Discipline Description

Computer engineers create and improve the technologies and hardware that shape our modern world.

Computer engineers research, design, develop, evaluate and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware and equipment, and information and communication system networks including wireless communication networks, fibre-optic networks, intranets, the Internet and other systems.

Computer and telecommunications hardware engineers will analyze a user’s requirement, and design and develop new computer equipment accordingly. They will research, design, develop and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware such as microprocessors, integrated circuit boards and semiconductor lasers, and will develop and conduct design simulations and prototype bench tests of the components. These engineers will also supervise, inspect and provide design support when manufacturing, installing and implementing this hardware.

Network system and data communication engineers will research, design and develop information and communication system network architecture, and will evaluate and integrate network system and data communication hardware and software. They will also assess and optimize the capacity and performance of these networks.

Job Duties

Computer and telecommunications hardware engineers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Analyze user’s requirements, and design and develop system architecture and specifications
  • Research, design, develop and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware such as microprocessors, integrated circuit boards and semiconductor lasers
  • Develop and conduct design verification simulations and prototype bench tests of components
  • Supervise, inspect and provide design support during the manufacturing, installation and implementation of computer and telecommunications hardware
  • Establish and maintain relationships with suppliers and clients
  • May lead and co-ordinate teams of engineers, technologists, technicians and drafters in the design and development of computer and telecommunications hardware.

Network system and data communication engineers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Research, design and develop information and communication system network architecture
  • Research, evaluate and integrate network system and data communication hardware and software
  • Assess, document and optimize the capacity and performance of information and communication system networks
  • May lead and co-ordinate teams of design professionals in the development and integration of information and communication system architecture, hardware and software.

Computer engineers may specialize in a number of areas including analog and digital signal processing, fibre optics, integrated circuits, lasers, microprocessors, microwaves and radio astronomy.

Career Outlook

The vast majority of computer engineering positions are in Ontario and Quebec. Together they account for over 75 per cent of the average annual job openings forecasted for Canada in the next five years—over 60 per cent of which will be due to the replacement of retiring engineers.

Current Employment for Computer Engineers

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Current Employment for Computer Engineers by Sector

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Typical Background

  • Computer engineers require a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical or electronics engineering, engineering physics or computer science. It is preferred that this comes from an accredited engineering program.
  • A master’s or doctoral degree in a related engineering discipline may be required.
  • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Engineers are eligible for licensure following graduation from an accredited educational program, three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination.

Salary

YearProvinceAverage Salary
2016Alberta$95,403
2016Newfoundland and Labrador$94,488
2016Saskatchewan$93,106
2016Manitoba$89,327
2016British Columbia$88,441
2016Quebec$87,467
2016New Brunswick$75,406

Accredited Programs of Study

For a list of accredited engineering programs, please visit Accredited Engineering Programs in Canada.

Sample Titles

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