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Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)

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NOC:2147
Occupation:Computer Engineers (except Software Engineers and Designers)
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) research, plan, design, develop, modify, evaluate and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware and related equipment, and information and communication system networks including mainframe systems, local and wide area networks, fibre-optic networks, wireless communication networks, intranets, the Internet and other data communications systems. They are employed by computer and telecommunication hardware manufacturers, by engineering, manufacturing and telecommunications firms, in information technology consulting firms, by governmental, educational and research institutions and in information technology units throughout the private and public sectors.

Job duties:
Computer and telecommunications hardware engineers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Analyze user's requirements, and design and develop system architecture and specifications.
  • Research, design, develop and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware such as microprocessors, integrated circuit boards and semiconductor lasers.
  • Develop and conduct design verification simulations and prototype bench tests of components.
  • Supervise, inspect and provide design support during the manufacturing, installation and implementation of computer and telecommunications hardware.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with suppliers and clients.
  • May lead and coordinate teams of engineers, technologists, technicians and drafters in the design and development of computer and telecommunications hardware.
Network system and data communication engineers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Research, design and develop information and communication system network architecture.
  • Research, evaluate and integrate network system and data communication hardware and software.
  • Assess, document and optimize the capacity and performance of information and communication system networks.
  • May lead and coordinate teams of design professionals in the development and integration of information and communication system architecture, hardware and software.

Computer engineers may specialize in a number of areas including analog and digital signal processing, fibre optics, integrated circuits, lasers, microprocessors, microwaves and radio astronomy.

Sample job titles:
  • computer engineer
  • computer hardware engineer
  • computer systems engineer
  • data communications specialist
  • fibre-optic network designer
  • network specialist - computer systems
  • network systems engineer
  • systems designer - hardware
  • telecommunications engineer
  • wireless communications network engineer
Skills:

You should enjoy problem-solving, be able to think analytically and logically, and be interested in technology and the development of computer systems and equipment. Strong math skills and effective communication skills are both very important. Creativity would also be helpful. Computer engineers may specialize in a number of areas including analog and digital signal processing, fibre optics, integrated circuits, lasers, microprocessors, microwaves and radio astronomy.

Job requirements:
  • Computer engineers require a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical or electronics engineering, engineering physics or computer science.
  • A master's or doctoral degree in a related engineering discipline may be required.
  • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practice as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Engineers are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program, three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination.
Other considerations:

Rapid changes in computer technology mean that people in this field should be prepared to keep abreast of new developments in computer hardware, software, and networking technologies. Supervisory and senior positions in this group require experience. Engineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment and acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to practice in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Computer Engineers (except Software Engineers and Designers) most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 74% of Computer Engineers (except Software Engineers and Designers) who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $72,494. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)360Strong growth80Moderate
Minimum: $21.00
Median: $38.00
Maximum: $45.36
Minimum: $23,700
Median: $59,960
Maximum: $97,893
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)Compared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time99%94%
Percent self-employed29%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentComputer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)Compared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
SouthernN/Ax12%$30,581
Northern5%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton4%x13%$32,974
Halifax82%$66,45247%$41,209
Annapolis Valley9%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeComputer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
15-24xx
25-3447%14%
35-4427%33%
45-5413%32%
55-64x18%
65+7%4%
Median Age4243
GenderComputer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)Compared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Female11%20%
Male89%80%
EducationComputer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx0.7%$28,107
High school5.3%x12.1%$35,125
Trades certificatexx6.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma24.0%x33.7%$52,476
University certificate or diploma2.7%x3.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree40.0%$84,78029.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx2.0%$54,917
Master's degreexx9.7%$37,706
Doctorate24.0%x1.7%$65,565
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%$57,566
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Professional Engineer
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Engineers Nova Scotia
1355 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Y9
(888) 802-7367
(902) 423-9769
info@engineersnovascotia.ca
Useful contacts:
Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia
PO Box 613, Station "M"
Halifax, NS B3J 2R7
Tel: (902) 461-1325
Fax: (902) 461-1321
cens@eastlink.ca
Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Canada
130 Albert Street, Suite 420
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
Tel: (613) 236-0569
Fax: (613) 236-6193
info@acec.ca
Information and Communications Technology Council
116 Lisgar Street, Suite 300
Ottawa, ON K2P 0C2
Tel: (613) 237-8551
Fax: (613) 230-3490
info@ictc-ctic.ca 

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Computational mathematics
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of mathematics to the theory, architecture, and design of computers, computational techniques, and algorithms. These programs include courses in computer theory, cybernetics, numerical analysis, algorithm development, binary structures, combinatorics, advanced statistics, and related topics.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Computer engineering - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of computer hardware and software systems and related equipment and facilities; and the analysis of specific problems of computer applications to various tasks.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Engineering - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to solve a wide variety of practical problems in industry, social organization, public works, and commerce.
See all institutions providing this program+
Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
agi@acadiau.ca
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
admit@stfx.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
registrar@cbu.ca
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Mathematics - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the analysis of quantities, magnitudes, forms, and their relationships, using symbolic logic and language. These programs include courses in algebra, calculus, functional analysis, geometry, number theory, logic, topology and other mathematical specializations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
admissions@msvu.ca
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
admit@stfx.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
registrar@cbu.ca
Program Name:Physical sciences - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the major topics, concepts, processes, and interrelationships of physical phenomena as studied in any combination of physical science disciplines.
See all institutions providing this program+
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Additional resources: