If you are interested in computer systems and enjoy designing technological devices and hardware, then you might consider earning an online computer engineering masters degree.
This degree combines fundamental electrical engineering concepts with software and data analysis.
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Pursuing an M.S. in Computer Engineering can open up new career or advancement opportunities in one of the fastest-growing sectors.
Masters in Computer Engineering Online Programs
Two different paths are available to you when pursuing a masters in computer engineering online. While they have similarities, their variations allow you to narrow down your focus to what interests you most: working with hardware or software platforms.
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
Regardless of the specialty you select, you will still receive a strong foundation in computer engineering and related courses.
Online Masters in Computer Engineering
A masters degree in computer engineering deals with hardware and platform design. Students in this program are often problem-solvers who enjoy planning and building systems and applications that can improve technology.
Coursework for an MS in Computer Engineering typically includes analyzing industry trends in the technology sector and engaging in innovative research to manufacture solutions to advanced engineering problems.
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In addition, you may learn cutting-edge theory and mathematics to plan and develop prototypes, tools, and systems. A computer engineering master’s degree allows you to combine a love of technology and machine learning with hands-on optimization and electrical management.
Graduates can pursue a variety of positions within the power and energy sector, including information systems project manager, computer hardware engineer, computer programmer, and computer systems analyst. Professionals in this field can also work in various settings, such as government agencies or the aerospace industry.
Online Masters in Software Engineering
An online masters in software engineering program focuses on software and application development and design. If you enjoy web development and unraveling algorithmic solutions or working intimately with data, then you might consider a graduate degree in this field.
Coursework for a masters program in software engineering usually includes a theoretical foundations course for understanding the methodologies of software systems and data algorithms. Most programs also have a focus on cloud computing, software design, and advanced developer courses.
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Professionals in this field tend to work as software security agents, data analysts, software engineers, and web developers. Some may even work with artificial intelligence design.
Careers in Computer Engineering
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are numerous career opportunities you can pursue with an online masters in computer engineering.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$122,840|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$117,220|
|Computer Network Architects||$112,690|
|Information Security Analyst||$99,730|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$90,920|
The technology sector is one of the fastest-growing industries, and a computer engineering master’s degree may lead to well-paying job opportunities. As these sectors continue to grow, more doors continue to open for professionals in these fields.
Computer Engineering Master’s Curriculum & Courses
If you decide to pursue an online masters in computer engineering or software engineering, there will be many foundational classes as well as courses that are more specific to your focus and interests.
Here are a few of the potential courses you may come across:
- Advanced Mathematical Modeling: This course will provide you with the theoretical mathematics foundations that help develop the framework for your understanding and decision-making in later courses.
- Advanced Scientific Computing: This course will help you develop the skills and methods necessary for data analysis and optimization.
- Building Interactive Web Applications: This course teaches you to structure the foundational software needed to properly execute data analysis of various systems.
- Telecommunications: This course covers coding, including the modulation and building of coding channels. It will also help you develop analog communication systems.
- Computer Organization and Design: This course will help develop your solid foundation in computer design. You will learn hardware and software concepts and gain a deep understanding of computing fundamentals.
- Computer Networks: This course provides the framework for understanding the complex networking principles of computers and technologies. It covers global information infrastructure and analyzes how information is accessed.
- Advanced Web Programming: This course will help you master our usage of software tools in programming environments. You’ll gain experience in building computing systems and web-based programs.
- Elements of Data Science and Statistical Learning: This course allows you to examine and work with raw data to derive conclusions from the information within it.
- Database Systems: This course is fundamental in understanding data models, such as ER models, relational models, and more. The course also looks into query languages and how to implement these theories and skills into database management.
- Artificial Intelligence: Students may explore and design concepts and algorithms related to artificial intelligence systems. These courses usually implement a hands-on experience in a digital setting, allowing students to build their own AI systems.
These are just a few examples of some of the courses you may take when pursuing a masters in computer engineering.
While admissions criteria vary from school to school, here are a few common requirements for enrolling in an MS in Computer Engineering program:
- Bachelor’s in computer science or a related field
- Knowledge of systems programming and theoretical foundations
- GRE test scores, if required
It can be helpful to look at the specific requirements for the schools that you are considering applying to. Some schools may request personal statements of interest. Others may ask you to take a fundamental skills test to demonstrate that you have an understanding of computing systems and software design.
Regional accreditation is the most widely-recognized accreditation status a school can receive.
The US Department of Education has compiled a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs. Institutions with regional accreditation have been found to meet high educational standards.
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If you pursue your degree at an accredited school, your degree will likely be recognized anywhere in the US, and your courses will be more likely to transfer to other accredited schools.
Financial Aid for Computer Engineering Students
If you are looking for financial aid to help you pursue a masters in computer engineering, you can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
With your FAFSA, you can apply for federal grants, work-study programs, and student loans to help pay for your degree. Because the demand in the STEM sector is so high, there may be other financial aid opportunities and scholarships that you can apply for.
Some private and public organizations even offer scholarships to students in computer science who agree to work with them upon graduation.
What Does a Computer Engineer Do?
Computer engineers research, design, and implement computer hardware and software components.
They oversee the manufacturing of innovative computer hardware and equipment and optimize the systems if required. Computer engineers also analyze raw data and computer networking systems.
The potential jobs available to a computer engineer can vary. You might find employment in computer systems analysis, where you can optimize an organization’s current system.
You may find work in computer and information systems management, where you handle hardware and data planning for a company. Or perhaps you can find a role within computer network architecture, where you set up and optimize networks within a system.
How Much Does a Computer Engineer Make?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that computer and information technology occupations earn a median salary of $88,240. This is more than double the median salary for all other fields.
While a masters degree in computer engineering does not guarantee this median salary, it can raise your chances of obtaining a career within a profitable and growing industry.
Computer hardware engineers make a median annual salary of $117,220, and computer and information systems managers have a median salary of $146,360 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
It can help to analyze the STEM sector within your city and state to better anticipate your salary expectations. It is also beneficial to have work experience or internship experience within computer engineering industries.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Engineer?
The length of time it takes to become a computer engineer can depend on your course load as well as what degree you wish to pursue.
Most entry-level computer engineering jobs require a bachelors degree. A bachelors program can generally be obtained in 4 years of full-time enrollment. Some larger companies may prefer their computer engineers to have a masters degree. A masters can generally take 1 to 2 years of full-time study year round.
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Online programs may allow you to finish your degrees sooner with accelerated, shorter terms. You can also choose to enroll in a part-time program in order to cater to your busy schedule, but it may take you longer to graduate.
Do Computer Engineers Need a Masters Degree?
Many entry-level positions for computer engineers only require either a bachelors in engineering online or one from an on-campus program. Some larger firms or specialized positions may require applicants to have a masters, though. A masters degree in computer engineering can help you advance your career and possibly obtain a higher salary within the STEM sector.
In an ever-growing and highly competitive industry, a masters degree can be a benefit. It can demonstrate to employers that you have advanced knowledge in computer hardware and data systems. A masters can also qualify you to pursue leadership roles within an organization.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Computer Engineering?
Aside from pursuing careers as computer engineers, graduates may also pursue the following roles:
- Computer and information research scientist. This position is responsible for inventing and designing innovative computing technology.
- Computer programmer. Programmers are architects for data communication networks, and they optimize existing networks.
- Data analyst. Data analysts dissect and examine raw data and make trend predictions to optimize the industry within which they work.
There are many more opportunities that you can pursue following an online masters degree in computer engineering.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Computer Engineering Online?
The length of completion time can vary by school, course load, and your own scheduling. A full-time program can typically be completed in about 1 year to 2 years. If you enroll part-time, it may take you longer to complete the program, but you’ll be able to complete it according to your own schedule.
If you want to get your degree sooner, you may want to check out accredited online engineering master’s programs. If you don’t yet have your bachelors, you can also consider a dual bachelors and masters program for computer engineering.
What Is the Difference Between Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science?
Computer science and computer engineering are related but distinct fields. Here are some of the main differences between the two areas:
|Computer Engineering||Computer Science|
|Deals with the hardware and systems of computers||Deals with the software and the applications on the hardware or system on a surface level|
|You can learn programming languages while also learning to build systems that house them||You can learn programming languages while focusing on methods and applications|
|Links knowing and understanding software and hardware||Mainly focuses on software and data|
|Looks at the engineering—the building and management—of systems||Looks at the science of systems|
What Is the Difference Between Computer Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering?
Both computer engineering and electrical engineering take similar fundamental courses, such as programming, systems, and circuit analysis. Here are some of the differences between these two fields:
|Computer Engineering||Electrical Engineering|
|Has a greater focus on major programming languages||Focuses on power and generators as well as circuit communication|
|Focuses on algorithms and discrete math, which applies to data studies||Looks at analog connections and radio waves|
|Coursework includes computer networking courses||Coursework doesn’t have computer networking courses and includes more mathematical courses|
|Involves working on computing systems and studying software||Involves looking at energy systems and electrical grids|
What Is the Difference Between Computer Engineering vs. Software Engineering?
There is a lot of overlap between these two fields, but here is the main differentiation between them:
- Computer engineering looks at the design and development of operating systems and the hardware.
- Software engineering is focused on implementing and managing software.
Computer engineering coursework focuses typically on hardware while software engineering looks at higher-level programming and algorithms.
A straightforward example is to consider the computer engineer as the one who builds a computer and manages its hardware. A software engineer is the one who creates and manages the operating system it is running.
Is a Masters in Computer Engineering Worth It?
Yes, a masters in computer engineering is worth it for many students. There is growing demand for highly qualified professionals in this field as big data and information security become a modern-day priority.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and technology occupations are projected to have 11% job growth through 2029, which is much faster than average. A masters degree can help you develop the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to advance in this growing and competitive industry.
Universities Offering Online Masters in Computer Engineering Degree Programs
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.
Colorado State University offers both a Master of Engineering with a specialization in Computer Engineering and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering.
The programs can be completed online and usually in 2 years. To graduate, students must receive 30 credits. To be eligible, students must have a Bachelor of Science with coursework in Calculus.
Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Florida International University offers a Master of Science in Computer Engineering with a concentration in Network Security. This program can be completed online. To graduate, students must have 30 credits with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students interested in the program must have a bachelor’s degree in the STEM field with a 3.0 GPA.
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Georgia Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This online program doesn’t offer a thesis option. To graduate, students must have 30 credit hours within 6 years and a GPA of 2.7 or higher. Students may also transfer up to 6 credit hours and 3 pass/fail credit hours.
The Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
North Carolina State University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Engineering. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours within 6 years of entering the program. Students can only take 2 courses per semester.
To apply, students must have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, 3 letters of recommendation, and a GPA of 3.25 or higher.
North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Purdue University offers an online Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering program. To graduate, students must finish 30 credit hours, with up to 9 credits being transferable.
The program allows students to choose one of seven focus areas. To be eligible for the program, students must have a Bachelor of Science in a relevant field.
Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Texas A&M University offers an online Master of Engineering in Computer Engineering program. To graduate, students must complete 30 semester credit hours. At least one course must include an oral exam. Students may gain approval to transfer up to a third of the required credits from a different institution.
Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Arizona offers a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Students must complete 30 units with an overall GPA of 3.0 in 6 years to graduate. To be eligible for the program, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree in a related field with a GPA of at least 3.0.
The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Southern California offers an online Master of Science in Computer Engineering program. The program can usually be completed in 2 years and requires that 28 units be completed with a 3.0 GPA. To apply to the program, students need to have a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field and GRE General Exam scores.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.
The University of New Mexico offers an online program to pursue a Master of Science in Computer Engineering with a specialization in the Internet of Things. Courses last for 8 weeks, and a total of 31 credit hours are needed to graduate. To apply, students must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
UNM is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers an online Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering program. The program allows students to choose a technical area to focus on. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours.
To be qualified for the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
WPI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Earning Your MS in Computer Engineering Online
There are many career paths and advancement opportunities that you can pursue with an MS in Computer Engineering. This industry continues to see growth as big data and information technologies become a modern-day necessity.
An online computer engineering masters program can allow you to earn your graduate degree at your own pace and according to your own schedule. Generally, you will also have the ability to select courses that fit your computational preferences in an online computer engineering degree program.
You can start your educational journey today by exploring accredited online masters programs in computer engineering to find the one that best fits your goals and interests.