If you are deciding between majoring in computer engineering or finance, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Most finance jobs|
require longer working
hours than most computer
Can qualify for a number
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
|A very employable|
High average pay.
High job satisfaction.
Can qualify you for many
roles as well as engineering
Lower predicted job growth
for computer hardware
engineering when compared
with software engineering roles.
Source for computer engineering average pay and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars. Whereas, the hourly rate for a computer engineering major is reported as being $26.55. This is likely to be a reflection of the longer working hours that finance jobs require despite having similar salaries to most computer engineering jobs.
With that being said, computer engineering is a particularly well-performing degree right now. When compared with most other degrees, a finance degree usually comes out on top in terms of pay. A finance degree also has a high ceiling in terms of potential pay for senior-level positions.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. With that being the case, a degree in finance will usually be less difficult than a computer engineering degree which will involve more math-heavy classes.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Micro and macro economics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
Things to consider
If you choose to get a degree in finance, it would help a lot to consider what types of finance jobs you are most interested in so that you can optimize your classes accordingly.
Many people that are able to get a high paying job immediately after graduating with a finance degree, usually will have completed internships during the summer breaks. So, it would help a lot to try to get one or two internships completed while you are in the major during the summers.
It could also help to get a minor in a field that is related to the types of jobs that you are interested in. Often, finance majors find themselves in roles that involve a lot of accounting, so getting a minor in accounting could be very useful.
Details about the computer engineering major
Below are some of the key details about the computer engineering major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is $87,240. As mentioned above, this is higher than the average pay of people with finance degrees.
According to the BLS, it is predicted that computer hardware engineering will only grow in demand by 2% by 2029.
However, a computer engineering degree involves a lot of computer science. This means that you can qualify for software engineering roles and other computer science-related roles. The predicted growth for software engineering is 22%. This is probably because it is much cheaper to start up a software company as opposed to a hardware company. With that being the case, it would likely help you a lot to make sure to take a number of additional computer science classes in your electives.
Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering includes:
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
Something to consider is that the more research-based roles will usually require at least a master’s degree.
Computer engineering includes a number of math classes including linear algebra, calculus, discrete math, and differential equations. Also, many of the classes on the engineering side can be difficult. This means that computer engineering is not an easy degree and you will have to devote a lot of time studying.
Examples of the types of classes that you can expect to take can include:
- Calc 1,2, and 3
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Linear algebra
- Circuit analysis
- Introduction to electronics
- Digital electronics
- Signal processing
- Embedded systems
- Algorithms and data structures
However, the classes can differ a lot depending on the university. Some will require you to take more electrical engineering classes while other universities will require more computer science classes.
Usually, data structures and algorithms are required classes in computer engineering but not always. These are important classes for software engineering interviews. If the program you enter does not require these classes, it would help to take them anyway.
Things to consider
On average the required classes will be 50% electrical engineering and 50% CS. However, some universities will be much heavier on electrical engineering while others will be a lot heavier on computer science. It would help to consider what you are more interested in and to take that into consideration when applying to universities if you are not already in university. If you are already in university, you could still take electives from the side that you are more interested in. Alternatively, you could major in CS and minor in electrical engineering or major in electrical engineering and minor in CS.
While computer engineering is a degree that can qualify you for many jobs at just the bachelor’s level, a master’s degree can also help you a lot when getting more research-based engineering roles. If you are interested in the more research-based roles, it would help to consider whether or not a master’s degree would be worth it for you.
Reasons to choose a computer engineering major
A computer engineering degree is currently considered as being one of the best degrees available in terms of job opportunities, pay and life satisfaction. With that being the case, choosing a computer engineering degree would likely suit you well especially if you are interested in software as well as engineering computer hardware.
If you major in computer engineering, it will still be possible for you to enter finance if you also get a finance minor which should allow you to be almost as competitive as people with a finance major for finance jobs.
Reasons to choose a finance major
While the job prospects won’t be as good as a computer engineering major, a finance major is still rated as being one of the best paying degrees to get at the bachelor’s degree level. If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well (although the tech startup world could also suit you well which is suitable for competitive computer engineering majors). Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior-level positions can pay very well.