Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: You’re confused, right? Which degree to study in 2021?
You have a passion to study computer in detail but then you’re not sure which is better between computer science and computer engineering.
Should you choose computer science which focuses more on software? Or study computer engineering that focuses on hardware and firmware?
The confusion probably stems from the fact that both courses have almost close job opportunities and are all difficult to study.
You’re now wondering whether you should study computer science where you will be focusing on the theory of computation or choose computer engineering and study how to build devices.
You’re in the right place.
In this computer science vs computer engineering comparison guide, college essay writing service is going to compare the two fields to help you make the right career decision.
We will objectively compare the two programs in terms of job opportunities, salary, scope, and focus, etc. to help you decide which program is better for you.
So without further ado, let’s get rolling.
Table of Contents
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Overview
If you’re considering studying a computational degree program, you must know the similarities and differences between computer science vs computer engineering. This will help you to pick a computational program that’s suitable for you.
In this in-depth guide, we’re going to see how these two programs differ, and everything else you may want to know before you decide whether to pursue a career in computer science or computer engineering.
Generally, computer science is more of computational theory than practical. For instance, you’re going to dwell a lot on coding where you will deal with data, statistical models, algorithms, etc.
You’re going to learn how to create algorithms that help to accomplish complex tasks effectively.
On the other hand, with computer engineering, you’re going to learn how to build devices such as smartphones, integrated circuits, etc.
Most schools combine these computational degree programs into one department.
That’s why it’s important to understand which one is better for you by learning the similarities and differences.
That’s where most people get confused and overwhelmed.
Don’t worry because this article is going to help you out with this.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is Computer Science?
To understand which is better between computer science vs computer engineering, it’s important to learn what the two terms mean.
As stated earlier, computer science focuses more on the theory side of computers than the practical. It’s less hands-on.
The program focus on software and a little bit on hardware.
This program teaches how to apply theoretical ideas to solve real-world problems.
Courses offered in this program include operating system principles, software engineering, analysis of algorithms, etc.
Computer scientists learn how to use computational theory, math’s, and data structures to write codes that help to solve complex real-world problems.
Often, computer scientists pursue careers in web design, machine learning, software engineering, UX design, and other software related careers.
What is Computer Engineering?
Computer engineering is more hands-on. As a computer engineer, you’re going to learn how to build devices so basically, you’re going to learn how the build computer components.
Generally, this degree program combines computer science, physics, and electrical engineering.
If you’re looking to learn how devices work and apply the knowledge to build something out of that, computer engineering would make the best degree program for you.
Often, computer engineers learn how to bind the laws of electronics and physics to build better computer devices.
You’re going to spend more time at the lab learning and building devices, unlike computer science where you focus on writing code.
A computer engineering degree covers multiple topics from physics to computer architecture and computer networks.
You’re going to cover program topics like software design as well because programming skills are necessary for this degree program.
As a computer engineer, you can decide to pursue a career in life sciences, robotics, aerospace, etc.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Courses Offered
The difference between computer science and computer engineering starts with the courses offered in the two computational degree programs.
Computer Science Courses:
Let’s take a look at some of the courses offered in Computer Science Program:
1. Analysis and design of algorithms
As a computer science student, you’re going to learn how to analyze and design effective algorithms based on the theory of computation.
You’re also going to learn how to write code that help to solve real-world problems effectively.
2. Introduction to operating systems
In this course, you’re going to learn how operating systems manage and execute code to effectively run software programs.
Some of the topics you’re going to study include resource management and distributed services, process and thread management, etc.
3. Software Engineering
In this course, students learn how to apply computational theory to real-world problems by design software programs. Topics covered include software design, testing, and development, etc.
4. Data analysis
Here, students learn the tools and skills as well as the application of statistical methods using computational methods. Topics covered include processing and presentation, data creation, storage, etc.
Computer Engineering Courses:
Here are some of the courses offered in Computer Engineering Field:
1. Electric Circuits
This course covers the basic concepts of electronic systems. Students are taught how to build practical circuits and basics concepts of computer architecture and integrated circuits.
2. Calculus III
In this course, students learn techniques that help to describe and forecast natural and physical occurrences.
Students learn the fundamentals of physics.
4. Waves, Optics, Thermodynamics
Students are taught how to apply calculus to determine the mechanics and results of waves and other natural related occurrences.
Often, students are taught how to compute the strength of waves, apply the laws of thermodynamics, and learn practical physics experiments.
5. Electricity and magnetism
This is an introductory course to physics and covers electromagnetic occurrences and the way they affect the world. Students are taught how to forecast, define, and understand these world occurrences.
6. Digital logic, machine design
In this course, students learn how to use electrical circuits to execute reasonable operations. Students are taught how to design and create circuits that can be integrated into computer systems.
7. General physics
In this course, students are taught the fundamentals of physical occurrences such as motion, work, particles, gravitation, etc.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Skills Obtained
Students who study degrees in computer science and computer engineering will obtain the following skills:
- Writing effective code.
- Designing practical algorithms.
- Efficient data management.
- Expertise in top programming languages and fields.
- Effective design of useful software.
- Knowledge of theory of computation.
- Software development project management.
- And many others.
- Building efficient and functional devices and computing systems.
- Designing assimilated circuits.
- Designing computer architecture.
- Designing microprocessors.
It’s worth noting that, there are must-have skills one needs to develop to succeed in computer science and computer engineering. The skills apply to both skills.
To become a computer scientist or computer engineer, you need to develop the following abilities:
- Problem-solving abilities.
- Critical thinking.
- Analytical thinking.
- Technical writing.
- Attention to detail.
These skills are essential to help computer scientists and engineers discover new and efficient solutions that improve security, speed, and make devices more power-efficient.
You must have seen how new devices come with advanced features that are more secure, much faster, and energy-efficient than older models.
Here is a real-world example of how experts in the two fields work.
With Android smartphones and iPhones, computer engineers are responsible for testing and building the motherboard, the RAM, etc.
They also enable the way the components interact with the operating systems of these devices by developing the firmware.
Software engineers, on the other hand, are responsible for the development of operating systems. They also add or take out features, and fix bugs and security vulnerabilities.
Software engineers are also responsible for creating applications and programs we use such as the ones inside your smartphone or the browser in which you search for information on the internet.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Job Opportunities
Both computer degrees offer great career opportunities. As more companies continue to adopt the use of technology, the demand for specialists in the two fields continues to increase.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer scientists is going to grow by 16% and that for engineers by 6% by 2028.
As a computer science graduate, you can expect to become a software developer, programmer, web designer, network and database design administrator, etc.
Generally, one is required to have a deep understanding of the theory of computation and how one can apply the knowledge to solve real-world problems.
As a computer engineer, you can expect to work with companies that deal with robotics, telecommunication systems and devices, and other technologies.
As a computer engineering graduate, you can become a hardware engineer, software engineer, network engineer, or electrical design engineer.
It’s also important to understand that as the demand for specialists in these two majors grows, the competition also gets insane.
It’s not easy to land a job easily even with the increased job opportunities. Besides, you have to go the extra mile aside from the knowledge you get from class to stand out from the crowd.
For instance, you need to participate in research projects, pursue internship opportunities, and learn more things aside from the knowledge you obtain from class.
Well, of course, the demand for software specialists is still higher so graduate computer scientists and engineers can expect to start working in software positions.
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Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Salaries
According to PayScale, the average annual salaries in the US for computer science graduates are as follows:
- Data Scientist- $96,100
- Business Analyst- $68,350
- Computer Scientist- $77,143
- Java Developer- $79,100
- System Analyst – $66,244
- Web Designer- $50, 584
- Software Programmer- $76,500
On the other hand, salaries for graduates in computer engineering are as follows:
- Mobile Device Engineer- $91,700
- Computer Engineer- $92,000
- Quality Control Engineer- $44,400
- Computer Architecture Developer- $85,750
- Network Engineer- $72,350
- System Engineer- $77,750
- Firmware Engineer- $98,250
Note that the salary scale keeps on changing as the demand for the jobs continues to increase.
As you can see, the future for computer scientists and engineers is bright.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Higher Education Opportunities
As a rule, when deciding which program to choose between computer science vs computer engineering, you need to put into consideration the options you have when you want to further your education.
You don’t want to get stuck after completing your bachelor’s degree.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you can major in technology for your master’s degree particularly information system and security, artificial intelligence, database, etc.
Computer engineering graduates can advance their studies in the area of computer engineering to increase their salary earnings.
Computer engineering graduates can also take robotics, product development, computer networks, etc. in their master’s program.
Of course, if you’re looking to cut down on cost, you may consider taking an associate degree in computer science.
Normally, an associate degree in computer science takes 2 years, unlike a bachelor’s degree that takes 4 to complete.
It’s also a bit affordable in terms of tuition costs and you can do part-time studies.
However, you will need to work extra hard for you to stand out among bachelor’s degree graduates in computer science if you take an associate degree.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Specializations
Different universities offer different specializations in case you want to major in a specific area.
Let’s take a look at the sub-disciplines/specialization areas of the two programs below:
Sub-disciplines in this field include:
- Cloud Computing.
- Artificial Intelligence.
- Data Science.
- Human-Computer Interaction.
- Video Game Development.
- Machine learning.
- Robotics and Cybernetics.
- Hardware Systems.
- Computer and Network Security.
- Computer Graphics and Visualization.
- Distributed Computing.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Similarities
Given that both fields use computers when it comes to solving real-world problems using data and human interaction, there is no denying that the two fields have some similarities.
Generally, the two programs rely upon each other to create and develop products.
Any device you use whether in your laptop or car has been developed and tested by a combination of computer scientists and computer engineers.
When it comes to creating devices for use in business, experts in both computer science and computer engineering must work hand-in-hand.
After all, hardware without software is like a car without an engine. And to integrate the two components (hardware and software) computer scientists and engineers must work together.
Choosing which program to study can be challenging, but both options lead to greater job opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, computer science focuses entirely on programming and designing complex and efficient algorithms. So, basically, it’s more software-based than hardware.
On the other hand, computer engineering focuses on building good computer components and making sure the components can work together efficiently. So, it’s more hardware-based than software.
Generally, when deciding which program to study, it’s important to consider your preferences, and what you want to become in the future.
If you like solving problems, math, or other things to do with the application of computational theory then computer science would be the best option for you.
If you prefer working with tangible components then is your best bet.
As a rule, you shouldn’t study a program without conducting prior research on it.
Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Why Study Computer Science?
From the cars we drive to the games we play and the moves we watch, computer technology is applicable in almost every aspect of our lives.
In the 21st century, without the knowledge of computers life can be hard and challenging.
Computing can help you become a problem-solver and this can give you an edge in the workplace.
Here are some of the reasons why you should study computer science:
1. The demand for computer science graduates is high
Computer science students have higher chances of getting full-time employment after graduation.
Even though the competition in the job market is insane, it’s easier to land a job and good pay when you study computer science.
2. You can become a freelancer
The freelancing world is booming. Given that computer science focuses on writing codes, it’s easier to become a freelancer and earn good money.
Think about the many websites, mobile applications, and other elements that require programming and you can rest assured of a ton of freelancing opportunities once you graduate with a degree in computer science.
3. You learn to become a problem solver
Some computer science courses require you to develop software that helps to solve problems.
Learning how to solve software issues and fixing bugs as well as coding issues will prepare you to become a problem solver in your future career. Besides, the patience you nurture as you solve software problems prepares you to become an important person in your future career.
4. You become creative and innovative
Computer science is more than just programming. Computer scientists build software solutions that help to solve real-world problems.
Think about all the platforms we use daily. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. All these platforms help to solve problems.
In the past, connecting with our family and friends used to be a challenge.
Thanks to social media, we can now chat and connect with friends, share photos, etc. This is all due to the creativity and innovativeness of people who studied computer science.
5. Plenty of future opportunities
The internet is evolving. What used to take almost an hour to download can be downloaded in just a few seconds thanks to computer science graduates who help to transform the internet.
For computer science majors, there is a ton of future opportunities than one might think.
6. Computer science is growing
From schools to hospitals, to the gaming industry and app design, the market for computer science majors is limitless.
The demand for computer science graduates increases as the markets continue to expand.
Computer Engineering vs Computer Science: Why You Should Study Computer Engineering?
Studying computer engineering exposes you to a world of great opportunities.
Here are some of the reasons why you should become a Computer Engineer:
1. Great job opportunities
Every day new technology companies are coming up. From Intel to HP to Apple, just to mention a few, there is a ton of job opportunities for computer engineers. Besides, you can focus entirely on programming, become a programmer, and deal with all aspects of systems.
2. Better pay
Computer engineering opportunities pay extremely well. For instance, a report published in the best essay writers UK blog suggests that systems analysts, hardware engineers, programmers, network architects earn a median salary of anywhere from $82,000 to $150,000 per year.
3. Job Security
The demand for computer engineers keeps on increasing and there are no signs that it will go down any time soon.
That means that computer engineers have great job security.
The job growth rate for computer engineers is about 6%.
4. Opportunity to travel the world
Computer engineers have no limits when it comes to where to live given that all major cities in the world have big tech companies that require computer engineers.
You can choose to become an information security consultant where you educate companies on how to safeguard their data and information. This allows you to travel and work with different companies worldwide.
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Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Which Degree Program is Better in 2021?
As stated earlier, computer science focuses on software whereas computer engineering focuses on hardware and firmware.
So, in a nutshell, which is better between computer science and computer engineering depends on your career goals and whether you prefer to work with tangible things or you’re a theory person.
All fields lead to lucrative and secure jobs. Besides, they are both difficult fields. So, if you’re looking to enjoy college life, computer engineering and computer science aren’t your majors.
We hope up to this far you have known the similarities, differences, and other things between computer science vs computer engineering.
Use this article to help you decide which field to study.
Charlie Svensson is a computer scientist who offers college paper writing services to students in the UK. He is also a skilled content writer and blogger who loves sharing useful information in the areas of computer science and computer engineering. Besides, Charlie works with top essay writing services.