Though distinct from computer science, computer engineering is thought innovation and powers devices, computer engineering we use every day, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Though the field involves concepts, practices, and skillsets that are sometimes different from those needed to code, being familiar with computer engineering can improve your skills and make you a better coder. As such, programmers have a lot to gain from learning about computer engineering and applying this knowledge to their coding.
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What Is Computer Engineering?
You may be wondering, “what exactly is computer engineering?” Computer engineering is a field that aims to make computer devices capable of doing more. It also aims to make computer devices more useful in more scenarios.
It involves two distinct fields — computer science and electronic engineering — and many consider computer engineering an amalgamation of these two fields.
Getting a deeper understanding of computer engineering can help a general understanding of computer science and electrical engineering.
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Computer science is the study of both computers and computational systems. It often involves applying and utilizing advanced algorithms to solve applying and utilizing abilities. The field of computer science also involves concepts such as data structures, information processing, and computer and network architecture.
Electronic engineering is a field that centers around the technical aspects of developing and designing the physical elements that comprise computers. This involves circuitry and other hardware elements. These elements are what power computers and give them the ability to function correctly.
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Computer engineering is a field that combines elements of both computer science and electronic engineering. This breadth of expertise allows computer engineers to improve upon computer designs and create new forms of hardware for computers.
The primary function of a computer engineer is to create and improve computer systems. This involves every piece of hardware in a computer ranging from circuit boards to microprocessors. The creation and improvement of these elements require a good deal of testing and iterating.
For this reason, an essential part of computer engineering is bringing new ideas to life and rigorously testing them to make sure that they can be implemented.
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How an Understanding of Computer Engineering Can Help You Be a Better Coder
At this point, coders may be wondering how an understanding of computer engineering can help them become better coders. There are several ways in which knowledge about computer engineering can help coders, and understanding these benefits can encourage coders to think about studying computer engineering.
Working knowledge of computer engineering can help you become more versatile as a coder and allow for more job mobility. Typically, programmers have a skill set that only allows them to make software-focused careers.
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Software-focused careers include:
Software developers typically create and improve software systems. They consider user needs and experiences and aim to craft software that meets their user’s needs. Software developers are also tasked with maintaining software, catching bugs, and improving upon outdated aspects of the software.
Developers are also responsible for communicating specific instructions to programmers, who will then write the code to make this software function as intended. In addition, software developers will record their process of developing and maintaining software, ensuring that this process documentation is always accessible.
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Web developers create and maintain the technical parts of websites. This involves communicating with others to determine the types of operations that the website will need to be able to perform, along with the structure of the website.
Web developers will utilize various programming languages to create and iterate websites and their different functions to do their technical work. They are then tasked with maintaining websites and ensuring that their performance remains consistent — and making necessary changes if it does not.
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Database administrators are typically in charge of organizing and storing data in ways beneficial to certain employees in organizations — such as those in charge of making important decisions.
The role of database administrator can be crucial to organizations because these professionals can collect specific types of data and organize them in ways that can be insightful and can inform decision-making.
They can do this using specific types of software, which they have the knowledge and expertise to utilize. Database administrators are also charged with ensuring that data is stored safely and is not at risk of being lost.
When you understand computer engineering, you may qualify yourself for some job roles that are more hardware-focused.
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These roles can include:
Systems analysts are responsible for designing and maintaining the information technology systems that a specific organization requires. These professionals will typically consult with those in managerial roles in organizations to determine what kinds of systems to design.
After these consultations, systems analysts can begin creating the critical systems with the necessary functions to meet the needs of an organization. They then maintain these systems and instruct others in an organization to use them appropriately.
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Network architects are responsible for designing computer networks for a specific organization. In addition, they test their designs to ensure that it is functional. They then install these computer networks for organizations.
These computer networks can include local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). These professionals are also responsible for ensuring that all communication done through these networks is kept safe and secure, making it difficult or impossible for hackers to infiltrate an organization’s network.
Network architects must also keep up-to-date on the newest technologies and advancements in their field to ensure that they create and make improvements in the best possible ways.
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Cloud computing engineer
Today, cloud technologies and services have become a more normalized way of storing and backing up information. Unfortunately, this means that organizations are now vulnerable in a new way.
Cloud computing engineers facilitate an organization’s information transfer into cloud storage systems and ensure that the information is kept secure. Typically, cloud computing engineers will specialize and have expertise with one of the leading cloud platforms, though one can have expertise in multiple.
By learning more about computer engineering and the technical processes that go into creating computers, programmers have the opportunity to move into new fields that require different skillsets than just coding.
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Increasing Analytical Skills and Critical Thinking
Computer engineering requires developed analytical skills and critical thinking. Computer engineers often have to overcome challenges such as fixing bugs and communicating concepts to people outside of the field. Coders often face similar challenges, and having these skills in your toolbelt as a coder can improve your abilities.
Like computer engineers, coders too often find themselves having to fix bugs in software. By becoming familiar with computer engineering, coders can strengthen their analytical skills and potentially become quicker and more effective at finding and fixing bugs in software.
In addition to fixing bugs, there are also scenarios in which coders have to communicate concepts and ideas to others who don’t have the same expertise in the field. Understanding computer engineering — and the soft skills that computer engineers must have — can improve a coder’s ability to communicate ideas about code clearly to others.
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As a coder, you can benefit from exploring computer engineering because it can increase your expertise. When writing code, it can be helpful to have a more profound knowledge of computer hardware and the components that make up a computing system. By understanding the electrical components in a computer, you can think in new ways and, potentially, become a more thoughtful coder.
It can also be helpful to have a more in-depth understanding of electrical engineering. By understanding the way electrical components work, coders gain a more holistic understanding of computer systems and how they function.
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Increased Value as a Coder
Those looking to increase their value as coders can benefit substantially from developing a deep computer engineering knowledge.
Having a working knowledge of computer engineering’s key concepts and principles can set you apart from others who lack this knowledge and expertise.
This can be a significant advantage when applying for jobs and could even be the difference between you landing a specific role and not.
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How to Learn More About Computer Engineering
As a coder, you may be wondering how to learn more about computer engineering. Depending on various factors — such as your schedule, budget, and level of interest — there are several avenues you can pursue to learn more about computer engineering.
There are options for everyone, including those merely curious about the field and intend to pursue a thorough understanding of computer engineering. Here are some ways that you can learn more about computer engineering.
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Pursue a Degree
If you studied computer science in college and thought about pursuing an advanced degree, it might be a perfect opportunity to jump into computer engineering. As a coder, an advanced degree in computer engineering may be able to increase your job scope and broaden your range of skills, knowledge, and expertise.
If you’re interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree, computer engineering may still be a great field. While the major will touch on concepts from computer science, it will also allow you to develop a deeper understanding of electrical engineering and the physical components of computer systems, and how they function in software.
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Connect with Computer Engineers
Connecting with computer engineers is easy to ease into computer engineering and pick up some quick tips. This can be through friends, colleagues, or even cold messages on LinkedIn.
Computer engineers with experience working in the field may be able to provide you with tips and advice that can help you improve your coding abilities.
In addition, these individuals will likely be able to answer any questions you may have about computer engineering and whether it’s right for you to pursue.
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Utilize Free and Low-Cost Resources
There are several free and low-cost resources that you can take advantage of when it comes to computer engineering. Community colleges may offer low-cost introductory classes that relate to computer engineering that you can take to see if pursuing the field is right for you.
In addition, the internet has several free resources — such as YouTube videos and essays — that you can utilize to learn more about the field of computer engineering and its key concepts. If you prefer to read physical books, your local library might have some books on computer engineering that you can refer to.
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You’ve likely sought ways to improve your skills and become a better and more advanced coder as a coder. Understanding computer engineering can help you broaden your expertise and learn new technical and soft skills.
In addition, by becoming familiar with key concepts and ideas in computer engineering, you may be able to qualify yourself for more careers in different fields that focus more on hardware than software.
By exposing yourself to ideas about how physical components come together to interact with computational algorithms, you’ll be able to deepen your understanding of coding. In addition, the soft skills that many possess in computer engineering — namely deep analysis and critical thinking — can help you become a more effective coder.
However, it may seem like an odd change of gear at first glance, studying computer engineering as a coder can ultimately help you develop your skills and hone your coding talent.
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Hello Friends! I am Himanshu, a hobbyist programmer, tech enthusiast, and digital content creator.
With CodeItBro, my mission is to promote coding and help people from non-tech backgrounds to learn this modern-age skill!