Is Computer Engineering Hard?

Is Computer Engineering Hard

Often being improperly looked upon as nearly the same thing as electrical engineering, computer engineering sits between electrical engineering and computer science.

Computer engineering may be quite difficult early on due to it sharing a foundation with electrical engineering, but may prove easier in the later years.

To learn more about computer engineering and what may make it difficult for you, keep reading,

The Difficulty in Computer Engineering

About Computer Engineering

400;”>Computer engineering is a branch of engineering that combines electrical engineering with computer sciences. 

Computer engineering is known as the discipline embodying the science and technology of design and construction, as well as the maintenance of software and hardware components.

You may have guessed by the name of the course that this type of engineer focuses on designing and developing computer systems as well as other technological devices.

Many view the field of CE as simply “designing computers”. But increasingly, computer engineers are now involved in the highly-specialized design of computer-based systems. 

Computer engineers will find work in computer, aerospace, telecommunication, power production, manufacturing, defense, and electronics industries.

This makes for a very wide and diverse list of choices for employment no matter where you may go.

Computer engineering pioneers are responsible for such inventions as the mechanical calculator, the first computer to be sold commercially, and the invention of the transistor.

The great thing about computer engineering is that it continues to be driven by the constant technological advances going around in the world.

This creates many opportunities as well as challenges for up and coming computer engineers.

Indeed, this is a very exciting and worthwhile discipline should you choose to enter into it.

What is the Work of Computer Engineers?

As discussed earlier, computer engineers are responsible for creating and producing highly specialized computer systems to be used in many different fields.

Computer hardware engineers are responsible for researching, designing, developing, and testing computer systems and components.

These components and systems include processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That still is very broad and covers quite the range of things that computer engineers are responsible for. 

Microprocessors, memory chips, data storage, input and output devices, and networking components all fall under computer hardware that computer engineers develop.

Yet another extremely important aspect of being a computer engineer is needing to integrate these various components into a computer or network system.

In order to accomplish such a task, a student taking computer engineering is required to have a good working knowledge of electrical engineering.

Aside from developing and producing computer hardware, computer engineers are also responsible for software development.

Software includes things such as operating systems, applications, networking communications, utilities, programming languages, and security.

Some great news for the field of computer engineering is the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of computer hardware engineers to grow from 2012 to 2022.

Software engineers are even more in demand and will grow rapidly between the same timeframe.

Having good grades from highly rated institutions is one great advantage that students can hold over the competition when searching for a job, the BLS states.

So overall, although it may be a bit difficult, computer engineering is a stable and worthwhile discipline to dedicate oneself to.

Some good news is that whether a student decides to pursue a career as a computer software engineer or a hardware engineer the salaries are very similar.

On top of this, a vast majority of experienced engineers with advanced degrees are promoted to management positions where they are able to earn even more.

Should you choose to start your own business that is also a viable decision, seeing as you will hold most skills that are needed in developing hardware or software depending on your discipline.

How is Electrical Engineering Difficult?

As mentioned earlier, computer engineering shares a common foundation and curriculum with electrical engineering.

Although this diverges later on in the course, the early foundations lain may prove to make the course difficult for some students.

The vast majority of the beginning of the two courses are quite similar.

They both contain computer programming, physics, mathematics, chemistry, electronics, and linear circuits, among various other subjects.

Due to these shared disciplines, computer engineering may prove difficult for some students early on.

Luckily, the two courses begin to diverge later on, which may make the course easier and more accommodating to students who prefer coding and programming over math.

That being said, a robust knowledge of mathematics and science is still critical to student success when pursuing computer engineering.

Both math and science skills are needed and mastered in order for the student to draw from these disciplines throughout the computer engineering curriculum.

Although the course dives more into programming and coding in later years, one cannot overstate the role that math and science play in any engineering student’s academic life.

While electrical engineering focuses on abstract mathematics such as partial differential equations, computer engineering will focus on more discrete mathematics.

Additionally, it will stray away from purely mathematics focused subjects and begin concentrating on things such as coding and programming.

For students who are not interested or struggle with using different coding languages and programming, then this course will still pose a challenge.

But for those pupils who find coding and programming, creating software and developing hardware, this portion of the course may prove considerably easier than the foundations shared with EE.

Laboratory science is also a must and a handle on the scientific method is something that will be utilized extensively throughout the course.

Should you find yourself enrolling in this course, it may be difficult if you do not apply yourself. But should you focus and accomplish what needs to be done you should find it to be manageable.


Although electrical engineering and computer engineering share many common qualities early on, in general, computer engineering will prove an easier course for most in its later years.

Coding and programming, as well as producing software and developing hardware, tend to bade well with most students who struggle in abstract mathematics but have a solid foundation in discrete math.

If you’ve been on the fence about taking computer engineering, this article has hopefully helped supply you with ample information for what to expect from the course and what makes it difficult.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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