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Computer Engineer

Computer engineers design, implement, evaluate, modify, maintain, and test computer systems and related equipment.

  • Avg. Salary $93,877.00
  • Avg. Wage $46.53
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Computer Hardware Engineer, Computer Specialist, Design Engineer, Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Information Technology Specialist, Professional Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Computer and Telecommunications Hardware Engineers (2147.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers) (C047) 
  • 2011 NOC: Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) (2147) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

18%
18%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Computer Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Computer and Telecommunications Hardware Engineers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to design and develop system architecture and hardware specifications; and in analyzing user requirements

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to develop and conduct equipment performance evaluation programs and prototype bench tests of components

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising and inspecting the manufacturing, installation and implementation of computer and telecommunications hardware; may lead and co-ordinate teams of engineers, technologists, technicians and drafters

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Computer engineers specify, design, develop and test computer hardware and support peripherals. These include:

  • central processing units (CPUs)
  • graphics processing units (GPUs)
  • computer memory
  • support logic
  • microprocessors
  • custom integrated circuits
  • field programmable gate arrays
  • peripherals such as printers and disc drives.

They may develop special purpose products that use computer technology and are embedded in other products (such as washing machine controls and automobile engines). This may require low- or high-level software design.

Computer engineers may specify, design, develop and test:

  • computer networking hardware (such as network interface cards, routers, switches and firewalls)
  • large-scale computing systems (such as data centres)
  • high-performance computing systems (such as supercomputers).

Computer engineers:

  • analyze product and client needs
  • develop design specifications (such as performance expectations, suitable operating system environments, and materials)
  • assemble, adapt, interface, and test existing equipment for specific functions
  • simulate and build prototypes (working models) including logic and digital circuit designs
  • test and modify the prototype before it is produced on a large scale.

They also may:

  • analyze user needs and suggest hardware
  • analyze cost and get quotes from suppliers
  • ensure compliance with legacy operating systems and computing platforms
  • plan and perform product validation and verification
  • ensure compliance with regulations
  • develop system specifications
  • analyze operating problems and make changes
  • determine system performance standards
  • write product documents
  • sell computer technology
  • modify existing hardware and software to meet specific needs
  • prepare proposals for software and hardware systems.

Computer engineers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid changes in their field. They often work as members of design teams that may include:

  • a project engineer, senior engineers, and software engineers
  • technologists and technicians
  • marketing and manufacturing specialists.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Computer engineers spend most of their time in an office or lab setting. They work with computers, test equipment, and document systems. They may work a lot of overtime. They may feel a lot of pressure to meet deadlines. They may need to climb, bend, and lift up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Computer engineers need to possess:

  • strong analytical skills
  • excellent speaking and writing skills
  • inquiring and inventive minds
  • an eye for details
  • patience and an organized approach to troubleshooting
  • the ability to make decisions and solve problems
  • excellent math and science skills
  • the ability to teach others
  • the ability to manage time well.

They should enjoy:

  • being innovative
  • working with others and on their own
  • doing precision work.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Computer engineers must have a 4-year degree in computer engineering or a related discipline such as electrical engineering. Some employers hire only those with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. A doctoral degree in engineering generally is required for a career in teaching or research.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Engineer

Professional Engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a professional engineer or use the word engineer in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Computer engineers work in almost any industry in which computers are used. They most often work for companies involved in:

  • telecommunications and computer networks
  • computer production
  • consulting
  • hardware research and development
  • consumer electronics
  • industrial instrumentation and process control.

Working for smaller companies requires a broader range of skills. Duties with larger companies, on the other hand, may be more specialized. They also work for governments and hospitals.

With experience, computer engineers may start their own companies, move into marketing or other areas of engineering, or become supervisors or managers. Training or experience in business administration is an asset.

In Alberta, 79% of people employed as computer engineers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018
Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.10 $60.10 $39.34 $40.70
Overall $27.06 $70.45 $46.53 $44.57
Top $28.41 $81.75 $54.33 $50.48

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

24%
24%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

18%
18%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

Vacancy Rate

4%
Related High School Subjects
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Computing Science
    • Networking
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Electro-Technologies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) of Alberta website: www.cipsalberta.ca

Technology Alberta website: technologyalberta.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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