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

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for computer systems engineers in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. There are currently 2,830 working computer systems engineers in Iowa; this should grow by 25% to 3,540 working computer systems engineers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for computer systems engineers are expected to grow by about 30.4%. Computer systems engineers generally research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications.

A person working as a computer systems engineer can expect to earn about $35 per hour or $74,630 per year on average in Iowa and about $44 hourly or $92,430 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Computer, people working as computer systems engineers in Iowa earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Computer nationally. People working as computer systems engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: information technology consultant , software development manager, and operating system designer.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including five within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as a computer systems engineer. Computer systems engineers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a computer systems engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Computer Systems Engineer

In general, computer systems engineers research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications. They also set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements.

Computer systems engineers modify existing software to fix errors, to adapt it to new hardware or to upgrade interfaces and improve performance. They also analyze data to establish, recommend and plan installation of a new system or modification of an existing system. Equally important, computer systems engineers have to store and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements. They are often called upon to confer with customers or other departments on project status, proposals and technical issues such as software system layout and maintenance. They are expected to ready reports and correspondence concerning project specifications, efforts and status. Finally, computer systems engineers design and direct software system testing and validation procedures.

Every day, computer systems engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for computer systems engineers to direct installation of software system. They are often called upon to confer with engineering staff to review interface between hardware and software, design specifications and performance requirements and resolve customer problems. They also advise customer about, or perform, maintenance of software system. They are sometimes expected to recommend purchase of apparatus to control dust and humidity in area of system installation. Somewhat less frequently, computer systems engineers are also expected to supervise and assign work to programmers, designers, technologists and technicians and other engineering and scientific personnel.

And finally, they sometimes have to utilize microcontrollers to design control signals, implement control algorithms and measure process variables such as temperatures, pressures and positions.

Like many other jobs, computer systems engineers must be thorough and dependable and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Applications Programmer. Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.
  • Computer Programmer. Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.
  • Computer Scientist. Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
  • Computer Security Specialist. Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.
  • Computer Systems Analyst. Analyze science, engineering, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst. Analyze, design, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. Research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software. Includes telecommunications specialists who deal with the interfacing of computer and communications equipment. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Software Engineer. Design and develop solutions to complex applications problems, system administration issues, or network concerns. Perform systems management and integration functions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Computer Systems Engineer Training

Coe College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Coe College, 1220 First Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-5092. Coe College is a small college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,326 students and an admission rate of 63%. Coe College has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Kaplan University-Cedar Rapids Campus - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kaplan University-Cedar Rapids Campus, 3165 Edgewood Parkway SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. Kaplan University-Cedar Rapids Campus is a small university located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 594 students. Kaplan University-Cedar Rapids Campus has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Information Technology which graduated fifteen and zero students respectively in 2008.

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 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated seventeen and three students respectively in 2008.

Cornell College - Mount Vernon, IA

Cornell College, 600 First St. SW, Mount Vernon, IA 52314-1098. Cornell College is a small college located in Mount Vernon, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,115 students and an admission rate of 44%. Cornell College has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Mount Mercy College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Mount Mercy College, 1330 Elmhurst Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-4797. Mount Mercy College is a small college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,555 students and an admission rate of 80%. Mount Mercy College has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

CIW Associate: Certified CIW Associates possess the basic hands-on skills and knowledge that Internet professionals are expected to understand and use.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

CIW Security Analyst: Security Analysts protect an organization's assets and operations.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

Ethics in IT: All IT professionals including: Systems administrators, auditors, information security officers, programmers, systems analysts, database administrators, Information service providers, contractors, consultants.

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

EC Council Certified Secure Programmer: EC-Council's Certified Secure Programmer is being offered to provide the essential and fundamental skills to programmers and application developers in secure programming.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Software Measurement Specialist: An industry certification for individuals working in the field of software measurement.

For more information, see the International Function Point Users Group website.

Associate of International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium: Associate of (ISC) status is available to those who have gained competence in key areas of industry knowledge and information security concepts and can pass either the CISSP® or SSCP® examinations, but lack the years of practical work experience required for full accreditation.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Certification and Accreditation Professional: The CAP credential is an objective measure of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for personnel involved in the Certification and Accreditation process.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Certified Web Professional - Enterprise Developer: A CWP Enterprise Developer builds n-tier database and legacy connectivity solutions for Web applications, using Java, Java application programming interfaces (APIs), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) solutions, middleware tools, and distributed object models.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association 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.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: For individuals who wish to distinguish themselves as an expert in Windows development, Web application development, or enterprise applications development.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Certified Software Test Engineer: The Certified Software Tester (CSTE) certification is intended to establish standards for initial qualification and provide direction for the testing function through an aggressive educational program.

For more information, see the Quality Assurance Institute website.

Security Certified Network Professional: The SCNP program focuses on defensive security technologies, such as Firewalls and Intrusion Detection.

For more information, see the Security Certified Program website.

Certified Team Developer: GUPTA's Team Developer is a visual object-oriented RAD tool that is proven to shorten the development cycle; providing developers the tools to quickly design, develop and deploy their Windows or Linux solution.

For more information, see the Unify website.

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.