Skills for a Computer Engineer

by Mary Jane; Updated September 26, 2017
A computer engineer works to develop computer systems.

A computer engineer is hired to create and develop computer systems. Computer engineers are often involved in all aspects of the computer development process, including both the creation of hardware, the selection of software and connecting computers on a large company circuit. Computer engineers often have an academic background in computer science, information science, mathematics or engineering. Some computer engineering certificates may also be required for some jobs in the field.

Technical Skills

A computer engineer must have extensive technical skills to design and choose software components for a project. This includes understanding technical language, such as C++, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SERVLET and UML design. It also includes recognizing the major differences between operating systems like Windows, DOS, Mac and Linux. Some computer engineers also work with computer databases like MySQL, Access and Oracle.

Communication Skills

Communication and interaction is a vital part of a computer engineer’s job. He must interact with managers or business owners for company projects or directly with customers, if the computer engineer is working on developing solutions for customers. The computer engineer must communicate the possibilities of the given project budget, update customers or managers on the progress of projects and be able to conduct presentations on the computer development projects.

Research and Training Skills

A computer engineer must also have extensive research and training skills, especially if placed in a managerial position. Computer sciences and possibilities in the information technology and computer industry are constantly evolving and expanding. The computer engineer must be able to research and learn new programming options and skills to provide the best possible outcome for companies or customers. The computer engineer should also be able to train coworkers or employees in these new skills and programming options.

Decision-Making and Troubleshooting Skills

Computer engineers frequently work with the design and development process of computer software on behalf of customers or within a company. The computer engineer must be able to make the best decisions for the program development project in question. This is done by combining the technical skills and knowledge with the demands and needs of the customers or company. If something does not work throughout the design and development process, the computer engineer must also be able to troubleshoot to repair the issues. This can be a clash of software programs or operation systems, for instance. These skills need to be honed for computer engineer manager positions.

2016 Salary Information for Computer Programmers

Computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $79,840 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, computer programmers earned a 25th percentile salary of $61,100, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $103,690, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 294,900 people were employed in the U.S. as computer programmers.

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Photo Credits

  • the programmer and a computer image by Andrey Andreev from Fotolia.com