New major approved at UW-La Crosse

The UW Board of Regents approved the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering at its meeting today.

The UW-La Crosse Computer Science Department recently established an embedded systems emphasis to respond to the growing job demands nationwide. “Interest from both incoming students, and local and national employers demonstrate the need for further expanding the department’s offerings into computer engineering,” says UW-La Crosse Associate Vice Chancellor Sandra Grunwald. “Establishing the program will provide students with both technical breadth and depth in a wide variety of computer systems.”

Grunwald says graduates will be better equipped to develop novel technical solutions to real-world challenges with their ability to engineer computer hardware systems, develop low-level software solutions, and carry out the integration of electrical and physical systems.

Approved by the Board of Regents, the new major must be given the green light by the Higher Learning Commission, the university’s overall academic accrediting agency. If approval goes as scheduled the first majors would start in fall 2020, with the first graduating class expected in May 2024.

The new major is in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job outlook for computer engineers is expected to grow by 5% from 2016-26 and by 10% within Wisconsin alone during the same 10-year span. An search in early September showed 177 full-time jobs for computer engineers — 40 in the Madison area and 99 in Milwaukee — with an additional 160 full-time jobs in the Twin Cities.

Along with market demand, computer hardware engineers have a high earning potential — the second highest among engineering occupations with a mean annual wage of $114,600.

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