Computer Engineering

A. James Clark School of Engineering

What is the Computer Engineering major?

Students in the Computer Engineering major learn how hardware and software interact. They become familiar with electrical circuitry design, signals, digital logic design, and the organization of modern computing. Students also learn programming in various languages, designs of algorithms, computer operating systems and various computer science topics such as machine learning, and cyber­security.

What are the interests of students who major in Computer Engineering?

Computer Engineering students have many interests. Some enjoy taking things apart and putting things together such as Legos, robots, and programming computers and smartphones. Many Computer Engineering students enjoy science, programming, logical thinking, and math, and many are interested in high school robotics projects. Students are interested in how systems work, designing security measures to protect against cyberattacks, and improving communications between operating systems.

What are the possible job opportunities for students with a Computer Engineering degree?

There is no shortage of jobs in this field. Our graduates work as software engineers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_engineering), developers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_developer), reliability engineers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_engineering), cyber­security analysts (https://www.thebalance.com/cyber-intelligence-analyst-2071296), industrial and automation engineers
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation_engineering), consultants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consultant), technical writers (link), web developers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_development), patent examiners (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_examiner), entrepreneurs, embedded system developers (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-differences-between-embedded-maharajan), national security officers.

What is the day-to-day work of a Computer Engineering graduate?

New employees typically obtain some form of certification to get started on projects and then are assigned to work in teams to complete specific projects. Most tasks are multidisciplinary, which makes it very important to have the ability to learn new things outside computer engineering. Apart from technical expertise, these jobs require good communication and most importantly, teamwork skills. A degree in Computer Engineering offers students versatility in the workplace. Collaborating with others to design and manage microchips, computers, software, hardware, and digital applications.

What are the lower level requirements of the Computer Engineering major?

New students take programming, written and oral communication skills, and design thinking. The lower level math courses include Calculus (MATH140/141), Differential equations (MATH246) and Discrete structures (CMSC250). The Computer Engineering major is a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP). For more information on LEP requirements, please see LEP.umd.edu.

How is math applied to the major?

Calculus (MATH140/141) is used for describing both physical and theoretical concepts that change in time or in space. Differential equations (MATH246) is used for understanding signals, and for extracting or conveying information. Discrete Structures (CMSC 250) applies to digital logic implementation in computing systems.

What are the strengths of students in this major?

Computer Engineering students have been successful in math and science, are persistent and hardworking, and think of unorthodox ways to solve problems. Students who are great team players often get involved with high profile competitions and are offered internship opportunities early in their careers.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security is the process of protecting computer software and hardware systems from unauthorized access. Cyber security is necessary to protect data from theft, alteration or destruction. Evolving technologies constantly threaten the security of information making this field of study both important and in high demand.

How does a Computer Engineering major prepare to work in cyber security?

Computer engineers are exposed to both the software and network side of cybersecurity, as well as cyber physical systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-physical_system) found in hardware for Internet of Things (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things)

What is data sciences?

Broadly speaking, data science is a technical field that pertains to the collection and analysis of data in various forms. It involves statistical methods, data visualization and data analytics to form coherent conclusions from vast amounts of data. This field requires one to independently research, synthesize and present findings.

Do Computer Engineering majors work as data scientists?

Computer engineers can work as data scientists. ECE graduates have ample courses in CMSC that allow them to work as data scientists.

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