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Computer Engineer - Federal Salaries of 2020

Pay Rates for "Computer Engineer"

How much does a Computer Engineer in the federal government get paid? $134,501.69* *Based on the 2020 average.

Computer Engineer was the 163rd most popular job in the U.S. Government in 2020, with 1,064 employed. The most common payscale was the general schedule payscale.

In 2020, the Goddard Space Flight Center hired the most employees titled Computer Engineering, with an average salary of $139,616.

Government Computer Engineering jobs are classified under the General Schedule (GS) payscale. The minimum paygrade for a Computer Engineering job is GS-6, and the highest paygrade that can be attained within this job series is GS-15. Remember that the starting and maximum yearly pay listed above reflect base pay only - your actual salary will be higher based on the Locality Pay Adjustment for the area in which you work.

Job Description

Computer Engineers primarily deal with computer systems - hardware and software. They possess the necessary knowledge and skills on electrical engineering and computer science. They mainly design and build computer systems. Computer Engineers are also responsible for testing and refining these systems to ensure they meet the needs of users.

The field of Computer Engineering includes hardware engineering, software engineering, network engineering, cyber security, robotics and artificial intelligence. It offers a wide area of practice and professional development. Most computer engineers are paid using the General Schedule pay scale starting from GS-6 to GS-15 depending on their qualifications and experience.

Most Computer Engineers hold regular jobs although some also work freelance. They are often employed by technology companies. Computer Engineers mostly work in laboratories for research and development initiatives - designing computer systems, developing new technologies and testing different types of computer models. They may also serve as quality assurance analysts. Computer Engineering jobs can be found in all industries including computer manufacturing, semiconductor fabrication, telecommunications, transportation, financial services, pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, media companies, and aeronautics.

A good number of Computer Engineers are employed by the federal government. Computer Engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration research on spaceflight technology. Those in the Department of Transportation research, design, develop, test, evaluate, and maintain the department’s computer systems. Some of the tasks performed by Computer Engineers as part of the Department of Defense include computer system management support, enforcement of proper security procedures and testing the performance and applicability of the department’s data processing system.

Computer Engineering expertise is also needed in the federal government for conducting investigations and analyses relating to computer systems integration, as well as determining technical data specifications of computer systems including costs. Computer Engineers serving in higher positions deal with jobs that often require the application of state of the art computer engineering methodology for scientific image processing, geographic information systems, data archiving and production systems.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 2% growth in employment for Computer Hardware Engineers. This growth is relatively low compared to the average of 8% expected growth across all other occupations. Technological advances mostly occurring with software development led to this low rate of growth in employment for hardware engineers. Nonetheless, BLS is projecting 4,500 job openings for Computer Hardware Engineers every year. Because of the widespread use of electronic devices and the continuous development of technology, the demand for Computer Engineers continues to grow.

A career in Computer Engineering often starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, software engineering and information technology. Academic programs, at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) are the best options for those who intend to pursue a career in this field. These programs often include internships for gaining practical and hands-on experience. As with any profession, career advancement often entails acquiring higher education. The highest-paying jobs in Computer Engineering are often served by professionals with graduate degrees.

Having a Professional Engineer (PE) license poses better employment opportunities for Computer Engineers. Those who seek to offer consulting services benefit from having a PE license. Some professionals may opt to get vendor or professional certifications to widen their scope of expertise. Certifications are available for becoming certified wireless network engineers, Microsoft certified systems engineers, and certified software development professionals.

Agencies that have hired a Computer Engineer

Agency Employees Hired Average Salary
Goddard Space Flight Center 314 $139,615.51
John F. Kennedy Space Center 114 $115,881.25
Federal Aviation Administration 81 $132,624.86
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center 75 $128,792.00
Ames Research Center 72 $158,764.61
George C. Marshall Space Flight Center 69 $122,604.32
Langley Research Center 67 $122,927.88
Internal Revenue Service 52 $157,009.62
John Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field 41 $114,956.12
National Institute of Standards and Technology 21 $145,526.19
Geological Survey 15 $125,931.93
National Institutes of Health 14 $143,317.50
Veterans Health Administration 12 $115,822.50
Federal Bureau of Investigation 11 $158,250.40
Department of Energy 10 $133,369.56
Dryden Flight Research Center 9 $129,645.56
U.S. Coast Guard 9 $132,538.56
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 8 $109,112.13
Office of Secretary of Transportation 7 $138,601.86
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics 6 $159,863.00
National Protection and Programs Directorate 6 $140,967.00
National Telecommunications and Information Administration 5 $148,605.20
Environmental Protection Agency 5 $136,830.20
Department of Homeland Security Headquarters 5 $137,123.00
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 4 $141,729.50
Patent and Trademark Office 4 $159,970.75
Headquarters, Nasa 3 $156,551.67
John C. Stennis Space Center 3 $129,999.67
Smithsonian Institution (Exchange Sep Boards of Trust) 3 $127,965.33
Bureau of the Census 2 $166,265.00
U.S. Agency for International Development 2 $170,800.00
Board of Veterans Appeals 2 $145,886.50
Bureau of Reclamation 2 $113,407.50
Federal Emergency Management Agency 2 $140,096.00
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 1 $147,652.00
National Gallery of Art 1 $125,360.00
National Transportation Safety Board 1 $137,491.00
Agricultural Research Service 1 $112,520.00
Forest Service 1 $81,836.00
National Technical Information Service 1 $157,709.00
U.S. Secret Service 1 $152,215.00
Science and Technology Directorate 1 $166,487.00
Office of Comptroller of Currency 1 $135,190.00

Computer Engineer Pay Distribution

The average pay for a Computer Engineer is $134,501.69. The highest paid Computer Engineer made $197,300 in 2020.

Common Computer Engineer Payscales

Payscale Number of Computer Engineering Employees
GS - General Schedule 938
FV - Federal Aviation Administration Core Compensation Plan 80
ZP - Scientific And Engineering Professional 28
ST - Scientific And Professional 3
SL - Senior Level Positions 3
IR - Internal Revenue Service Broadband Classification And Pay System Positions Only 2
EN - National Nuclear Security Administration Excepted Service Only 1
NN - Employees In The National Nuclear Security Administration's Engineering And Scientific Career Path 1
EJ - The Department Of Energy Organization Act Excepted Service 1
RF - Employees Appointed And Compensated As Special Consultants Under 42 U.s.c. 209(f). Includes Non-citizens Whose 1
RG - Scientists Appointed As Fellows And Compensated Under 42 U.s.c. 209(g). Includes Non-citizens Whose Employment 1
ES - Senior Executive Service 1
GM - Employees Covered By The Performance Management And Recognition System (pmrs) Termination Provisions 1
GG - Grades Similar To General Schedule 1
EV - Federal Aviation Administration Executive Compensation Plan 1
NB - Office Of The Comptroller Of The Currency Only 1

Starting Paygrade: $34,649.00 / year base pay at paygrade GS-6, Step 1
Maximum Paygrade: $146,757.00 / year base pay at paygrade GS-15, Step 10
Category: Professional and Scientific

Other Jobs at the GS-6 Paygrade

GS-6 is the starting paygrade for Computer Engineering jobs. Here are some other Federal Government jobs that can be held by employees at the GS-6 paygrade.

Occupation Occupation Category Starting Paygrade Maximum Paygrade
Mathematical StatisticsProfessional and ScientificGS-6GS-15
Equal Employment OpportunityAdministrative and ManagementGS-4GS-15
PackagingAdministrative and ManagementGS-4GS-15
Library TechnicianClerical and Administrative SupportGS-1GS-9
Language ClericalClerical and Administrative SupportGS-1GS-9

Average Computer Engineering Pay Trend from 2004 to 2020

In 2004, the average pay for a Computer Engineer was $93,323. Since then, the average pay has increased to $134,502 in 2020.

Data Sources

The information provided on these pages is sourced from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) dataset. Postal Service data is managed exclusively by the USPS . All information is displayed unmodified and as provided by the source agency.

Federal employee salaries are public information under open government laws (5 U.S.C. § 552). FederalPay provides this data in the interest of government transparency — employee data may not be used for commercial soliciting or vending of any kind. Learn more about the FederalPay Employees Dataset here.

The series code of this occupation is 0854.

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