If you’re looking to branch out on your own as a computer engineer, this guide will help you get started by answering the following questions:

  • How can I become a computer engineer?
  • What businesses can a computer engineer start?
  • How does Countingup help me manage my business finances?

Computer engineering is all about evaluating, designing, and maintaining computer software and hardware. As a computer engineer, you spend your days developing and testing anything from computer processors and circuit boards to network systems. But what businesses can a computer engineer start? Keep reading to find out.

How can I become a computer engineer?

To begin your career, you typically need a computer engineering degree, which combines electrical engineering and computer science courses. You need both qualifications to become a computer engineer. 

You could potentially start a computer engineer business with a degree in a related subject like computer science or just electrical engineering. Some students also enhance their skills by combining their degrees with internships to have work experience when they graduate.

Alternatively, a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) in computer science or engineering will allow you to enter the workforce sooner. These courses will enable you to gain hands-on experience while pursuing your goal to become a computer engineer.

What businesses can a computer engineer start?

Once you have your qualifications and are ready to start your career, think about the kind of computer engineering you would like your business to offer. We’ve listed the main businesses a computer engineer can start below:

Computer repair

One popular option regarding small business ideas for computer engineers is to offer repair services. If you target companies for your computer repair services, you can bring in more business than if you only serve individuals. Large companies experiencing computer malfunction or a complete network crash could risk losing thousands of pounds if they don’t get the system working quickly.

These organisations will need a computer expert to get the system back up and running as quickly as possible. As a self-employed computer engineer, you could offer emergency services where you arrive on the same day to deal with the situation. You could possibly charge higher business rates for this service since you might need to reschedule another repair to deal with the emergency issue.

You can easily get started with this type of business as long as you have the repair skills and experience, a company vehicle and tools to run your daily operations.

Computer cleaning 

While you’re repairing clients’ computers, you could also offer cleaning services, so the machines are spotless when they get them back. 

People pay to have their computers cleaned by a professional because they worry they might damage the computer if they attempt to clean them. However, as a computer engineer, you know the ins and outs of computer hardware and software. Therefore, you know how to clean computers without damaging filters, hard drives or other parts of the machine. 

Computer cleaning services might not be the first option that comes to mind, but they can be a great add-on to your service package.

Computer upgrading

Most computers are not cheap to come by, which is why people may choose to upgrade the ones they already have to save money. However, most people have no idea how to upgrade their computers beyond the automatic software upgrades where they click a button, and the computer does the rest.

This is where your expertise as a computer engineer comes in handy. You could offer computer upgrading services and charge clients for tasks like:

  • Adding a new disk drive to the system
  • Installing more memory into their computer’s hard drive
  • Replacing a hard drive
  • Replacing external parts like screens, keyboards, trackpads, and speakers.

Upgrading services can be an easy way to get started. If you offer a mobile service where you drive to clients’ homes, you can save money on shop rent and increase your service area. Check out our guide called how to claim mileage in your Self Assessment to learn how to save money on trips you make to clients.

Web and software development

If you have expertise surrounding coding, website development, and other software-related tasks, you might consider starting a business that offers these services. In today’s digital world, more and more professionals choose to start online businesses. 

While several website building tools are available (like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace), some people may want a unique design and layout. You could offer web and software development services to build and design websites from scratch, tailoring them to your client’s requests. 

You could also offer customers app and software development, designing apps and programs for entrepreneurs who have a great idea but lack the coding skills to make it a reality. These people will need you to bring their vision to life.

E-commerce store

If the options we’ve mentioned are too technical for your taste, you could consider opening an e-commerce business where you sell computers and computer parts. You can use your skills and expertise to recommend the most suitable options to customers. 

To stand out from other retailers, you could focus on a niche like gaming computers and accessories or refurbish previously owned tech to sell to customers at a reduced price. The best way to get this service off the ground is to partner with other retailers selling new and second-hand computer systems and equipment. You could, for example, deliver and install the products they sell. 

Now that you know what businesses a computer engineer can operate, we hope you feel inspired to branch out on your own and start your own business. If you worry about the financial aspects of being self-employed, Countingup is the perfect tool to take that stress out of your mind.

How Countingup helps computer engineers manage their finances

Countingup is the app that automates time consuming bookkeeping for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

It’s a two in one business current account with built in accounting software. With the Countingup app, you can create invoices in seconds, get notifications when you’re paid, and receive automatic invoice matching so that you don’t have to worry about bookkeeping admin.  

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can get back to doing what you do best. Find out more here.