computer, writing and testing a program for the project.

Computer engineering can provide a rewarding career if you enjoy math, physics, computer science, electricity, and electronics. Jobs as a web developer, software engineer, electronics engineer, or computer programmer are among the many options. 

Your salary depends on several factors, such as education, experience, and the industry. You’ll find opportunities in telecommunications, aerospace, government agencies, and many others.

Depending on the field of computer engineering you work in, you may be designing and testing software or hardware systems or working with other computer system professionals to develop information security systems.  

With plentiful options in this growing field, including opportunities with some of the top tech employers and in the best locations, finding a job as a computer engineer is a popular choice. 

Read more: Guide to Going into the Computer Engineering Field

How much do computer engineers make?

According to Glassdoor, a computer engineer's estimated annual base pay is 90,518 [1]. This does not include a bonus or other discretionary pay.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for computer hardware engineers are expected to grow 2 percent between 2020 and 2030.   The BLS predicts job opportunities for computer software engineers to grow by 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. The BLS predicts that computer engineering opportunities will increase by 7 percent between 2020 and 2030 [2].

Factors affecting salary

The salary you can expect to earn depends on your work field. Your level of education and experience will affect your earnings, industry, and location. Additional certifications and specializations can increase your earning potential, and if you are enrolled in a degree program, you may find an internship opportunity. 

Education

Many positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position, and 66 percent of computer engineers hold a degree at that level [3].  Some employers hire those with an associate degree at a junior level, and some seek employees with a master’s degree. 

Most positions will prefer a major in computer engineering. Other acceptable majors include software engineering and electrical engineering with a minor or concentration in computer engineering. 

Read more: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science: A Guide

Certifications

You can seek certifications as a stepping-stone to further education or to enter the field. If you’re already working in a computer engineering position, certifications can help advance your career. 

Vendor certifications can increase your knowledge and skills and enhance your resume if you’re seeking a career as a computer engineer or want to advance in your current position. Some certifications include:

  • Linux Foundation Certified Engineer

  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

  • Red Hat Certified Engineer 

  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

  • Professional Software Engineering Master (PSEM)

Certificate programs are also available. Some popular certificates are found in areas including:

  • Machine Learning

  • Internet Engineering

  • Computer Security

Level of experience 

Entering the field of computer engineering typically requires a degree, preferably a minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a closely related field. While in college, experience gained through an internship or cooperative education (Co-op) benefits your career search. 

A Co-op allows students to take their regular studies and work at a full-time paid job in their field of study. Participating in a Co-op can offer you hands-on experience to add to your resume, and some schools also offer college credit.

Recent graduates can also apply for internships to add to their resumes. Attending college career recruitments can lead you to job opportunities that can provide you with experience to advance your career.  

Industry

As a computer engineer, the industries you can enter are vast. You can work in system design, web development, research, manufacturing, security, and with the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation hires digital forensic examiners, data analysts and scientists, and computer scientists.

Top companies

If your goal is to work for one of the major tech companies as a computer engineer, you can expect good working conditions. Typically these corporations have higher earnings and benefits that a small company might not be able to offer.

Google is ranked as one of the highest-paying companies, offering an attractive benefits package and work environment. Apple is also highly rated as one of the best tech companies to work for. They offer flexibility for those with family commitments, and they offer their employees discounts on their products.

If you're interested in working for a social media company, Facebook ranks high as a good place to work with plenty of perks. The company has a high employee retention rate, so it may be more competitive. 

Industry and salary 

Industry can make a difference in earnings, with system design, research and development, electronic manufacturing, and computer manufacturing among the top industries, with salaries ranging from $128,400 for system designers to $172,460 for computer engineers working in research and development [2].

Location and salary

According to the BLS, California, Oregon, Texas, Colorado, and Virginia are the best places to find positions in computer engineering. The Bureau lists West Coast states as having the highest-paying computer engineering positions. 

The BLS reports the following states offer the highest annual salaries: 

  • California: $169,970

  • Washington: $166,980

  • Virginia: $139,180

  • Oregon: $136,150

  • Nevada $135,880 [2]

Education and salary

Those hold the highest paying computer engineering positions with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The BLS lists information research scientists earning $131,490 for those with a master’s degree and network administrators earning $80,600 with a bachelor’s degree. It is possible to work as a computer support specialist with an associate’s degree or certification. Support specialists can earn a median salary of $57,910 [3].

Read more: Is a Master's Degree Worth It?

Job title variations and salary

Many careers fall under computer engineering or can be a popular side step or upgrade. The salary you can expect to earn will depend on your job title. Some of the more common jobs for computer engineers to move into include:

Computer programmer

Median annual salary: $93,000 [4]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 10 percent

As a computer programmer, you write and test programs to ensure they work properly. You have experience writing computer languages, and you work with software developers for design. 

Software developer

Median annual salary: $110,140

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 22 percent

As a software developer, you design computer applications and software updates [5].

IT Consultant

Average annual salary: $62,943 [6]

As an IT consultant, your role is to improve technology for a company or organization. 

Forensic computer analyst

Average annual salary: $74,984 [7]

If you are looking for a career working closely with or for law enforcement, a job as a forensic computer analyst might be a good match. Forensic analysts work to find misuse and other vulnerabilities.

Next Steps

If you haven’t decided what computer engineering discipline to pursue, you can explore options and learn more about available opportunities. If you think you’d like a career as a software engineer, you can learn more about what it entails and what it takes to become one. 

You might like to take an introductory computer science and programming course, or perhaps you prefer learning about computer hardware engineering. Computer engineering offers many career paths, and if you’re interested in earning a bachelor’s degree online, The University of London offers an online computer engineering degree program that can be completed in 36-72 months.

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Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

University of London

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. “Software Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/software-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,17.htm." Accessed January 26, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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