Jobs as a Computer Engineer!?.

This is a discussion on Jobs as a Computer Engineer!?. within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Well I am soon going to college in July and I want to go either into Computer Science or Computer ...

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    Jobs as a Computer Engineer!?.

    Well I am soon going to college in July and I want to go either into Computer Science or Computer Engineering. I know that in Computer Science you can get jobs as systems analyst, programmer, etc...I was wondering what jobs you do as a Computer Engineer?

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    The same, more or less.

    While Computer Science and Computer Engineering may seem to be two different qualifications, at most universities they share many core modules. Whether one or the other makes a difference depends on where you want to work. Companies where their main tasks are research and development, where they make their money off their IP, will prefer CS. Companies that churn out solutions for clients or work on established software brands will probably rate Engineering a little bit higher.

    It's not really about what you do, but how you do it.

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    Well I want to do both the computer hardware and programming.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    > Well I want to do both the computer hardware and programming.
    Writing operating systems,
    Writing device drivers,
    Writing for embedded systems.

    These are some examples where you have to get down onto the "bare metal" and interact with things you can kick when it doesn't work.

    You also need to be "damn good" as a programmer, because
    - the tools tend to be less well developed compared to desktop tools
    - good tools are phenomenally expensive, due to high investment and small markets
    - crashes tend to be more spectacular (like taking out the entire machine)
    - debug information is harder to come by.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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    So is that for Computer Engineer? I also noticed most IT sites with jobs showing around here want someone with bachelors in Computer Science.I have yet to see one with Bachelors in CE that goes with searching across U.S.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Yeah, but that's because those postings are written by Human Resources and because Computer Science is more common terminology. When you submit your resume to them, they'll give it the same chance saying Computer Engineering as they would if it say Computer Science. Really, as the others have said, both degrees share the same core principles. If you want to get a real heads-up with getting a mixed hardware/software job, then minor in Electrical Engineering.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 10-08-2007 at 12:07 PM.
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    So I can Major in Computer Science and minor in Computer Engineering to? I think or kinda wanna be a software engineer btw.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I suppose you can, but I think the added work would not yield as much added value as you may hope. You won't learn too much more and some employers may disregard it. If you want to do Software Engineering then don't bother minoring in anything. Just major in one of the two you suggested.
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    So it don't matter which to choose even if I want to program like in java for like a hospital or something?

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    If you want to become a software engineer, you need some education. If you want to specialize in Embedded systems, then you can perhaps target the more low-level classes when there are choices to be made. If you want to get to high-level stuff instead, then choose your Java or GUI design choices.

    Note that many of the problems in ALL software engineering are the same, but if you work on low-level stuff, you may find that you have less of a margin for error, and tiny things can take you from "working fine" to "system won't even boot", whilst if you work on the higher level stuff, it's probably always going to work to some extent, and you get good debug info when it goes wrong.

    My hardest bugs have been where interrupts come in when there's supposed to be no interrupts (in one particular case because the "wrong lock" was used, copy'n'paste type error - and most of the time it would work just fine, but once every five minutes or so, a packet would get lost - but in a random system stress test, it's darn hard to see that, so it would take about 6 hours for the system to lock up because of "out of memory").

    Another hard one is when the system won't even boot properly and you have no good tools to do the debugging. That's fun afterwards, but not so fun when you're trying to figure out which of your five instructions at startup is causing the reboot. This is when multiple LED's that are easily controlled come in very handy... :-)

    But aside from those special cases, most of the time, it's just plain old trouble-shooting. Understanding large chunks of code quickly certainly helps.

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    Well what degrees do everyone has here?

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    I haven't got a degree in computing at all - I have taken a few classes in the Computer Science area (basic algorithms, a bit of simulation with Simula 67 (famous for being the language that Bjarne Stroustrup used as a "base" for the work on C++), and a C / system programming course).

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    My actual degree is in Electronics Engineering. I work as a senior engineer at a company that develops machine vision applications. My background in electronics was what got me the job. There were plenty of programmers out there that can program, but not so many people who understand the inner workings of the cpu's and embedded microcontrollers enough that they can interface with any old brand X camera without having a driver.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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