Earning an associate degree in computer engineering can be a strategic way to kickstart your career in the tech industry.
An associate degree program in computer engineering helps equip you with fundamental knowledge of computer hardware and software. Upon completing an associate degree, most graduates pursue entry-level tech jobs or continue on to earn a bachelors degree.
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If you’re undecided on your area of interest in the tech industry, an associate degree also exposes you to various specialties, helping you determine your preferred career path.
Online Associate Degrees in Computer Engineering
If you’re interested in computers and want to pursue a career in this rapidly growing industry, you might consider earning an associate degree in computer engineering.
This field heavily incorporates theories from math and science, so it’s often necessary to have a solid background in both disciplines. Computer engineering combines computing, math, science, and electrical engineering theories to provide solutions to various human problems.
Some computer engineers develop new computer hardware or software, create better ways to store or transmit data, or find solutions to problems with existing systems. The possibilities are endless in this rapidly growing field.
An online associate’s in computer engineering includes coursework on how to design and build PC, laptop systems, chips, motherboards, routers, and other types of computer hardware. Depending on your area of specialization, you could also learn how to develop software systems, apps, spreadsheets, and databases.
An associate degree in computer engineering often includes the following course topics:
- Data configuration and programming languages
- Physical and social sciences
- Software and program design and development
- Civic communication
Coursework can also vary according to chosen specializations. Through this type of program, you can develop analytical thinking, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, technical writing, and programming skills.
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An online associate’s degree in computer engineering could help learners quickly start a career in information technology. Professionals with a computer engineering associates may pursue careers like the following:
- Systems analyst
- Computer programmer
- Web developer
- Information security analyst
- Hardware engineer
- Data engineer
- Electrical instrumentation technician
- Engineering technician
- Computer support specialist
An associate degree could help you qualify for entry-level positions, but experience and further studies may be required to advance your career. An online associate’s degree in computer engineering generally takes about 2 years to complete with full-time study. Many graduates plan to transfer their earned associate credits into a bachelors program.
Computer and Software Engineering Careers & Salaries
Computer and software engineering is a rapidly growing field with many different career paths to choose from. Computer engineering graduates can work in various industries, including telecommunications, defense, electronics, aerospace, and manufacturing of medical devices and other consumer items.
In healthcare, computer engineering has helped manufacture better medical devices. Doctors can also make more accurate diagnoses due to contributions from computer engineering. In communications, computer engineering has revolutionized the way humans communicate with each other.
Computer engineers, programmers, software developers, hardware engineers, and other specialists continuously provide solutions through communication devices and apps. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are career paths related to the field of computer engineering.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$128,170|
|Information Security Analysts||$102,600|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$99,270|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$80,600|
|Web and Digital Interface Designers||$79,890|
|Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists and Technicians||$63,640|
|Computer Support Specialists||$57,910|
Some employers may prefer computer and IT applicants who hold a bachelors in the field. Some companies will hire associate degree holders, though, for entry-level positions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13% job growth for computer and information technology occupations, which is faster than average. The median wage for computer and IT jobs is also above average, with a median of $97,430.
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Skill level makes quite the difference in computer engineering careers, so it’s advisable for learners to keep sharpening their skills. In addition, the computer engineering field keeps evolving, so it’s beneficial for professionals to stay up-to-date with new developments.
Computer Engineering Associate’s Curriculum & Courses
Different computer engineering associate’s degree online programs can offer varying courses, but here are some core and elective topics often found in this type of program:
- Introduction to Computer Engineering: This course covers the fundamentals of computer programming and the common elements of various programming languages.
- Algebra: You’ll learn about the use of algebra in the development of algorithms, about relational database design, and about the development of software using mathematical objects.
- Introduction to Software Engineering: This course introduces you to software engineering development models, object-oriented programming, and the product development cycle.
- Calculus: This course aims to help you develop skills in multi-variable analysis and mathematical fundamentals, which are handy in computing.
- Introduction to Electrical Engineering: This course introduces you to computer circuitry and hardware fundamentals.
- Computer Theory: In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals and theories of computer design.
- Technical Communication: This course can help you develop communication skills to relay technical information to audiences in non-IT setups, both orally and in written form.
- Operating Systems: This course introduces you to various operating systems used in many computer systems.
- Data Configuration: This course introduces you to data expressions from various sources and management.
- C++ Programming: In this course, you can learn C++, which is a common programming language.
Your curriculum may also be shaped by various electives or concentrations you choose to pursue.
How to Choose an Online Associate’s Degree Program in Computer Engineering
When choosing an online associate’s degree program, here are a few factors you might want to consider:
- Cost. This can be a significant factor when choosing a program. Aside from comparing tuition costs and program fees, you might also want to check out the financial aid options available at each school.
- Accreditation. For engineering programs, you might want to check whether the program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Regional or national accreditation is also a sign of a credible school.
- Flexibility. Some programs are more structured, while others are more flexible. A flexible school schedule could enable you to balance and maintain your various responsibilities, while a structured schedule can often help you finish faster.
- Student support services. It could be beneficial to attend an online engineering degree program with great student support services. For instance, some schools offer varying access to professors, networking opportunities, tutoring facilities, and more.
Understanding your personal situation and anticipating your needs could help you choose the most appropriate online associate degree program for you.
Associate Degree in Computer Engineering Admissions Requirements
Here are some of the common requirements to qualify for an associate degree program in computer engineering:
- High school diploma or GED equivalent
- Minimum GPA of at least 2.0, on average
- SAT or ACT scores (only schools require them)
Some schools also want students to know the basics of computer systems and programming. In some cases, schools offer prep classes to learners who are lacking in these foundational areas. Admission requirements can vary for each program, so it’s beneficial to check the specific criteria of your preferred programs.
Computer Engineering Programs Accreditation
The status of regional accreditation indicates the high quality of an institution’s faculty, student services, and educational offerings. Attending a regionally accredited institution often makes it possible to transfer credits to other institutions or programs. This is especially beneficial if you end up changing schools or pursuing a bachelor degree down the road.
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Some employers also check the accreditation status of an applicant’s school. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the leading organization when it comes to recognizing computer engineering programs that are up to industry standards. ABET accreditation is a requirement for engineering licensure in many states.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
When pursuing an associate degree in computer engineering, upfront tuition costs and program fees can add up. So, many students pursue financial aid options.
You can see if you qualify for federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Common forms of federal financial aid include student loans, Pell Grants, and work-study programs. You could also check for scholarship opportunities offered by your prospective school and outside organizations. Some workplaces also have employer programs that finance learning ventures.
Is Computer Engineering a Good Career?
Yes, computer engineering is a good career for many professionals. The field of computer engineering offers various career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer engineers earn a median annual wage of $128,170. Other occupations in the field also tend to have above average salaries.
Computer engineering careers could also offer high job satisfaction, as the field offers solutions to human problems in different areas. Tasks in computer engineering occupations are also varied, which could help roles maintain a sense of interest and challenge.
What Can You Do with a Computer Engineering Associate Degree?
A computer engineering associate could help you pursue various career paths in the tech world. While many companies prefer applicants who hold at least a bachelors, some employers will hire qualified associate degree holders for computer and IT positions. With an associate degree, you’re likely to qualify for entry-level roles.
A computer engineering associates degree could also set the foundation for further studies and specialization in various tech disciplines. Professionals in this field may pursue positions as computer engineering technicians, computer programmers, software developers, web developers, and computer support specialists.
Is Computer Engineering Hard?
The field of computer engineering is constantly evolving as new technologies and programs are developed. As a result, computer engineers must keep up with the latest trends and changes in the field.
They also need to have a strong understanding of both hardware and software systems, strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and a solid foundation in math and science. In a computer engineering degree program, you’re likely to encounter courses like English language composition, calculus, algebra, introduction to software engineering, programming, and data configuration.
Computer engineering also entails hands-on learning and lab work as well as critical, analytical thinking and creative problem-solving. You may also have the chance to specialize in your areas of interest.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Computer Engineering Online Degree?
If you follow a traditional 16 week semester program and attend it full-time, it will generally take 2 years to earn an associate degree in computer engineering.
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Some online computer engineering degree programs follow an 8 week semester structure all year round, which could reduce the time needed to complete the program. Some associate degree programs in computer engineering require 60 credits, while others may require up to 90 credits. The length of your program, as well as any internship requirements, could affect your overall graduation timeline.
What’s the Difference Between an Associates Degree in Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science?
While an associates in computer engineering and an associates in computer science have many overlapping courses, they do focus on different areas of the computer field.
- Computer engineering: This degree focuses on hardware design, system design, electronics, and circuitry.
- Computer science: This degree focuses on software, programming, operating systems, and troubleshooting.
Both degree paths can lead to in-demand roles in the computer and IT field. Some computer engineering associate degrees are more intensive and require more credit hours than a typical associates degree in computer science.
Is an Associate in Computer Engineering Degree Worth It?
Yes, an associate in computer engineering degree is worth it for many professionals. A computer engineering associate degree could lead to various opportunities in the field of computers and information technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and IT occupations are expected to see 13% job growth over the next ten years, which is faster than average.
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An associate degree in computer engineering could also be useful for people uncertain of their career path. An associate program takes a shorter time to complete and exposes learners to different possible areas of specialization. Graduates often pursue entry-level roles in the field or go on to earn their bachelors.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Computer Engineering Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management – Software Engineering Technology. This is mostly a daytime, on-campus program, but some courses are available online or in the evenings. The program aims to help students become proficient in programming languages, such as C++, C#, and Java.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Lorain County Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Engineering Technology – Computer and Digital Forensics. The program builds on Lorain’s Computer and Digital Forensics certificate program. The curriculum covers cybersecurity, data recovery, computer networking, and related topics. The degree can be completed online.
Lorain County Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Miami Dade College offers an Associate in Science in Computer Engineering Technology. MDC offers a variety of learning options, including live online classes, self-paced online classes, and in-person classes. The program requires the completion of 68 credits and includes courses such as Introduction to Computer Service and Maintenance, Advanced Digital Circuits, and Microprocessors.
Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Midlands Technical College offers an Associate in Computer Engineering that is intended for students who are planning to transfer into 4 year degree programs. Courses are available both on campus and online, and online courses are available in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students can enroll full-time or part-time.
Midlands Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Minnesota State College Southeast offers a 2 year program for a AAS in Computer Engineering Technology. This 60 credit program includes courses such as Introduction to Programming with .Net, Introduction to Java, C, and C++ Programming, Database Application Development, and more.
Minnesota State College Southeast is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Nashua Community College offers an Associate in Computer Engineering Technology. Classes are available during the day, in the evening, and online. Coursework includes Introduction to Programming Using C++, Object Oriented Programming Using C++, Computer Architecture and Operating Systems, Circuit Analysis I and II, and more.
Nashua Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Quinsigamond Community College offers an Associate in Science in Computer Systems Engineering Technology – Enterprise Information Technology. While this is primarily an on-campus program, some courses are available online. Several certificates are available for completion along with the degree, including Cyber Security, Help Desk Technician, and Network Technician.
Quinsigamond Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.
Seminole State College of Florida offers an Associate in Arts in Computer Engineering. The degree can be completed either in person or online, and classes always have fewer than 30 students. The degree is designed to transfer to other schools in the Florida State University System.
Seminole State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Stark State College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science and Engineering Technology. The degree program is available fully online. It includes courses such as Structured Query Language, Fundamentals of Information Systems, Data Modeling and Database Design, Internet Design and Development, and more.
Stark State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of the Virgin Islands offers a 100% online program for an Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology. The program typically takes 2 years to complete. New classes start every 8 weeks, and accepted students can start any term.
UVI is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Getting Your Associates in Computer Engineering Degree Online
Earning an associates degree in computer engineering degree could help you develop foundational, versatile skills in this lucrative field.
Pursuing a computer engineering associate degree could help you venture into areas like hardware design, software engineering, or programming. An associate degree can be a solid stepping stone toward a bachelors, and it can also help you qualify for entry-level roles in the computer and IT field.
If you’re interested in a career in the tech world, you might consider enrolling in an online associate in computer engineering program from an accredited institution. You can explore the different programs available to find the one that best suits your needs.