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Computer engineer

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Summary of occupation

Computer engineers are responsible for designing, installing and repairing computers and associated equipment - known as peripherals, which includes printers and scanners. They work with both hardware and software, determining the best combinations to meet an organisation's requirements. They can create new products if none currently exist to meet particular needs. They are often directly involved with installing computer systems, including joining individual computers and peripherals to a shared network. Computer engineers may also provide training to other staff members in how to use a system.

ANZSCO description: Computer engineers are responsible for designing, installing and repairing computers and associated equipment, such as printers and scanners.
Alternative names: Systems Engineer
Specialisations: Hardware Design Engineer, Software Engineer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A computer engineer needs:

  • good communication skills
  • a logical approach to problem solving
  • to be able to work both independently and as part of a team
  • an interest in electronics and computers
  • to keep up-to-date with technological advances.
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Working conditions

In Western Australia, the majority of computer engineers work in offices located in the Perth metropolitan region. They may work in-house looking after the IT system for a sole organisation, or they may work as consultants, for a number of clients. Work hours can vary depending on employers, and may include evenings and weekends in order to carry out work on the system without disrupting regular business activities.

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Salary details

Graduate computer engineers, classified under IT, telecommunications and electronics engineers, can expect to earn approximately $961.54 per week ($50 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.​

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Tools and technologies

Unsurprisingly, computer engineers spend the majority of their time working with computer systems. They work on both the software and hardware aspects of these systems. Overseeing software can involve developing new specialist programs or using existing programs for a variety of planning and maintenance tasks. Hardware can include setting up the system, installing new components, such as hard drives, into individual computers and running the network cables that allow the computers and peripherals to communicate with each other.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a computer engineer you usually need to complete a degree in engineering with a major in computer engineering.

​Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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