Computer and Electronics Technology

Plug into the computer and electronics technology field by starting with a certificate or degree.

What is Computer and Electronics Technology?

Electricity, robotics, networks, hardware and circuitry are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to computer and electronics technology.

This evolving field requires intricate knowledge and vast technical skills. The job encompasses everything from repairing defective parts to preparing cost estimates. Computer and electronics engineering, which requires a certain level of schooling, involves design and development. Writing specifications and drawing diagrams are also important skills for the job.

A career in computer and electronics technology means working with a wide array of customers and colleagues. Many days are spent troubleshooting or providing help to others, no matter what industry.

Who Should Get a Computer and Electronics Technology Degree

Instead of simply using your smartphone, laptop or table, do you prefer to spend your time finding out how it all works?

If you’re fascinated by how technology operates from the inside out, a computer and electronics technology degree can give you the answers and turn into an exciting career path. Computers and technology will continue to evolve and technicians, technologists and engineers are at the forefront of the latest developments.

Traits & Aptitudes

A fascination with technology is the first step toward a career as a computer and electronic technician. Here are the traits you’ll need to succeed.

Communicative

Know when to use technical or non-technical lingo with colleagues and customers.

Observant

Attentiveness and a keen eye ensure accuracy and leave little room for error.

Analytical

Use your knowledge to solve problems that don’t have easy answers.

Problem Solving

Make sense of intricate parts and identify a solution.

Writing Skills

Deliver valuable information in the form of manuals and other documentation.

Communicative

Know when to use technical or non-technical lingo with colleagues and customers.

Observant

Attentiveness and a keen eye ensure accuracy and leave little room for error.

Analytical

Use your knowledge to solve problems that don’t have easy answers.

Problem Solving

Make sense of intricate parts and identify a solution.

Writing Skills

Deliver valuable information in the form of manuals and other documentation.

Degrees in Computer and Electronics Technology

Electronics technicians and engineers deal with intricate hardware parts and complex logic every day. Even if you have basic knowledge of how different computer gadgets work, a degree or certificate can solidify your expertise and prepare you for a wide range of careers.

Each education level is designed for students with a specific goal. Interested in entering the workforce sooner? A certificate might be your best bet. Are your long-term sights set on engineering? A bachelor’s or master’s can set you in motion.

Online Degrees in Computer and Electronics Technology

Online degrees in computer and electronics technology let you skip the hassles of getting to campus, providing you more time to focus on what’s important. Certificates are commonly offered on-campus because much of your learning will be hands-on. However, some online options are available.

Associate’s and bachelor’s degree can be earned online or in a hybrid format, which means you’ll head to campus for some of your classes or laboratory work.

How It Works

Before enrolling, investigate the type of online experience a school provides its students. Take a look at a program curriculum to determine if you’ll be focusing on areas you’re interested in. Is the course delivery system easy to use?

Some programs offer modules that contain coursework, videos and other learning materials. You’ll be able to access these on your own schedule, and, once you complete a module, you’ll move to the next one. Other computer and electronics programs are synchronous which means you’ll be expected to log in at certain times for live lectures.

Interested in hearing from other students? Online classes typically have a discussion board where you can post questions, ask fellow classmates for their opinions and exchange thoughts. Your instructors will also provide you with the best method to reach them and many hold office hours where you can discuss your progress.

Benefits

From work to family and everything in between, today’s students are balancing all kinds of commitments. You might wonder how you’ll possibly add school to the mix. That’s where an online computer and electronics technology program can help.

Need to study once the kids are in bed? Have a few minutes while waiting at soccer practice? An online program gives you the opportunity to complete coursework on your schedule. Another perk: Without a commute to campus, you can spend more time putting the final touches on your latest assignment.

Don’t expect to get off easy just because you’re earning your degree online. Computer and electronics technology programs are equally, if not more, rigorous than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. You’ll have reading assignments and exams. You’ll also be expected to apply concepts you learn to your homework.

Why Get a Degree in Computer and Electronics Technology?

Potential Career Paths

With a specialized certificate or degree in computer and electronics technology, you’ll be equipped to take on roles as a computer service technician, electronic laboratory technician or electrical and electronics installer and repair specialist.

With a degree in engineering, the potential career paths include technical consultant or electronics engineering technologist.

Job Outlook

Armed with a computer and electronics technology degree, you’ll be qualified for a number of career paths. So which ones show the most promise?

Computer support specialists are expected to see faster than average job growth (12 percent) through 2024 while employment for computer, ATM and office machine repairers is expected to see slower than average growth (4 percent). Demand for electrical and electronics engineering technicians and computer hardware engineers is expected to grow at a faster rate.

Salary

Many factors, such as degree level and career path, contribute to the salary you can earn in the field of computer and electronics technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, computer support specialists earn a median annual salary of $50,380.

Job Advancement

Computer and electronics technology can offer career growth potential. Entry-level technicians can build on their existing skills and boost their education credentials. With this additional knowledge, there’s more opportunity to move into a technologist or engineering role. As computers and technology continue to shape our world, there is likely to be plenty of opportunity to advance in your career.

Educational Paths

Certificates

You have a knack for repairing electronics, but need more expertise to make it a career. A short certificate program gives you the skills you’ve been looking for.

Program Length

Depending on the complexity of the program, certificates can take between five and 12 months.

What You’ll Study

If you hear the words “amplifiers,” “diodes” or “logic circuits,” you must be in a computer and electronics technology class. Certificate programs provide you with entry-level knowledge in computer hardware, digital electronics, basic electronic procedures and integrated circuit techniques.

For those who love to fix problems and work with their hands, a certificate may help you find a career as a computer support technician. Specialize in repairs of computers, entertainment systems or ATMs.

If you opt for an on-campus program, your hands-on learning will happen in labs. Instructors will demonstrate how tools and parts work by taking them apart and putting them back together.

Online programs are comprehensive and explore the fundamental concepts in topics such as electricity and circuitry.

You can also expect to take courses in computer hardware and software.

Associate’s

Prepare for entry-level positions with an associate’s degree or use it as a foundation for further education in the future.

Program Length

Associate’s degrees are designed to take approximately two years. But online programs may allow you to finish sooner.

What You’ll Study

With an associate’s degree in hand, you’ll be qualified to work as a computer and electronic technician in a number of industries. Many technicians choose a specific path, such as information technology or personal electronics.

Radio and telecommunications, biotechnology, microtechnology, chip/component production and equipment manufacturing are other popular industries for computer and electronic technicians.

Bachelor’s

A combination of theory and practice, this undergraduate degrees offers a comprehensive education that prepares you for the real world.

Program Length

Bachelor’s degree programs, with their combination of general education and career-specific courses, typically last about four years.

What You’ll Study

A bachelor’s degree is designed for students who want a hands-on career with an emphasis on project leadership that goes beyond repair work. Most curriculums focus on teaching students critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Because the education is more advanced than an associate’s or certificate, you’ll find that many bachelor’s degrees focus on the electronics engineering aspect of the field.

Your technical skills and analytical mind are needed for electrical or electronics engineering technician and technologist positions. In many instances, you’ll work closely with engineers.

Many school curriculums include lab work that will give you the hands-on skills crucial to success in the field.

Bachelor’s courses generally include digital electronics, microprocessor design and technical writing.

Master’s

Advance your career or simply improve your skills with graduate-level study. A master’s degree prepares you for a leadership or engineering career.

Program Length

Full-time students can often complete a master’s degree in under two years. Depending on the course load, part-time study lasts between two and five years.

What You’ll Study

Looking for a professional or engineering degree? You’ll come across both types of master’s programs in the computer and electronics technology field. Now you just need to decide which path to take.

Career paths for engineers are varied and your exact job duties will depend on the industry you work in. You may design products if you work for an electronics company or you may play an instrumental role on the electronics team of an automaker.

A professional degree can also prepare you for managerial roles for all types of employers. For instance, you lead a computer engineering team at an electronics company or help develop a health record system for a hospital.

Master’s courses in electronics engineering generally include computer networks and computer communication.

Master’s courses in computer technology generally include computer hardware, network security and project management in a tech environment.

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