From cell phones to hair dryers and treadmills to solar panels, almost every consumer device and industry or business sector you can think of relies on expertise from the field of electrical and computer engineering. With a current focus on hardware, processors, and digital circuits, electrical and computer engineers make a difference in the world with contributions in the areas of medical devices, robotics, aerospace, energy, communication, computers, bioengineering, optics, data storage, displays, smart vehicles, automotive, material processing, manufacturing, technical sales, and many more.
As an electrical and computer engineer, you could develop technology to improve gas mileage and vehicle safety, support realistic, 3-D gaming, protect personal privacy by securing electronic health records and financial information held by banks, or streamline manufacturing processes. You could also design or sell electronic equipment, surgical devices, or even unmanned autonomous vehicles.
Curious about the classes you'll take as an electrical and computer engineering major? Have a look at the sample undergraduate curriculum.
CU students get a strong foundation in the fundamentals, as well as extensive elective courses that allow each student to specialize in a specific interest area. Areas of specialization include electromagnetics and wave propagation,optoelectronics, digital signal processing and communications, power electronics, solid-state materials and devices, controls, and computer engineering. Curricular options in biomedical engineering and renewable energy and power electronics also are available. Electrical and computer engineering undergraduates gain hands-on experience through extensive laboratory components within the curriculum as well as undergraduate research projects, NASA-funded design and build projects through the Space Grant program, Earn-Learn apprenticeships, internships, and co-op positions in industry.
The department hosts the Colorado Power Electronics Center and the Center for Environmental Technology, as well as the following research groups: biomedical engineering, communications and signal processing, computer engineering, dynamics and controls, electromagnetics, RF and microwaves; nanostructures and devices, optics and photonics, power electronics and renewable energy systems, remote sensing, and VLSI/CAD.
Electrical and computer engineers work for a wide range of manufacturers, computer and data processing service firms, engineering and business consulting firms, and governmental agencies in jobs ranging from design engineer to technical sales. CU graduates are employed at such companies as General Electric, Micron Technology, Emerson Process Management, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Space Systems/Loral, Fluke Networks, and SparkFun Electronics, to give only a few examples.
About 20 percent of CU-Boulder engineering bachelor’s graduates (college-wide) continue onto graduate school, gaining admittance to top schools such as MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Electrical and computer engineers are expected to have a slower than average growth rate with employment growth projected to be about 2 to 4 percent through 2018. No data is available yet on the new emphasis in energy. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The average salary nationally for an electrical and computer engineering graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2010 was $61,360; CU-Boulder graduates reported an average starting offer of $63,870.