Is Computer Engineering Hard? Get Answers Here

Computer Engineering combines electrical engineering with computer science, two of the hardest majors. Therefore, we can conclude that computer engineering is hard.

But, considering interest and strength, students will have different levels of difficulty.  If you find math and physics easy, and you have an inclination towards computers, you should be able to cope.

The truth is that since computer engineering contains many advanced math courses and technical engineering concepts and practicals, it takes a lot of effort to be successful.

Find out what makes computer engineering difficult, among other things.

Why is computer engineering so hard?

Engineering courses are both theoretically and practically intensive, and CE is no exception. Students must apply both mathematical and technical principles to solve complex problems.

Some of the reasons why computer engineering is difficult are highlighted below:

1. Difficult quantitative courses

At a basic level, the engineering disciplines offer similar but slightly different courses during the first two years of university.

During these times, students must learn the fundamentals of engineering, which involves complex courses in mathematics, physics, and science.

Calculus, differential equations, advanced data structures, Introduction to algorithms and programming, electricity and magnetism, etc., are some of those courses. Students describe data structures and programming as two of the most challenging courses they encounter at college.

Therefore, you must be prepared to tackle advanced math and engineering concepts.  You must also be prepared to spend a long time studying to have a chance of success.

2. Challenging technical courses

After teaching students, the basics, they move on to complex technical subjects.  Students take courses in operating systems, system security, embedded applications, and network software.

The challenge with these courses is that they are highly theoretical and understanding the fundamentals can be cumbersome. Students may also have to work on projects to demonstrate their understanding of the course.

Not only that but CE majors are also required to take well-known electrical engineering courses that involve rigorous lab courses and confusing concepts.

3. Master practical skills and theoretical knowledge

The theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to become proficient in computer engineering can be very difficult. However, students must find a way to do this, as both are important for employment.

To do this, you must spend time not only reading, but also practicing in the lab. Unlike subjects in the humanities, cramming doesn’t work when studying engineering courses.

You need to understand the fundamentals and concepts, which will require countless hours of reading and re-reading.

4. Requires critical thinking and attention to detail

In general, engineering majors require quick thinking and a high level of attention to detail.  As a computer engineer, you have to consider many factors and be able to quickly improvise a better product or solution.

For example, computer engineering, which focuses on software engineering, uses programming languages, frameworks, databases, and servers to create products.

This activity requires a high level of attention to detail and the ability to provide quick solutions to problems. Successfully developing network systems, and testing, and maintaining computer software also require a lot of mental work.

Computer engineering vs Computer science: Which is harder?

Computer engineering focuses on computer hardware and optimizing hardware for different applications by understanding the interaction between software and hardware.

On the other hand, computer science is the study of automation, information theory, computing, and computer algorithms. Since CE combines hardware and software, it is harder than computer science.

Computer engineering involves more mathematics, including practical-intensive electrical engineering courses. Compared to CE, computer science requires fewer lab practicals and physics.

Computer engineering vs Electrical engineering: Which is harder?

Computer engineering is derived from electrical engineering, but it is an interdisciplinary field.  So it can be hard to really tell which of the two is the most difficult.

Electrical engineering itself is very difficult, and students learn abstract mathematics such as partial differential equations, as well as abstract concepts such as electronic circuits and radio transmission.

Although CE students must also study many of these concepts and math topics, it is not as math intensive as EE. Electrical engineering also involves more rigorous practices than CE.

In the end, what matters most is your area of ​​interest and passion. If you are interested in working with various circuits and wiring systems, electrical engineering may be easier for you.

Conversely, if you want to specialize in computer hardware and software, then you will prefer to study CE.

Is computer engineering stressful?

Yes. Like other engineering degrees, you need math and technical skills, and you must be prepared to work hard no matter what difficult course you may be dealing with.

However, working as a computer engineer may provide you with a good work-life balance, especially if you decide to work as a freelancer.

Jobs such as software and network engineering can be done remotely or in a mix, giving you plenty of time for other important areas of your life.

Is computer engineering worth it?

If computer engineering is so hard, why study it? Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking this course:

1. Growing demand

The demand for computer engineers is constantly increasing and will not stop as long as technology advances. Companies need computer engineers to manage the design, management, and improvement of their computer hardware.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2020 to 2030, software engineer jobs will increase by 25%, network engineering jobs by 4%, and hardware engineering jobs by 5%.

With the rapid growth of cloud computing and VoIP, job prospects are sure to increase.

2. Competitive salary

The average salary for computer engineers is $128,170 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the good thing is with more experience, you will definitely enjoy better rewards.

The highest earners earn more than $208,000 annually while the lowest earn less than $77,100. Apparently, a degree in computer engineering can afford the opportunity to be among the highest salary earners.

3. Diversity of career options

Computer engineering graduates can work as software engineers, hardware engineers, or network engineers. This gives them the opportunity to work in different industries, whether in health, business, finance, or technology.

Banking institutions can hire computer engineers to design and manage networks to protect their customers’ financial information. They can also be used in healthcare to develop patient scheduling software.

Computer engineers can also work independently as freelancers or in combination with part-time jobs to make more money. Some other career opportunities for computer engineering graduates include:

  • Telecommunication engineer
  • Computer hardware system designer
  • Computer hardware database developer
  • Security expert
  • Artificial intelligence designers and developers
  • Tech support
  • Business systems analyst

4. Job Satisfaction

Computer engineering is an adventurous field that involves critical thinking and problem-solving. It’s not rigid as you will often go from one project to another throughout your career.

In this way, you can open new horizons, meet new people and create solutions to real-life problems. Not to mention, the salary is also very good.

This is a dream for many, and becoming a computer engineer can provide you with such an opportunity.


Can you be a computer engineer if you’re bad at math?


Computer engineering is math-intensive, so it requires that you are good at math to excel in it.

Is computer engineering the hardest major?


While CE can be difficult, other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering, are even more difficult.

Can you become a computer engineer without a degree?


You need a bachelor’s degree to become a computer engineer.

Final Thoughts

Computer engineering is a hard subject, but with a lot of determination, you can pass and excel in it. However, it requires you to be good at math, physics, and science.

If you want to improve your math, the article on how to develop your math skills can help you deepen your understanding of the subject. Students who are not interested in math and science can read the article on interesting humanities subjects and careers for them.

To top it all, if you’re looking to improve your grades, you should learn tips on how to learn faster and be more productive.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.