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New Salem - December 10, 2008

Counselor’s Corner


© 2008 Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified Career Counselor
National Certified School Counselor
New Salem High School


Computer Engineering!

What types of things does a computer engineer do?

What are some differences between computer science, electrical engineering & computer engineering?

How much can people with one of these degrees expect to earn?

What should I do now if I want to become employed in one of these 3
occupations?

These were some of the questions answered by Karl Becker last week at New Salem High School. Karl – systems engineer at Rockwell Collins in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa – presented in Mrs. Wardzinski’s Advanced Math and morning Algebra II classes.

Mr. Becker graduated from NDSU in Fargo with a degree is computer engineering. This education qualified him to be a systems engineer at
Rockwell Collins. A beginning salary for a computer engineer is in the $ 50,000. plus category. Most employers also provide benefits including, health, vision, dental, and retirement benefits in addition to salary.

Electrical engineers work more on electrical circuits & equipment.
Computer science graduates do a lot of programming. Computer engineers at Rockwell Collins do both.

Karl described that his work usually follows a 3-step process:
1. Requirements of the customer
2. Designing the physical hardware and software
3. Testing the product to see that it meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements.

Rockwell Collins is primarily an avionics company. They work with both military and commercial aviation.
One of the original inventions of Rockwell Collins that almost everyone has heard of is the global positioning system (GPS). Originally the first one filled a small room. Today with advances in technology a GPS can fit in the palm of your hand as well as be included in some cell phones.

Campus Visit
Karl also recommended that students visit with an advisor in their major area during a college visit. This advisor can provide students with insights not only about the college program but also employment expectations. He said it sure helped him his senior year in high school.

Teamwork
Mr. Becker indicated he has likes and dislikes about his job. He likes working with and being around intelligent individuals and if he works late at night, he can come in later the next morning. He doesn’t like to work with people who aren’t team players. He said his employer wants to hire and retain team players.

Stay Cool & Calm
Mr. Becker stressed that his supervisor and employer want employees who are in control of their emotions – even during difficult times. That means not exploding or getting angry at work even when one is in a difficult situation with a client or co-worker.

He added that students could work on this now by controlling their emotions. An example he gave is if you get home later than what you should have and one of your parents get on your case about it you should listen. Do not appear angry. Do not storm off. Instead listen, keep a cool head, and try to work things out.

He also recommended that students practice this not only at home but also at school, activities, on the job, etc.

Although you may feel all stressed out inside and ready to emotionally exploded inside, stay cool and calm on the outside. Also, focus in on the other person and listen intently. Speak when it’s your turn and don’t interrupt when someone else is talking.

Karl also mentioned that some of the technology shown in the cockpit of aircraft in “Blackhawk down” and “The Guardian” were developed at
Rockwell Collins. He was proud and excited about those parts of the movies.

(See the New Salem Journal for the photo)

Thanks to Karl Becker for taking vacation time to come to New Salem High School to provide some career insights and information for interested students. Also, thanks to Mrs. Holly Wardzinski for allowing Karl to speak to her students in some of her classes.

If you have any questions on careers, counseling, or assessment topics, please contact me at either New Salem High School at 843-7610, or at my residence at 222-3222.