Computer science versus software engineering versus computer engineering- Which one should you choose?

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Computer science versus software engineering versus computer engineering- Which one should you choose? 


Students often get confused in choosing between computer science computer engineering and software engineering as their preferred course of study. Although these fields look similar in their initial phase, you will find the difference once you explore each of these fields individually. Suppose you are still to decide which course to pursue your further studies. In that case, you will need to focus on some of the significant differences between computer science, computer engineering, and software engineering. This blog will help you learn the differences between the fields, including the skills you need, career options, and determining the right course for you.


Computer science vs. computer engineering vs. software engineering: Definition

To understand the difference between the three fields, you first need to understand what each of these fields means. Let’s take a look at the definition of each of these fields individually.


Computer science

Computer science is the programming of computers, which involves the techniques and skills needed to make computers work. The study of computer science will teach you about computers and networks and how software programming languages work. Computer science is more theoretical and more flexible in terms of specialization that focuses on math and science.


Computer engineering

Computer engineering is the study to design systems that include both computer hardware and software. It began as a branch of electrical engineering and is still considered as a branch by some. Computer engineering students learn how to develop prototypes, test processors, conductors, or other computer systems components.


Software engineering

Software engineering focuses on designing and building software. A software engineer works with people to develop software, measure, and analyze the software product and software process. The field of software engineering is concerned with applying engineering processes to create, maintain, and design software for various purposes. 


Computer science vs. computer engineering vs. software engineering: Roles and responsibilities


Computer scientists should have an understanding of: 

    • Programming languages such as Java, SQL, and Python.
    • To run, maintain, and fix various operating systems such as Windows and Linux. 
    • Data structures and algorithms.
    • Cybersecurity and cryptography
    • Designing, coding, and testing software
    • Managing and working with computer networks

Skills a computer engineer needs:

  • Understanding of computer hardware and architecture
  • Knowledge of designing coding and testing software
  • Capability to work with a wide range of software
  • Ability to build PC systems and repair device drivers
  • Communication, leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Skills of a software engineer:

  • Computer programming and coding
  • Knowledge of programming languages like Java, Python, SQL, and Mean.
  • Ability to test and debug software
  • Problem-solving and logical thinking skills
  • Communication skills, both written and verbal.

Computer engineering vs. computer science vs. software engineering: Specialisations

Computer science Specialisations

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Data Science
  • Video Game Development
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cyber Security

Computer engineering specializations

  • Hardware Systems
  • Embedded Systems
  • Distributed Computing
  • Medical Image Computing
  • Robotics and Cybernetics
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Computer Graphics And Visualisation

Software engineering specializations

  • Modelling and simulation
  • Network-centric systems
  • Game and entertainment systems
  • Geographical information systems
  • Digital and embedded systems
  • Software security

Computer Science vs. computer engineering vs. software engineering: Job Opportunities

There is not much difference between the opportunities of the three fields. Still, because the competition for the positions is high, students require both degrees and skills to grab an excellent job opportunity.


Career opportunities for a computer science student

Here are some of the most popular computer science jobs:

  • Computer scientist
  • System Analyst
  • Software programmer
  • Data scientist
  • Java Developer
  • Business analyst
  • Web developer

Career opportunities for a computer engineering student

A computer engineering student can make a career as the following:

  • Computer architecture developer
  • Mobile device engineer
  • Systems engineer
  • Quality control engineer
  • Firmware engineer
  • Network engineer

Career opportunities for a software engineering student

  • Applications developer
  • IT consultant
  • Cyber Security analyst
  • Game developer
  • Information systems manager
  • Web designer and developer
  • Multimedia programmer

All this information means that whatever course you choose, there are plenty of job opportunities in the market. The future career aspects of all three fields, computer science, computer engineering, and software engineering, are likely to have massive growth. Freelancing for a consultant position is also a prominent option for all three fields. Due to the booming world economy, organizations are in urgent need of engineers from all fields mentioned. 


Computer science vs. computer engineering vs. software engineering: Salary comparison

The salary depends upon the skills and certification of a student. However, which field gives the most salary is a factor worth considering while choosing the course. 


Computer scientist salary

Fresh computer science graduates may get a minimum salary of $39,000 a year. It depends on their skill set, certification, and continuing education how much their careers grow, and their wages increase. A median computer scientist can earn up to $76205 per annum.


Software engineer salary

Software engineers may expect high salaries. Based on their skill set and specialization, immediate software engineers can earn up to $102,280 per year. A fresh software engineer can earn a minimum of $56,856 per annum. Senior positions require a doctoral or a master’s degree. 


Computer engineer salary

Computer engineers can make an average of $84,825 per year. A fresh computer engineer graduate can earn a minimum of $42,951 per year. With advanced education, experience, and certifications, one can make up to $122,675 per annum.


Computer science vs. computer engineering vs. software engineering: Which one to choose?

So, here comes the deal breaker. Which one of the three fields should you choose as your major? Well, that depends upon your interest as well as your skills. All three areas are highly rewarding, considering salary and development in the field. All branches require a solid knowledge of hardware and computer programming. 

If you are still confused about choosing a program, you can look through the colleges offering these programs. Different colleges offer different programs. You can compare them and see which ones interest you the most. 

If you are into building and programming the entire software when software engineering is the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you are into creating internal processors like RAM, memory, and chipset, you can choose computer engineering. The role of a computer scientist happens before a device software. If you are interested in developing theories and principles and creating encryption solutions and other tech functions, you can go to computer science.


All in all, every field has some similarities and differences. What you choose depends on your self-discipline, abilities, and capacity to learn new concepts.

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