Computer development is occurring at lightning speed, with devices becoming more sophisticated than ever before. The Internet of Things industry alone is expected to receive $6 trillion in investments in the next five years, according to research firm BI Intelligence. Getting an online Master’s in Computer Engineering is the perfect opportunity if you have an engineering or computer science background.
Computer engineering merges design, research and development to create computers, computer systems and other technology devices. Online programs are ideal for working professionals and those who crave the ability to acquire higher education on a more flexible schedule that doesn’t require travel to campus.
Online computer engineering graduate programs may be taught by accomplished faculty who are highly regarded experts in their field. Students who enroll in programs that are taught by such experts gain access to mentor and networking opportunities with leading computer engineering professionals. This is one of the factors that can help you decide between two or more programs that might be very similar in other respects.
Online classes are taught by accomplished faculty who are highly regarded experts in their field. Students gain access to mentor opportunities from instructors, as well as potential connections with software engineers, system engineers, military experts and other professionals in their classes.
What’s the difference between computer engineering and computer science? Broadly speaking, computer engineering deals with the practical elements of building computing systems (e.g., how are integrated systems of electronic components designed) whereas computer science is more focused on the theoretical underpinnings of computing (e.g., how is data processed, interpreted, stored, communicated and secured).
|Computer Engineering||Computer Science|
|Formal Definition||“Computer engineering is a discipline that embodies the science and technology of design, construction, implementation and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment.” – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)||“Computer science (CS) spans the range from theory through programming to cutting-edge development of computing solutions.” – Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)|
|Bodies of Knowledge||Microprocessor/microcontroller systems, embedded digital systems, processor interfacing, wireless networking, digital logical design, solid state physics||Programming languages, coding, cryptography, algorithms and numerical analysis, compilers, network privacy and security, computational theory|
|Career Paths||Computer engineer, computer architect, chip architect, networking engineer, communication systems engineer||Web developer, information systems manager, database administrator, computer systems analyst, software quality assurance tester|
As the world of technology evolves, so do innovative education solutions for students. Online master’s programs combine the product of an advanced, valuable education with the convenience of flexible study.
Classes may be taught live by qualified instructors, many of whom have extensive experience in computer engineering and are continually sought out for their expertise in the industry. Classes may also be recorded ahead of time, so that students may listen to lessons at their own convenience. Some schools may refer to this as synchronous (live taught) and asynchronous (recorded) teaching. If you need or desire a more flexible schedule, seek a program that offers asynchronous classes.
Collaborative elements like group work, virtual lab work, online forums and access to instructors and students’ services ensure online master’s students receive the same education and support as on-campus students.
Generally, graduate students who choose online over on-campus do so for specific reasons, such as:
- Work-life-school balance: They work full time and need a flexible schedule.
- Flexibility: They need the flexibility to access coursework when and where it is most convenient for them, typically because they are parents of young children (although this is not always the case, as anyone can benefit from the flexibility of online studies).
- More choices: Their preferred school or degree program is out of commuting range.
- Accelerated degrees: Some universities offer the ability to complete a full degree program in 12 to 15 months.
You might consider applying for an online master’s in computer engineering degree if:
- You want to continue working at your full-time job: Earn graduate credits while you retain your current position. There’s no need to worry about relocating to go to the school you want, when you can receive instruction from the college’s same great instructors online.
- You enjoy learning online: An online learning setting may work better for some students who crave the ability to participate in class from a location where they are most comfortable. Having always-on access to classes, tutorials and message boards related to your coursework are other benefits.
- You have obligations that limit your time: Online learning is a great alternative to on-campus college for students who have obligations that require a flexible learning schedule. You can study at home while your family is there, or access coursework when it’s convenient for you.
Master’s in Computer Engineering students want to learn new skills, and they have goals of obtaining higher positions, earning higher salaries or pursuing different career directions. An online master’s in computer engineering degree can help with all of these objectives.
Schools across the country have varying requirements for applicants to their master’s programs. While having worked in computer science is not always a requirement, schools may look for candidates with some type of computer science background. This can include completing computer science related coursework, including mathematics, engineering and computer programming. Some universities may exchange coursework requirements for work experience.
Some schools with computer science degrees master’s program also require applicants to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. There may also be a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement to be accepted into some schools. Additional materials such as a résumé, references or essay question answers may also be included in application requirements.
Because computer engineering graduate programs require prior knowledge in the fields relating to engineering, computer science, mathematics and technology, you’ll need an undergraduate degree or be able to demonstrate work experience in a related field.
Like many online graduate degree programs, there are often other compulsory items that must be included in an application.
Computer Engineering Graduate School Requirements
- Minimum score on a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test (some programs may not require students take the GRE for admission)
- Minimum GPA from undergraduate work
- School transcripts
- Essay and/or personal statement
- Résumé and/or references
Some schools will waive the GRE requirement if you have full-time work experience, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher or already hold a master’s degree. Each school’s requirements will differ, but a bachelor’s degree is typically required for applicants to be considered for acceptance into a computer engineering master’s degree program.
If you’re like most people who think about going back to school for a master’s degree, you may ask yourself whether or not a Master’s of Computer Engineering is worth it. One way to answer this question is by looking at the expected return on investment (ROI) of a master’s degree in computer engineering.
Projected Highest Paid Engineering Majors, Master’s Degree Level*
|Master’s Degree||Average Starting Salary|
- What percent of the program is online vs on-campus (immersions)?
- Are classes live or recorded, or both?
- Does the school require knowledge of specific programming languages?
- Will the school waive undergraduate degree requirements if students demonstrate full-time work experience?
- Is a graduate entrance exam required, and if so, what are the waiver requirements?
- Is TOEFL required for international students?
- What type of support does the school offer students in finding jobs and internships?
- How long does the MS degree program in computer engineering take to complete, and are accelerated options offered to students who do not work?
- What is the mix of professors who have real-work experience to professors who have had academic careers?
Use the list above as you explore your options and evaluate programs.
Computer Engineering Careers and Salaries
Learn about potential computer engineering degree careers and salaries you can earn.