#computer engineering degree
Online computer Engineering Degrees In-Depth
Students mapping out a career path in computer engineering have myriad things to consider. To make the process easier, the following guide breaks down degree programs and courses to help students decide what academic path is right for them. As with any major college or career decision, everything starts with research.
For computer engineering studies, the electronic nature of the subject lends itself to online learning. The virtual classroom relies on technology such as lecture-capture and video streaming. Digital learning systems, for example, Blackboard and Desire2Learn, offer a variety of features and functions such as discussion forums. Students can often submit specs, papers and other engineering-related work via the web. Depending on the school, distance learning programs may facilitate the completion of lab assignments online through specialized software. Some online computer engineering schools offer hybrid programs, which combine on-campus lab activities with web-based coursework.
Self-Paced vs. Real-Time
Courses for online computer engineering degrees come in two forms: self-paced and real-time. The self-paced, or asynchronous, format allows students to complete assignments and work toward a degree at their convenience. Real-time, or synchronous, content delivery involves logging in at predetermined times for scheduled interaction with peers and professors, and submission of materials by specific deadlines.
Many online programs require that students have access to certain equipment. The basics include a computer, broadband connection, up-to-date web browser, word processing programs and the ability to view videos. In computer engineering, however, the minimum technological requirements can far surpass the norm. For example, online computer engineering students need access to a more powerful computer, specific hardware, software creation programs and so on. Before beginning an online degree program in computer engineering, contact the department administrator for a list of the must-have tools of the trade.
ONLINE COMPUTER ENGINEERING BY LEVEL
A computer engineering major allows students to learn aspects of both electrical engineering and computer science. At the associate level, students can gain basic skills and knowledge in areas such as programming, electronic circuitry, digital and analog electronics, and information acquisition and organization. Bachelor’s degree programs in the field dive deeper into these domains and cover more advanced concepts, including object-oriented programming and data structures. Graduate students experience even more in-depth study, often focusing on a single aspect of computer engineering to hone specific skills or contribute to the academic community via research.
STUDENT PROFILE #1
Ben liked computers and working with electronics, but didn’t know which major was the right fit for him. After taking introductory courses at the associate level, he decided to complete his two-year degree and move on to an online bachelor’s degree program in computer engineering.
ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING (2 YEARS)
The online associate degree in computer engineering is a two-year credential designed specifically to give students a solid foundation in the field. Year one combines early core requirements such as mathematics and English with more degree-focused courses like the essentials of programming. Year two rounds out the program with classes that may include calculus, physics and microprocessor design.
Online associate degrees are available in majors such as electrical and computer engineering. In addition, brick-and-mortar colleges may offer some courses for a computer engineering major in a hybrid or online format, while requiring students to attend other classes and labs on campus. The following table illustrates a typical two-year curriculum in computer engineering:
First Semester (Freshman)
Student Profile #2
During her freshman year, Amy decided to major in computer science, gravitating toward the hardware side of things. By her junior year, she was fully entrenched in her computer engineering major with a focus on microprocessor design. To supplement her online studies, she sought out an internship with a major tech company in California. The online program allowed her to manage school, work and raise her daughter Beth.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering (4 years)
Students can typically complete a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 4-5 years. Coursework covers specific programming languages, advanced engineering principles and mathematics. Many programs also require a senior project. Years three (junior) and four (senior) of a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering may look like the following:
Fifth Semester (Junior)
STUDENT PROFILE #3
Paul earned an online bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, yet became far more interested in the computer-related aspects of his major. An online master’s degree in computer engineering allowed him to build upon his undergraduate studies, learning more about the computer aspects of engineering.
Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Engineering
An online master’s degree in computer engineering typically involves two years of extra coursework in the field. Students choose between a handful of program styles designed to guide them along a specific academic or career track, based on both current and future interest. For instance, those who wish to move on to doctoral study often opt for the thesis option, and focus on a long paper or project for review by a board of professors. More career-minded students might select a non-thesis option, which can entail completion of a comprehensive examination covering all course material over the two-year span.
Graduate “tracks” vary by subject, school and department. Before enrolling in a program or any classes, it’s important to consult an advisor and choose a track that fits with academic and professional goals. Due to the variety of program options, it’s difficult to list a standard master’s curriculum for computer engineering — or for any subject, for that matter. However, the following table represents a sample of core classes graduate students may find in a program:
Master’s Program Core Courses