Difference between Electrical and Computer Engineering

How can electrical engineering and computer engineering be different if computers are powered by electricity?

It’s a good question, and like defining the distinctions between mechanical and electrical engineering, the answer is quite complex. Although the sciences of electrical engineering and computer engineering are distinct, there is a large amount of overlap in their roles and areas of study. Although both fields are equally technology-focused, lucrative, and fascinating, they are not interchangeable in the way you might expect.

Electronic engineering and computer engineering are parallel professional pathways that share many job responsibilities, educational prerequisites, and skill sets. Each discipline’s engineers learn the fundamentals of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science. We’ll go over all you need to know about electrical engineering vs. computer engineering to help you comprehend the differences—and similarities—between the two.


Electrical engineering and computer engineering are specialized divisions of the engineering profession, as their names imply. Thus, they have as a common objective the use of science in the planning, construction, upkeep, and improvement of things.

What they design, construct, maintain, and enhance is the key distinction between electrical and computer engineering.

Computer hardware and software are the main areas of concentration in computer engineering.

Computer engineers frequently collaborate closely with software developers since the field lies at the confluence of computer science and electronic engineering. In light of this, computer engineering does entail some programming, but the emphasis is still on practical work.

It’s also crucial to remember that in modern society, the term “computer” refers to much more than just your laptop or desktop computer. As smart gadgets become the standard, they are all built with integrated computers, from pacemakers to cars, and computer engineers are inevitably engaged in their design.

The study and application of everything that is powered by electricity, on the other hand, is known as electrical engineering. Computers are included in this definition, although it doesn’t only apply to devices that handle data. Electrical engineering is the study of devices that produce or use electricity.

In the end, you can see electrical engineering and computer engineering as forming a kind of Venn diagram. Although the two disciplines frequently work on similar projects or to achieve similar goals, their methods of doing so are different.


Computer Engineering Responsibilities

Building and testing computer components is the most “conventional” task for a computer engineer. Other duties include making sure that the right software is compatible with these parts.

Therefore, well-rounded computer engineers also dabble in computer programming and software development. Graduates in computer engineering may produce user guides for novices or do testing to enhance embedded systems for businesses.

Computer engineers must have a comprehensive understanding of computers and their components regardless of position.

Electrical Engineering Responsibilities

Electrical engineers will design and test a variety of embedded electrical systems, from communications equipment to spacecraft, among other things. Their work necessitates in-depth familiarity with motors, power generation, circuits, and some software.

Electrical engineers are also more likely to visit job sites to assess and resolve technical issues in the field. Since meetings with clients to discuss projects are more frequent, electrical engineering work can generally be more public-facing than computer engineering.

Comparing Salaries

Earnings for Computer Engineering

Degrees in computer engineering can be used for a variety of careers that require both hardware and software skills, and the majority of them pay well. Among the numerous positions you can apply for are:

Computer Hardware Engineer – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual compensation for all computer hardware engineers is $119,560. The bottom 10% of earnings, who are typically entry-level employees, can make up to $70,000 annually (BLS).

Software developers and quality assurance analysts – According to the BLS, the median yearly compensation for engineers is $110,140, and even the lowest 10% of engineers make $65,210.

Computer Systems Analyst – According to the BLS, starting salaries typically range between $56,000 and $93,370 annually.

Earnings for Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers typically earn a competitive wage regardless of where they work—in the field, in a lab, or in an office. Here are some wage data for some common jobs:

Electrical and Electronics Engineer – According to the BLS, the median annual compensation for electrical engineers is $100,830, with the lowest paid electrical engineers earning $64,870 annually.

Aerospace Engineer – According to the BLS, engineers who work on the electrical systems of aircraft can make a median annual salary of $118,610, with entry-level pay hovering around $72,000.

Electrical Engineering Technologist – These technologists make a median annual pay of $67,550, according to the BLS, making them one of the few electrical engineering positions that typically just require an associate’s degree.

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