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The Online Masters in Computer Engineering Degree is quickly becoming one of the top online engineering degrees available. Typically you need a Bachelors degree, more often than not in a computer engineering, software engineering, or computer science related field. Learn about the top Masters degrees in computer engineering and what career path might be the best for you.

A Master in Computer Engineering could help separate you from your colleagues at work while teaching you advanced fundamentals needed for a higher level computer engineer career. Sometimes Master in Computer Engineering degrees focus more on the programming and software side, such as a Master in Software Engineering. Other times, engineers more focused on hardware or electronics focus on a Master of Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering - this degree is usually catered to people that focus on the hardware side of things.

Why a Masters in Computer Engineering?

Although many career opportunities in the field require a bachelor's degree in this area, there are many reasons why you can benefit from earning your master's in computer engineering. If you already have your undergraduate degree, and a solid foundation in hardware and software engineering education, you may want to consider this path for several reasons.

First of all, the career opportunities and levels of success can open up with your graduate level education. Not only can you qualify for more focused positions, but you can work towards leadership positions. Making this decision and those types of career moves could also lead you to higher salary levels.

Many programs at the masters level let you choose specializations in such areas as: hardware and computer architecture, computer communications and networks, software, and cyber security. Other programs may let you choose a related concentration, such as electrical engineering or computer systems engineering. Having an education that focuses on a specific area can help you stand out among applicants who may have more general degrees in computer engineering. You can find graduate programs that include capstone projects, internships, and research projects that are sometimes sponsored by industry based companies.

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The learning outcomes in most computer engineering programs are geared towards helping students learn to design and create products that function efficiently, according to particular requirements, understand how to use new information for complex problem-solving, and other skills that will help in any computer engineering related career.

Additionally, there are many accredited online masters in computer engineering programs if your schedule won’t allow you to report to campus during most class times.

Masters in Computer Engineering Online

If an online program does seem like a good fit for you, or a path worth considering, you are not alone. The growth of online programs, and employers who recognize the value of these programs has grown exponentially over the years. While some programs may be a mix of online classes and campus requirements, such as lab work, it is possible to find 100% distance based programs.

Online Master’s in computer engineering programs will aim to give you the same quality and scope that a campus program provides. After all, if you choose an accredited program, you will expect to have the same skills as a campus grad when you complete your education. That’s why many students and professors who are knowledgeable about online formats will say that these programs require even more self-discipline than campus programs because you have to hold yourself accountable.

Although it may seem more convenient, it will be up to you to download your course materials and participate in online discussions, and submit your homework by the deadlines. Some schools offer their entire syllabus online for their computer engineering program. Reviewing the syllabus can give you an idea of the demands around the program so you can make sure you will have the proper motivations required to complete the degree. However, if you are already working as a computer engineer, you may already have more than enough self-motivation to succeed in an online program.

Masters in Computer Engineering vs. Masters in Computer Science

One of the most common questions prospective students interested in this field have is: What is the difference between masters programs in computer engineering and computer science? When you start to compare these programs, it can be a little confusing because you will find overlapping courses as you compare the curriculum. Even though they may share some of the same courses, and possibly career outcomes, these are two different types of programs.

First of all, let’s start with what these two programs have in common. When you major in either of these areas you will likely take courses in networking, programming, operating systems, hardware, and database management. However, if you take a masters in computer science program, you will likely take courses that engineering students won’t, such as: network security, artificial intelligence, problem-solving algorithms. On the other hand, engineering students may take the following courses that computer science students typically do not take: microprocessor design, signals and systems, and electronics analysis.

However, some schools understand that these two programs are inter-related and interesting to similar types of students. That’s why some schools offer a concentration in areas such as software engineering to masters level programs. Doing so, helps integrate the computer science and computer engineering proficiency.

Masters in Computer Engineering Requirements and Prerequisites

Many online programs have the same prerequisites as campus programs. You should expect to have your transcripts (with some sort of GPA requirement), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, along with any general application materials schools may require. Some programs may require a GRE score, or only if your GPA is lower than 3.0 or if you have been working in the field of computer engineering for around two years or less (full-time).

Most programs will also have prerequisite requirements in the area of math. You will either need to meet the requirements by taking the listed courses, or you can typically place out of these requirements by taking a test to prove your proficiency. There may be other required courses before officially entering the masters program, including computer systems and artificial intelligence.

Masters in Computer Engineering Salary and Careers

If you have an education in computer engineering, you can work as a computer hardware engineer or similar occupation. In this role you would conduct research, development, testing, and design of computers and complicated networks and systems. You will most likely work in a lab setting, such as those operated by large manufacturing facilities.

Those who work as computer hardware engineers can expect to earn a median wage of $111,730 per year, according to 2015 data. Of course, your salary will be determined by your location, industry, and type of organization you decide to work for. Some major companies that hire computer engineers are IBM, HP, Apple, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Broadcom, Dell, and many others. Some common industries are computers and storage, communications, semiconductors, and defense. (BLS)