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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Systems Engineers in Columbia, Maryland

For those living in the Columbia, Maryland area, there are many career and education opportunities for computer systems engineers. There are currently 12,870 working computer systems engineers in Maryland; this should grow 35% to about 17,370 working computer systems engineers in the state by 2016. This is better than 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 $45 per hour or $95,490 annually on average in Maryland and about $44 hourly or $92,430 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for computer systems engineers are better than earnings in the general category of Computer in Maryland and better than general Computer category earnings nationally. People working as computer systems engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: data analyst programmer, automation engineer, and system engineer.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including twenty-seven within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a computer systems engineer. Computer systems engineers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Columbia 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 Support Specialist. Provide technical assistance to computer system users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone or from remote location. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, and operating systems.
  • 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 Operations Analyst. Determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. Plan and implement network upgrades.
  • 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.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator. Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures.
  • 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

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated four, zero, and ten students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated two, four, and three students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has two to four year, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Information Science/Studies which graduated nineteen, one, eighty-three, and 152 students respectively in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Computer Science which graduated four and four students respectively in 2008.

Capitol College - Laurel, MD

Capitol College, 11301 Springfield Rd, Laurel, MD 20708. Capitol College is a small college located in Laurel, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 701 students and an admission rate of 38%. Capitol College has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, postbaccalaureate certificate and master's degree which graduated two and twelve students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree.

Columbia Union College - Takoma Park, MD

Columbia Union College, 7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. Columbia Union College is a small college located in Takoma Park, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 974 students. Columbia Union College has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Georgetown University, 37th and O St NW, Washington, DC 20057. Georgetown University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,318 students and an admission rate of 19%. Georgetown University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, master's degree which graduated 104 students in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated fifteen and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

United States Naval Academy - Annapolis, MD

United States Naval Academy, 121 Blake Road, Annapolis, MD 21402-5000. United States Naval Academy is a small school located in Annapolis, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,494 students and an admission rate of 14%. United States Naval Academy has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, bachelor's degree which graduated 41 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 16 students in 2008.

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a bachelor's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Information Science/Studies which graduated thirteen and zero students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has 3 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, two to four year, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated fifty-eight, 160, ninety-eight, and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated 106, twenty-three, and eight students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty, four, and two students respectively in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated zero and six students respectively in 2008.

Southeastern University - Washington, DC

Southeastern University, 501 I St SW, Washington, DC 20024-2788. Southeastern University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 753 students and an admission rate of 67%. Southeastern University has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, master's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree which graduated two, seven, and three students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has 3 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated one and 139 students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree which graduated one, ninety-four, four, and ten students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, one, six, and five students respectively in 2008.

University of Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Baltimore, Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, MD 21201-208. University of Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,844 students and an admission rate of 50%. University of Baltimore has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, two to four year and bachelor's degree which graduated zero and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.
  • System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager, two to four year.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated six and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Science/Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated twelve and twenty-seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree which graduated 50 students in 2008.

Bowie State University - Bowie, MD

Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715-9465. Bowie State University is a medium sized university located in Bowie, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,541 students and an admission rate of 85%. Bowie State University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Information Science/Studies.

Strayer University - Washington, DC

Strayer University, 1133 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005. Strayer University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 41,565 students. Strayer University has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Information Science/Studies which graduated eight, fourteen, two, ten, four, and one students respectively in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated three students in 2008.

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has a bachelor's degree program in Information Science/Studies which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Loyola College in Maryland - Baltimore, MD

Loyola College in Maryland, 4501 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210-2699. Loyola College in Maryland is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,080 students and an admission rate of 69%. Loyola College in Maryland has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Computer Science which graduated eight and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD

Coppin State University, 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698. Coppin State University is a small university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,051 students and an admission rate of 36%. Coppin State University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated four students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Information Science/Studies which graduated forty-two, sixty-two, and five students respectively in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has 3 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, two to four year.
  • Information Science/Studies, two to four year, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated zero, twenty-three, eight, and fifty-six students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has 2 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, associate's degree which graduated 71 students in 2008.
  • Computer Science, associate's degree which graduated 44 students in 2008.

College of Notre Dame of Maryland - Baltimore, MD

College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 4701 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210-2476. College of Notre Dame of Maryland is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,935 students and an admission rate of 71%. College of Notre Dame of Maryland has a bachelor's degree program in Information Science/Studies which graduated eight students in 2008.

Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD

Morgan State University, 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251-0001. Morgan State University is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,554 students and an admission rate of 34%. Morgan State University has a bachelor's degree program in Information Science/Studies which graduated twenty-two students 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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.