Home Jobs & Education What is the Average Computer Engineering Salary?

The average computer hardware engineer salary in the U.S.A. is $72.094 per year while computer software engineers earn $77.982 annually. The wages range between $40.901 and $112.657 for computer hardware engineers. Software computer engineer earn a little more between $53.816 – $112.657. The computer engineering salary depends on skill and experience for both categories. Software engineers earnings also depend on the city in which they operate and employer. Wish to follow a career in computer engineering? Read our article for more information on these professions and cash compensations below.

computer engineering salary hardware engineer at work

Average Computer Engineering Salary and Benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics computer hardware engineers earned an average of $108.430 in 2014. Computer software engineers average paycheck is $93.470 according to the same stats.

The website PayScale, however, depicts lower averages for the computer engineer salary than the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PayScale’s updated data from this year shows that computer hardware engineers take home $72.094 and software engineers $77.982 per year.

Computer hardware engineers also benefit from yearly bonuses and profit shares up to $20k. Computer software engineers can achieve even $26.000 in profit shares and bonuses, according to PayScale. Both careers benefit from medical, dental and in some instances even vision insurances.

Computer Engineering Job Description

Computer hardware engineers are employed by companies which are specialized in research, design, development or test computer. They also may be hired by companies which deal in computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military as well as for scientific use. The job description of computer hardware engineers includes the supervision and installment of computer or computer-related equipment and components.

On the other hand, computer software engineers deal with researching, designing, developing and testing operating systems-level software and compilers. They also deal in network distribution software for a series of different fields. They include medical, industrial, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific and general computing applications. Computer software engineers are required to apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering and mathematical analysis.

What Tasks Does a Computer Engineer Perform?

Below we will list the tasks computer engineers in each field.

Computer Hardware Engineers do the following:

  • Research, design, develop and test computer or computer-related equipment.
  • Provide technical support to team members.
  • Define and coordinate corrective action changes.
  • Write documentation and test specifications.

Computer Software Engineers Tasks:

  • Write, modify and debug software.
  • Design and develop application components.
  • Test and document software.
  • Analyze requirements and transform them into technical designs.

Computer Engineering Job Requirements

Computer Engineering Training, Education & Certification

Both fields of work require a Bachelor Degree and some organizations dealing in these professions might require even a Master’s Degree. The bachelor’s degrees must be obtained in areas such as engineering, computer science or other related fields.

If applicants present certificates for various skills, such as Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) then it not only increases their chances to obtain the posts, but it might also help them receive a higher paycheck.

General Skills Computer Software Engineers Have in Their CV

  • Programming Skills.
  • Active Learning Skills.
  • Critical Thinking Skills.
  • Complex Problem Solving.
  • Troubleshooting Skills.
  • Judgment and Decision Making Skills.
  • Quality Control Analysis Skills.
  • Time Management Skills.
  • System Analysis Skills.
  • Systems Evaluation Skills.
  • Equipment Selection Skills.
  • Mathematics Skills.
  • Technology Design Skills.
  • Reading Comprehension Skills.

General Skills Computer Hardware Engineers Have in Their CV

  • Critical Thinking Skills.
  • Speaking Skills.
  • Active Listening and Learning Skills.
  • Complex Problem Solving Skills.
  • Judgement and Decision Making Skills.
  • Science Skills.
  • Systems Analysis Skills.
  • Operations Skills.
  • Systems Evaluation Skills.
  • Monitoring Skills.
  • Coordinating Skills.
  • Management of Personnel Resources Skills.
  • Quality Control Analysis Skills.
  • Mathematics Skills.

Computer Software Engineer Skills Influencing Pay Check

  • Knowledge of C, C++, Python, UNIX, Linux programming skills.
  • Knowledge of database languages: SQL – Structured Query Language.

Computer Hardware Engineer Skills Influencing Pay Check

  • Knowledge of C, C++, Verilog, programming skills.
  • Knowledge of Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) programming skills and Engineering Design.

Computer Software Engineer Work Hours

The vast majority of computer software engineers work full time. Long hours are very common. In 2012 alone more than a quarter of all computer software engineers worked more than 40 hours per week.

Computer Hardware Engineer Work Hours

A computer hardware engineer performs his tasks indoors in an office or laboratory, similarly to a computer software engineer. A typical computer hardware engineer also works full-time, at least 40 hours per week. Both professions however are very demanding, prolonged working hours being a common trait.

Computer Software Engineer Salary by Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a computer software engineer’s pay check differs from the industry in which he or she activates. Some of the highest paying industries for this profession are offices of real estate agents and brokers, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, rail transportation, manufacturing and reproducing magnetic and optical media, and support activities for mining.

Industry Employment Hourly Pay Rate Annual Average Computer Software Engineering Salary
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 23,040 $53.85 $112,020
Other Information Services 5,080 $53.07 $110,380
Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 1,000 $52.06 $108,290
Manufacturing and Reproducing Magnetic and Optical Media 280 $51.37 $106,860
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing 5,690 $51.22 $106,540

Computer Hardware Engineer Salary by Industry

The top paying industries for this occupation according to BLS are electrical equipment and component manufacturing, software publishers, financial investment activities, communications equipment manufacturing.

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly  Pay Rate Annual Average Computer Hardware Engineering Salary
Other Information Services 1,000 0.48 $70.08 $145,760
Other Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing 80 0.06 $62.06 $129,080
Software Publishers 1,240 0.41 $61.18 $127,260
Other Financial Investment Activities 130 0.03 $58.16 $120,970
Communications Equipment Manufacturing 1,050 1.13 $57.92 $120,460

Computer Software Engineer Salary by State

State Employment Hourly Pay Rate Annual Average Computer Software Engineer Salary Employment per thousand workers
California 69,200 $52.52 $109,240 4.762
Virginia 28,830 $51.49 $107,100 8.032
New Hampshire 2,420 $48.95 $101,820 3.915
Massachusetts 27,150 $48.88 $101,670 8.566
New Jersey 13,180 $48.15 $100,150 3.423

Computer Hardware Engineer Salary by State

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly Pay Rate Annual Average Computer Hardware Engineer Salary
California 26,030 1.72 3.05 $59.26 $123,270
Maryland 4,390 1.72 3.04 $56.60 $117,730
Virginia 1,210 0.33 0.59 $55.89 $116,240
Massachusetts 3,600 1.08 1.92 $55.59 $115,620
District of Columbia 1,100 1.63 2.88 $54.78 $113,940

Job Prospects – Computer Software & Hardware Engineer Jobs 2012-2022

Software engineering employment numbers are seen to be on the rise in the next decade. In 2012 the number of employees active in this field was of 1,018,000 million people and are projected to rise to 1,240,600 in 2022. This results in a 22% increase in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer hardware engineer prospects do not look bad either. According to the same bureau, in 2012 there were 83.300 jobs in this field of work. Until 2022 there will be a projected rise of 7%, resulting in 6.200 more jobs. Although the rise is slower than average it does offer better job prospects than other occupational fields.

Quick Computer Software Engineer Job Facts

Annual Average Computer Software Engineer Salary $93,4K
Entry-level Software Engineer Salary $51K
Mid-level Career Software Engineer Salary $71K
Experienced Software Engineer Salary $90K
Late-career Software Engineer Salary $102K
Education Requirements Bachelor’s Degree (minimum)Master’s Degree (optional)
Computer Software Engineer Training & Certification Certifications provided by software firms such as Microsoft
Work Experience Required Most applicants underwent internships
Work Environment  Computer systems design and related firms Software Publishers
Best Paying Employer  Google Inc.($104-147K)
Best Paying Metropolitan Area Mountain View, CA ($106k)
Lowest Paying Market Minneapolis, MN ($73K)
Job Prospects 2012 – 2022  22% employment growth (+ 222.600 Software engineer jobs)
Work Schedule 40 hrs/ week and over

Quick Computer Hardware Engineer Job Facts

Annual Average Computer Hardware Engineer Salary $100K
Entry-level Hardware Engineer Salary $60K
Mid-level Career Hardware Engineer Salary $82K
Experienced Hardware Engineer Salary $100K
Late-career Hardware Engineer Salary $116K
Education Requirements Bachelor’s Degree (minimum)Master’s Degree (optional)
Database Administrator Training & Certification Certifications provided by software firms such as Microsoft
Work Experience Required Less than 5 years in a related field
Work Environment  Computer system design and related services financeSemiconductor and other electronic component manufacturingComputer and peripheral equipment manufacturingResearch and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences
Best Paying Employer  Apple Computer Inc($102-135K)
Best Paying Metropolitan Area Santa Clara, CA ($105k)
Lowest Paying Market Austin, TX ($80K)
Job Prospects 2012 – 2022  7% employment growth (+ 6.000 Hardware engineer jobs)
Work Schedule 40 hrs/ week and over

Hope our information on the average computer engineering salary in the U.S. today proves useful to job seekers in this field. For more articles on average salaries and educational requirements for diverse professions, please check our Education Section. Good luck!

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Erika Schwartz

Dear reader, my name is Erika and I am an actress, arts teacher and film analyst. I studied theatre and film for over four years, and changed more than 15 part-time jobs. What can I say? It is a tough industry. I love dance, especially tango, music, and basically anything art-related. I also enjoy writing about the captivating and dynamic world of entertainment. When I work, I seek the perfect balance between usefulness and beauty. I like to describe myself as the most optimistic person alive.


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