Most people own or have ready access to a personal computer. These marvels of modern technology have revolutionized everything from the way we get our news to how we communicate with friends and relatives to how we entertain ourselves. However, the traditional PC or laptop is only one type of computer. Virtually every modern machine and process is computer-controlled. Some computers are tiny, as in the smallest cell phones and MP3 players.
Other computers are actually massive networks of thinking machines, working on terabytes of data and cranking out billions of calculations per second. The common factor making these machines possible is the Computer Engineer. Computer Engineering differs from Software Engineering and Computer Science in that it focuses on the actual hardware that’s responsible for performing the work. Software is the set of instructions used by a computer to get work done.
Without Computer Engineers designing the hardware platform it runs on, software would be so many useless bits of data. While they need to know the principles of software operation, Computer Engineers are responsible for designing the components of a computing system. Whether that computer is in the Stealth Bomber or under your car’s hood, all computers have similar components and functions, varying mostly in size, shape and application.
Computer Engineers design everything from the Central Processing Unit to primary and secondary memory storage to input and output methods. Even if they are using off-the-shelf components, they’re responsible for making sure the integration works flawlessly.