The pros and cons of life as a Computer Engineer
Going into any new field can be scary, but when it comes to CE, you’re in relatively safe hands.
Some of the questions we get asked all the time are:
- What’s your daily week look like?
- How many vacation/sick days do you receive each year?
- Rate your job satisfaction from a 1-10 and why?
- Would you recommend someone to pursue this career? And why?
- Is it easy to lose your job as you get older?
The answers for all of these questions are usually on the positive side of things. But once you’ve got the job, is it everything you’d expect? Let’s get into that.
What life looks like as a Computer Engineer
What does your daily week look like?
This varies for every person and every department. Realistically, every week is going to look different—some weeks you’ll code, others you’ll research, others you’ll test new software, it really all depends.
If you’re someone who likes structure and knowing what you’ll be doing every day, this could be a challenging adjustment. But if you enjoy switching up routines and keeping things interesting, this is the job for you.
How many vacation/sick days do you receive each year?
You may initially get quoted with something like “10 sick days, 15 vacation days, 12 holidays, and 5 personal days” (which is actually really great). But this is just the kind of formality they need to get on paper.
In actuality, as long as you get your work done, the majority of modern companies will be incredibly flexible with you.
Salary is always going to be a main attractor for talent.
It’s quite common to find an entry level position in the 80K range. From there, it’s only up-up-up.
Why would we recommend someone to pursue a career as a Computer Engineer?
If you’re someone who enjoys working with tech, engaging your brain, and are willing to adapt to new tasks and technology, this is a great career for you.
On top of that, job security, high salary, insurance benefits, and practically unlimited PTO are all incredible benefits that come with this job.
If you have what it takes to become a CE (see section: What’s your daily week look like), this is absolutely a career path you’ll want to explore.
Is it easy to lose your job as you get older?
To the contrary. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to become a subject expert. Once you’re at subject expert level, you pretty much have all the pickings.
Rate your job satisfaction from a 1-10 and why?
We scraped answers from similar questions to this from Reddit and the average rating came in around 8.
This was a combination of the variety of work, a very healthy salary, and job security.
A word of caution
While everything we’ve highlighted makes a job in CE seem like a no-brainer, just remember that not everyone works the same way.
Being a computer engineer means constantly learning. Even though you may have years of experience, you will never have all the answers. There will always be new problems to solve.
Some people enjoy working on puzzles, others hate it.
If someone offered you 80K/year right now to work 8 hours a day on a puzzle that never ended, would you take the job?
If you took the job and hated it in 5 years, you just lost 5 years worth of investment in yourself. Run the numbers to see if this metaphorical 5 years compensated you adequately for the experience you would have gained, and the position you would be in had you invested your time into another career path. This is also called opportunity cost and be included in your future calculation.
Our thoughts on life as a Computer Engineer
Obviously we’re biased here as we are in the field and loving it, but if you’re a problem solver that loves new challenges, a career in Computer Engineering is something you have to look into.
And when (sorry, if ;) ) you get into the field, you’re going to need a nice table topper for your desk, and what better than this gem, Computer Engineering for Babies.