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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Systems Engineers in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for computer systems engineers. About 13,760 people are currently employed as computer systems engineers in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow 39% to 19,160 people employed. This is better than the national trend for computer systems engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 30.4% over the next eight years. 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.

Computer systems engineers earn approximately $46 per hour or $95,670 annually on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $44 hourly or $92,430 yearly. Incomes for computer systems engineers are better than in the overall category of Computer in Washington, and better than the overall Computer category nationally. Jobs in this field include: wide area network engineer , e-business manager, and information management technologist.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Seattle 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 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 Seattle 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

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering.

City University of Seattle - Bellevue, WA

City University of Seattle, 11900 NE First Street, Bellevue, WA 98005. City University of Seattle is a small university located in Bellevue, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,489 students. City University of Seattle has a bachelor's degree program in Information Technology which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Puget Sound - Tacoma, WA

University of Puget Sound, 1500 N Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416. University of Puget Sound is a small university located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,829 students and an admission rate of 65%. University of Puget Sound has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated two students in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a one to two year program in System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager which graduated three students in 2008.

DigiPen Institute of Technology - Redmond, WA

DigiPen Institute of Technology, 5001-150th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052. DigiPen Institute of Technology is a small school located in Redmond, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 869 students and an admission rate of 40%. DigiPen Institute of Technology has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering which graduated three students in 2008.

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 4 areas of study related to Computer Systems Engineer. They are:

  • Information Technology, bachelor's degree which graduated 35 students in 2008.
  • Information Science/Studies, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-seven and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree which graduated 43 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.