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Occupational Profile

Computer Engineer

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

  • Avg. Salary $88,149.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.72
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

29%
29%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Computer Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Computer and Telecommunications Hardware Engineers
NOC code: 2147.1
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 Dec 14, 2016

Computer engineers specify, design, develop and test computer hardware and support peripherals including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, field programmable gate arrays and peripherals such as printers and disc drives. In some cases, they develop special purpose embedded products that use computer technology as part of a larger project. For example, embedded computers are used in applications ranging from washing machine controls to automobile engines. This often requires low-level or high-level software design.

Computer engineers are responsible for:

  • analyzing product and client requirements
  • developing design specifications including performance expectations, suitable operating system environments and materials to be used
  • assembling, adapting, interfacing and testing existing pieces of equipment for a specialized function
  • simulating and building prototypes (working models) of a product including the development of logic and digital circuit designs
  • testing and modifying the prototype prior to large-scale manufacturing.

They also may be responsible for:

  • analyzing user needs and recommending appropriate hardware
  • providing a cost analysis and obtaining quotes from suppliers
  • developing system specifications
  • analyzing operating problems and making modifications
  • determining system performance standards
  • writing product documentation
  • selling computer technology
  • modifying existing hardware and software to meet specialized needs
  • preparing proposals for software and hardware systems.

Computer engineers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology. They often work as members of design teams that may include a project engineer, senior engineers, software engineers, technologists, technicians and marketing and manufacturing specialists.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Computer engineers spend most of their time in an office or laboratory environment working with computers, testing equipment and documenting systems. They may work considerable overtime and experience a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines.

Climbing, bending and lifting up to 20 kilograms may be required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Computer engineers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • inquiring and inventive minds
  • a capacity for details
  • patience and a systematic approach to trouble shooting
  • good decision making and problem solving skills
  • an aptitude for mathematics and science
  • the ability to teach others
  • good time management skills.

They should enjoy being innovative, working both with others and on their own, and doing work that requires precision.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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.

Education

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 Dec 14, 2016

Computer engineers are employed in almost any industry in which computers are used. In particular, they are employed by companies involved in:

  • telecommunications and computer networks
  • computer manufacturing
  • 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 may be more specialized. Computer engineers also are employed by governments and hospitals.

With experience, computer engineers may establish their own businesses, move into marketing or other areas of engineering, or advance to supervisory and management positions. 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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 Dec 14, 2016

Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
NOC code: 2147

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 $25.83 $53.23 $35.00 $28.85
Overall $32.29 $63.73 $43.72 $41.39
Top $38.46 $89.83 $52.44 $46.50

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
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

29%
29%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

11%
11%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

2015 Vacancy Rate

4%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Computing Science
    • Networking
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • 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 Dec 14, 2016

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

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) website: www.cips.ca

Technology Alberta website: www.albertaict.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. 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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