What degrees can I earn in computer hardware engineering?
An on-campus or online engineering degree program in computer hardware engineering offers several degree options for students interested in this field. Most of the top computer hardware engineering degrees are from undergraduate and computer hardware engineering graduate programs, with doctoral track programs also being an option.
Computer hardware engineering certificate
Certificates in computer hardware engineering are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and require a bachelors or masters for admission. An engineering certificate in computer hardware engineering may offer further expertise in areas such as personal computer hardware or networking. Length of time and required credit hours for completion may vary, but typically range from 12 to 18 credit hours over 2 to 3 semesters.
Computer hardware engineering associates degree
Entry-level computer hardware engineers are typically required to have earned a bachelors degree in the field, making on-campus and online engineering associates degree programs in this field less available. Some programs may offer an associates degree with a bachelors track option so that you may choose to continue after completion of the 2-year degree.
Computer hardware engineering bachelors degree
A campus-based or online engineering bachelors degree in computer hardware engineering is considered the entry-level credential for employment in this field. Like most bachelors degree programs, the degree takes 4 years to complete 120 to 140 credit hours.
Students who complete the program will earn either a Bachelor of Science in Computer Hardware Engineering or a Bachelor of Engineering with a computer hardware engineering focus, depending upon the college or university. Common prerequisites for admission include advanced math, chemistry and physics courses, as well as a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Computer hardware engineering masters degree
The Master of Science in Computer Hardware Engineering and Master of Engineering with a computer hardware engineering concentration are the 2 computer hardware engineering masters degrees typically offered by colleges and universities. Programs range from 30 to 40 credit hours over 2 to 3 years but can be longer or shorter depending upon the institution. An onsite or online engineering masters degree will likely require a minimum GRE score set by the institution, as well as completion of advanced calculus and physics courses.
Computer hardware engineering PhD
A PhD in engineering and ScD, or Doctor of Science, are the highest degree options in computer hardware engineering, with completion requirements that vary by institution. Most programs will involve a high level of scientific research related to computer hardware engineering, and can last as little as 2 years and as long as 8 years. The computer hardware engineering PhD program will likely culminate in the completion of a dissertation, and will require earned credit hours ranging from 50 to 120 hours.
Are there any computer hardware engineering degree programs online?
Top universities, colleges and private institutions offer computer hardware engineering degree programs online, allowing students to complete their entire educations, from associates through PhD, via distance education. You can find a program that is offered completely online or a partial or hybrid program that will require you to take some courses onsite.
Online degrees in computer hardware engineering
While a computer hardware engineering associates degree online will offer a useful foundation in the field, you should know that most entry-level jobs in computer hardware engineering require a bachelors degree from an accredited computer hardware engineering online colleges. It may be useful to research career opportunities for graduates with an associates before committing to a 2-year program.
Potential challenges to pursuing a computer hardware engineering bachelors degree online can be a lack of networking opportunities and difficulty fulfilling lab requirements. While attending a campus-based program allows for networking with faculty members and other professionals in the field, it may be more challenging to make the same connections while attending an online program. It is often easier to complete lab requirements in an on-campus program where they will have appropriate tools and supervision.
Seek out professional associations, conferences, internships and other networking opportunities that will help you to make professional connections that may assist you in your career.
Earning a computer hardware engineering online masters degree from both an accredited engineering program and an accredited college or university may be important to your success as an engineer.
While not all engineers will pursue professional engineering licensure, it is important to know that the licensing body for engineering requires graduation from an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition, attending a university accredited by 1 of several national accrediting agencies is required for you to receive state and federal financial aid.
Earning a PhD in computer hardware engineering will likely require a great deal of research, and 1 of the challenges of attending computer hardware engineering schools online is the potential lack of laboratory resources that will be available to you. The best computer hardware engineering online program will accommodate your research needs and will work with you to ensure that you have access to the facilities you need.
What kinds of computer hardware engineering classes will I take in my program?
During your freshman and sophomore years as an undergraduate in computer hardware engineering, you will take onsite or online engineering courses in chemistry, biology and statistics with some engineering electives. As you proceed in your program, you will take courses that focus more on your major, such as data structure, circuit analysis and operating systems concepts.
As a graduate student taking computer hardware engineering online courses or onsite courses you will have the opportunity to delve more deeply into computer hardware engineering courses. Your program may also include some electrical engineering courses, with a focus on computer architecture, semiconductors and microcontrollers.
Finally, as a PhD candidate in computer hardware engineering, you will engage in independent research on a topic related to your area of interest. Your earned credit hours during this program will likely focus on taking a PhD qualifying examination, as well as your dissertation proposal and final dissertation defense.
What computer hardware engineering careers can I choose from?
Computer hardware engineers design, develop and test any parts and pieces that make up a computer, including chips, circuit boards and routers. Computer hardware engineering jobs are highly specialized, and employers often seek candidates with masters degrees or higher, in addition to years of experience.
Some of the best careers in computer hardware engineering will be in the computer manufacturing sector, with a large percentage of engineering jobs also offered at private tech firms and government agencies. A computer hardware engineering salary ranges widely, depending upon education and experience, from $37,000 to $104,000.
Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree in computer hardware engineering?
While not all engineers choose to pursue licensure, computer hardware engineering certification may be obtained by pursuing a Professional Engineering license. The first step toward engineering certification is to take the Fundamentals in Engineering exam in order to be considered an engineer in training until you become eligible to sit for your licensure exam.
The Association for Computing Machinery also offers multiple opportunities for continuing education in addition to computer hardware engineering training, including journals and magazines, conferences and educational workshops and forums.