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April 22, 2022

8 Top-Paying Computer Engineering Jobs

In today’s tech-driven economy, skilled computer engineers can command impressive salaries, with many earning well into the six-figure range. In fact, the median yearly income for computer engineering jobs is $102,000, with entry-level salaries ranging from $61,000 to $76,000, according to a 2022 report by Computer Careers.

So, Why do Computer Engineers Earn so Much?

In short, it’s because they have valuable skills—and employers pay a premium for them. Creativity, coding, decision-making, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking are just some of what it takes to excel in computer engineering, and many of these skills can be learned in a computer science or information technology degree program.

Learn more below about the top-earning computer engineering careers that you can land with an online computer science degree from WGU.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are unique in that they possess both a technical and creative side. They apply engineering concepts to develop new computer hardware, design and run software applications, and test them to ensure quality. Oftentimes, they work with programmers to write software code.

While some software engineers and computer programmers are self-taught, most gain their core IT skills by pursuing an education. A bachelor’s degree in information technology or in software development will help you understand data structures and artificial intelligence while gaining skills in logic and computer theory.

A day in the life of a software engineer may include:

  • Analyzing users’ needs and designing software systems to meet those needs
  • Recommending software upgrades
  • Designing applications or systems
  • Creating models and diagrams that show programmers the software code needed for an application
  • Performing software maintenance and testing
  • Documenting applications or systems as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades

Median Salary: $110,140

Job Growth: 22% from 2020 to 2030

Business Intelligence Developer

Business intelligence (BI) developers help businesses make sense of their data. They’re in charge of generating, organizing, and maintaining interfaces, which can include dashboards, data visualizations, regular and impromptu reports, and data querying tools for users to get the information they need.

BI developers have a range of responsibilities, including:

  • Taking feedback from end users
  • Deploying AI interfaces to do automated information analysis
  • Developing, deploying, and maintaining business intelligence tools
  • Assisting in database design, data modeling, and curating reports
  • Turning business requirements into technical requirements
  • Writing technical documentation for business intelligence tools

Given the technical skills required for this job, most employers want candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or some other IT-related field. These degree programs will help you learn the technical skills, such as writing SQL code and creating user interfaces, that you need to excel as an intelligence developer.

Cloud Engineer

More than 60% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud. Cloud engineers are the people that build, maintain, and optimize those infrastructures to help organizations thrive. They design and implement software alongside a team of programmers and developers, requiring excellent teamwork, communication, and coding skills. As more companies migrate to cloud-based solutions, cloud engineers are also responsible for migrating resources to cloud applications.

The specific responsibilities of a cloud engineer can include:

  • Creating and integrating cloud-based applications
  • Working together with other cloud engineers and team members to build and maintain cloud applications
  • Upgrading cloud-based systems
  • Troubleshooting problems with cloud computing platforms
  • Providing cloud support services that help companies use applications in new ways
  • Staying up to date on any new developments in cloud applications

Median Salary: $91,409

Job Growth: 5% from 2020 to 2030

Data Engineer

Data engineers build the databases that house a company's data, ensuring that data is accessible later on. They regularly work with data scientists and management to understand a company’s data needs and create relevant strategies. To do this, they must have a deep understanding of common scripting languages and be able to solve complex problems on a coding level. 

Usually, you start this career path with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software development, IT, or a related field. You’ll also need extensive experience with different programming languages, such as Python and Java.

Data engineers have a wide range of responsibilities. Below are some of the most common ones:

  • Developing, testing, and maintaining data pipelines
  • Ensuring the architecture of data pipelines is well aligned with the business’s requirements
  • Gathering data from different sources and organizing it in one place
  • Developing algorithms to analyze the data and extracting what’s needed by data scientists
  • Writing automation scripts to handle repetitive tasks

Median Salary: $98,860

Job Growth: 8% from 2020 to 2030

Computer Vision Engineer

A computer vision engineer uses programming and machine-learning skills to create programs that can see and interpret visual information Often, this involves collecting and transforming a large amount of data via machine-learning systems for a specific purpose. This information can come in various ways, such as video feeds, digital signals, or analog images that the computer digitizes. Self-driving cars, face lock in smartphones, and Google’s image search feature are all examples of computer vision at work.

Much of a computer vision engineer’s job is doing research and implementing the results into machine-learning systems to build solutions for their clients or employer. Some of the tasks you can expect to do as a computer vision engineer include:

  • Developing, testing, debugging, deploying, and maintaining computer vision algorithms and hardware
  • Creating automated vision algorithms for work with robots and autonomous hardware systems
  • Gathering and optimizing analytics from computer vision algorithms to improve their performance
  • Studying real-world problems and proposing solutions to those problems
  • Building technical documentation for computer vision systems for end users
  • Managing large- and small-scale computer vision projects

Given the technical demands of this job, a strong educational background is key. You should have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or an IT-related degree. You’ll also need experience and demonstrable skills in programming with languages like Java, C++, or Python and in working with machine- and deep-learning libraries like Tensor Flow and PyTorch.

Median Salary: $126,830

Job Growth: 22% from 2020 to 2030

Algorithm Engineer

The job of an algorithm engineer revolves around researching, writing, and testing algorithms to help companies solve problems or achieve desired results. Ultimately, they work to improve the efficiency of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, as well as the application of machine learning. This role is ideal for someone who enjoys working with data sets and specialized technology and who is an exceptional problem solver and coder. If this sounds like you, you’ll definitely need a bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science, or a related degree and technology-specific certifications to get started on this career path.

Some of the things you can expect to do as an algorithm engineer include:

  • Creating algorithms for AI applications
  • Testing algorithms for use in AI technology, various software programs, and machine-learning applications
  • Presenting findings in user-friendly report formats
  • Researching potential algorithm improvements to further enhance algorithm efficiency
  • Communicating with team members, fellow algorithm engineers, and clients

Median Salary: $121,500

Job Growth: 22% from 2020 to 2030

Machine Learning Engineer

A machine learning engineer designs, maintains, and upgrades AI systems. They take algorithms created by data scientists to build programs that enable machines to take actions without being directed to perform those tasks. These programming frameworks train algorithms to learn tasks and generate useful insights.

Machine learning engineers often collaborate with software engineering and data science teams to deploy their programs and algorithms that help create everything from customized news feeds to self-driving cars.

Some common tasks of a machine learning engineer include:

  • Designing, developing and researching machine-learning systems
  • Searching and choosing appropriate data sets
  • Performing statistical analyses
  • Identifying programming bugs
  • Documenting the machine learning processes

In many cases, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field, along with related certifications. However, a master’s degree may be required for more senior roles.

Median Salary: $116,495

Job Growth: 11% from 2019 to 2029

Hardware Engineer

Hardware engineers create the physical components that make computers run. But that’s just the start. They also research, develop, and test computer systems such as networks, processors, memory devices, etc. Another important element of a hardware engineer’s job is to identify problems in computer hardware, come up with possible solutions, and explore the best way to implement new changes.

Below are some of the responsibilities you can expect as a hardware engineer:

  • Designing computer hardware
  • Overseeing manufacturing processes
  • Testing computer products
  • Modifying designs
  • Guiding installation
  • Making updates to existing computer equipment
  • Creating blueprints

Entry-level hardware engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or a related subject. After earning a degree, you’ll also want to consider certifications to show potential employers that you have specific skills and knowledge that will qualify you for roles in hardware engineering.

Median Salary: $119,560

Job Growth: 2% from 2020 to 2030

Where Do Computer Engineers Work?

Apple, Google, Tesla, Synopsis, Thermo Fisher, and Oracle are among the top employers of computer engineers—however, you can find a computer engineering job with any sized company, in nearly every industry. Healthcare, government, education, and automotive are just some industries that need experienced computer engineers.

If you’re ready for an in-demand computer engineering career path that comes with a high earning potential and diverse job options, earning a computer science degree is the next step. Explore WGU’s flexible, affordable online degree programs and find your fit today. 

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