Computer Engineer Career Information
What a Computer Engineer does
Computer engineers are involved with the hardware and software aspects of computer systems; design and development. They apply theories and principles of computational science, mathematics, material science, electrical technologies and digital technologies to design computer hardware, software, peripheral equipment like printers, computer networks and systems.
Their work can be divided into various areas:
Design and development of computer hardware: This involves research, design, and development of microprocessors, various components of computer systems like CPU (Central Processing Unit), ROM (Read Only Memory) chip, RAM (Random Access Memory), monitor, HDD (Hard Disk Drive), and CD drive.
Design and development of customised microprocessor: Customised microprocessors are used for specialised application like the microprocessor used for mobile telephony.
Design and development of networking hardware: Computer engineers are involved in design and development of various components for internetworking and intra networking (network of offices of a company at various locations).
VLSI (Very Large-scale System Integration) design: Various large companies need macro scale computer systems to integrate their complex operations. These systems typically involve the use of computer terminals, networking hardware, system software (those which are critical in running a computer system), application software (those which are used for performing specific tasks like calculating total sales of a product across various locations in India), and various networking software. Computer engineers specializing in VLSI design are involved in design, development, and implementation of these macro scale systems.
Hardware manufacturing and testing: Computer engineers are involved in manufacturing various computer hardware components as well as the assembling of components. They are involved in testing of the assembled computer systems to check whether they are working as per standard.
Hardware maintenance: Computer engineers are also involved in servicing and maintenance of computer systems. They work in trouble shooting of hardware.
Network Engineering: In medium to large-scale companies, computers (generally called desktops) are mostly connected to one another or connected to one or more servers. Servers are very advanced and powerful computers, which serve the computing needs of many client machines (i.e., the desktop computers, which are connected).
Networks can be of various types right from LAN (Local area network) through which a number of computers in a building or office space are networked to Internet through which millions of computers can be connected. There is WAN (Wide Area Network), MAN (Municipal Area Network), GAN (Global Area Network), etc. There are also the concepts of Intranet through which all the computers of a particular company in all its offices globally are connected.
Computer engineers are involved in Network Engineering along with the Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering.
Software Engineering: Software is the tool, which helps us to use the power of computer in various applications right from high-end scientific ones to low-end customized ones. Software is used in a range of areas right from e-commerce, mobile commerce, manufacturing, business, research and education. There are system softwares, which are essential to run a computer system (example, Windows 2000, XP), specific application software (example, MS-Office), and customised application software (example, software used by a company to prepare salary bills for its employees). Computer engineers working in software engineering are involved in analysis, development, commissioning, and testing of various types of software.
You will find employment I various sectors such as
- Computer systems design, development, and manufacturing companies like IBM, Dell, Compaq.
- Computer and networking hardware system design and development companies like i2 Technologies and Cisco systems.
- Software development companies like Infosys, TCS, Satyam Infotech
- Hardware assembling and maintenance companies like CMC and HCL.
Contrary to popular belief, Indian firms are still one of the favourites of global companies when it comes to sourcing software and related services. The NASSCOM study has highlighted that one out of every four global giants outsourced their critical software requirements to India.
As per the NASSCOM survey, the Indian software industry has not only been growing exponentially but also is maturing very fast. This means moving from serving low technology and manpower needs of companies to offering high tech solutions. The industry has evolved from body shopping (supplying IT manpower) to software development to enterprise solution to IT business consulting.
However it is true that due to the slow down in US economy, US firms have cut down their IT spending. But at the same time many US companies have expressed increasing interest in the Indian software industry. Many companies have announced their plans of either outsourcing software from India or investing in Indian IT industry. Apart from the US, companies in Europe and Japan are increasing their IT outsourcing to India.
Apart from the traditional software development sector, there are certain emerging sectors in the IT software and service industry, which will drive the overall growth of the industry in the near future. For example, e-commerce software is emerging as a significant area of growth. The McKinsey-NASSCOM study projects that by the year 2008, e-commerce software business in India can touch revenue of US $ 10 Billion.
IT enabled services are also emerging as another major factor for growth in this sector. This covers a wide range of services including call centre services, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services, medical transcription, data conversion/data entry, data processing, back office operations, digital content development, animation, GIS (Geographic Information Services), etc.
The industry is gunning for a total turnover of US $ 50 Billion by the year 2008. And naturally, there will be demand for quality manpower.
The demand for manpower may not be as exponential as we have seen over the last few years, but prospects for the trained professionals are definitely good. The overall feeling is that, people with the right qualifications and skills will find jobs.
Abilities & Traits Required
You need to have an interest in Science, very strong mathematical and computing abilities as well as strong analytical abilities.
Good communications and interpersonal skills is also necessary.
Bachelor's degree in engineering is the basic qualification needed to be a computer engineer. Usually employers prefer graduates with computer science, computer information systems, computer engineering, computer programming, electrical engineering, or other computer-related fields.
Masters degree in engineering will help enhance your prospects in the field.
Computer engineers get about Rs 25000-35000 per month in the beginning depending on the company. Opportunities for earning are very good. A senior Computer Engineer can earn about Rs 70000-80000 or more a month. Salaries in jobs abroad are higher when converted into Indian currency.