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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Engineers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for computer engineers. There are currently 330 working computer engineers in Iowa; this should grow by 16% to about 390 working computer engineers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for computer engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 3.8% over the next eight years. In general, computer engineers research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.

Income for computer engineers is about $34 per hour or $71,880 annually on average in Iowa. Nationally, their income is about $46 hourly or $97,400 annually. Earnings for computer engineers are better than earnings in the general category of Engineering in Iowa and better than general Engineering category earnings nationally. Computer engineers work in a variety of jobs, including: microchip specialist, systems integration engineer, and computer designer.

The Cedar Rapids area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree as a computer engineer. Given that the most common education level for computer engineers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a computer engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Computer Engineer

Computer Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, computer engineers research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. They also may supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.

Computer engineers update knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology. They also direct technicians, engineering designers or other technical support personnel as needed. Equally important, computer engineers have to store and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements. They are often called upon to talk with engineering staff and consult specifications to review interface between hardware and software and the operational and performance requirements of overall systems. They are expected to monitor functioning of equipment and make needed modifications to insure system operates in conformance with specifications. Finally, computer engineers analyze data to establish and plan layouts using computers.

Every day, computer engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to think through problems and come up with general rules. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for computer engineers to analyze user needs and recommend appropriate hardware. They are often called upon to furnish training and support to system designers and users. They also evaluate factors such as reporting formats required and need for security restrictions to establish hardware configuration. They are sometimes expected to test and verify hardware and support peripherals to insure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data. Somewhat less frequently, computer engineers are also expected to layout and develop computer hardware and support peripherals, including central processing units (CPUs), support logic, microprocessors, custom integrated circuits, and printers and disk drives.

They also have to be able to recommend purchase of apparatus to control dust and humidity in area of system installation And finally, they sometimes have to test and verify hardware and support peripherals to insure that they meet specifications and requirements, by recording and analyzing test data.

Like many other jobs, computer engineers must be persistant in the face of problems and impediments and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Materials Engineer. Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Computer Engineer Training

University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316. University of Iowa is a large university located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,475 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Iowa has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Computer Engineering which graduated seventeen and three students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Wireless Communications: Technicians seeking the ETA Certified Electronics Technician specialty are required to have a basic education in fundamental electronics.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Fiber Optics Installer - Outside Plant: The Fiber Optic Installer-Outside Plant certification is designed after the FOI certification, with special emphasis on outside plant applications and standards.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Stay Sharp Program - Mastering Packet Analysis: Network administrators, information security analysts, intrusion detection and prevention analysts and network auditors that need an in-depth understanding of how to assess network protocols and use powerful network analysis tools.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Certified Web Professional - Internetworking Specialist: A CWP Internetworking Specialist defines network architecture, identifies infrastructure components, monitors and analyzes network performance.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Junior Telecommunications Engineer: Telecommunications certification is applicable to professionals involved in the science and practice of communications by electromagnetic means.

For more information, see the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers, Inc. website.

LICENSES

Engineer, Licensed

Licensing agency: Iowa Engineering & Land Surveying Examining Board
Address: Professional Licensing & Regulation Division, Iowa Department of Commerce Ankeny, IA 50021-3941

Phone: (515) 281-7360
Website: Iowa Engineering & Land Surveying Examining Board Professional Licensing & Regulation Division Iowa Department of Commerce

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.