Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

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Jodox
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Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Jodox » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:52 pm

Like the title says, looked at like tons of sites but all the same stuff, saying their both basically the same and stuff. Anyone know the differences and which would be better for a computer programmer.

EDIT: Computer Science VS Software Engineer*
Last edited by Jodox on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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hark
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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by hark » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:56 pm

Computer science deals more with the software whereas computer engineering is more about the hardware. So overall computer science is better suited for a computer programmer. It doesn't hurt to get more knowledge about computer hardware, though.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Jodox » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:55 am

Oh sry, I meant software engineer. For my Uni, I would go into that after taking comp engineering.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by DMB2000uk » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:34 am

I think Software Engineering is the better of the two in terms of giving you real use of a range of programming languages while also showing you good practice and form in creating the code.

It also does more than just show you how to code, with a big emphasis on the whole process of development (the 'life cycle', from a users requirements right through to maintenance of the program). Even if you end up in a job that only has to take the design and implement it (i.e. purely coding), knowing how they came up with the design from requirements etc can be pretty useful.

Now I don't have any first hand experience with the Computer Science degree route but from what I can gather online, it seems to be more based around "What can be (efficiently) automated?". No doubt the degree will have areas that will overlap with the SE route, but it looks like it focuses more on theoretical stuff, and doesn't give you the more well rounded approach to development that SE does.

Plus, there are lots of jobs about at the minute (I know that can all change by the time you'd have finished a degree, but lets hope not) that specifically request "software engineers" rather than "computer scientists" so I think you'd do better off choosing the SE route.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Illuminati » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:18 am

Dan may be on to the difference, but I will say that when I got my Computer Science degree, we did touch on just about everything Dan listed for the SE degree. So I will say there is a justification for those that say they are 'pretty much the same'. However, while I don't know for sure, I could see a Software Engineer having a better understanding of how to structure their code and source files than a Computer Scientist, but it will vary from college to college. It's hard to say.

Now, once I got in the 'real world', most companies have a promotion path where you go from a 'Software Associate' to 'Software Specialist' to a 'Software Engineer'. Now it doesn't really matter which of these two degrees you have, because by the time you reach a 'Software Engineer', your performance and knowledge will be evaluated by the company during employee review periods to determine if you qualify to hold the 'Software Engineer' title. So at the point where you might think it matters, it really doesn't as experience, training and performance within the company will become the primary determining factors for the promotions.

Have you come across any colleges that offer both degree programs? If not, I'd be willing to bet that colleges consider them the same then... in which case, they are probably considered the same even to employers.
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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by hnzw_rui » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:56 am

At my university (Philippines), Computer Science (CS) is more suited for computer programming. Computer Engineering (CoE) focuses more on hardware - circuit design, etc and you're more likely to deal with low-level programming languages - C, C++, assembly, etc. Our CoE curriculum isn't that much different from the Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) course. It's actually easier to double-major in CoE and ECE because those two courses share more subjects than CoE and CS do. CS is a lot more math-heavy than CoE. They also have network infrastructure and IT admin subjects not offered to CoE majors.

The distinction probably differs based on your specific college so I suggest you consult with a college advisor or something.
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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Jodox » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:10 pm

Thanks for the info, prob going with CS since the courses are easier and the computing involved is similar.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by kenc51 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:10 pm

Computer Science is very broad subject. I know a lot of people who have degrees and they all say its pointless.
You learn a little about everything to do with computers and come out knowing very little about everything.

They all said they should have done a course in something more specific.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by hark » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:47 pm

I guess it depends on how the program is structured, but I'm finding it fulfilling. Then again, I'm taking quite a few software engineering courses (that aren't required for my program) so maybe that's how I'm getting my focus.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Sporg » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:25 pm

Could you do a minor in something more specialized? Nothing wrong with having a broad background and then specialize in something you are more interested in.
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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by Major_A » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:37 pm

kenc51 wrote:Computer Science is very broad subject. I know a lot of people who have degrees and they all say its pointless.
You learn a little about everything to do with computers and come out knowing very little about everything.

They all said they should have done a course in something more specific.
Honestly that is most degrees. Unless you are majoring in an actual science (biology, chemistry, etc...) or a specific discipline (history, math, etc...) then they are all broad. For my marketing degree I had to take 4 upper level marketing courses (jr/sr) and other upper level electives to complete my degree. So what exactly did I learn in marketing? Hard to say because that was some years ago and marketing is changing all the time. But I do have that piece of paper on the wall even if I can't find a job.

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Re: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Post by kenc51 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:54 am

Major_A wrote:
kenc51 wrote:Computer Science is very broad subject. I know a lot of people who have degrees and they all say its pointless.
You learn a little about everything to do with computers and come out knowing very little about everything.

They all said they should have done a course in something more specific.
Honestly that is most degrees. Unless you are majoring in an actual science (biology, chemistry, etc...) or a specific discipline (history, math, etc...) then they are all broad. For my marketing degree I had to take 4 upper level marketing courses (jr/sr) and other upper level electives to complete my degree. So what exactly did I learn in marketing? Hard to say because that was some years ago and marketing is changing all the time. But I do have that piece of paper on the wall even if I can't find a job.
For the most part yes and in most cases people don't know what they want to do when starting college, so Computer Science would allow them to get a broad idea of IT so they can then specialise later on.

To be honest, a Degree is a Degree. Most employers dont care about what the degree is in, just that you have one.
I work in IT and know a lot of people who also work in different areas, programming, security, sys admins, network admins etc. They all say what they learned in college was for the most part pointless.
People always do things their own way, until they start a job and have to do it their way as every company has their own structured way of doing things.
All the sys admins I know weren't allowed to touch anything in the racks for the first year (unless it was just to do the grunt work, patching etc)
It's the same for the programmers, non of their code "makes it in" without someone else more senior having a look over it first. In fact even the senior coders have their work scrutinised by the security team and the "change control board"(peers) before it's ever deployed.
My point is, there's always tons of safety nets in a job and 90% of people learn what they really need to know when in the job.
This is coming from someone who has never gone to college or doesn't even have a cert (yet), but I've been working in IT for over 10 years and in the past ~2 years work very closely with sys admins etc. so I have seen this first hand.

Don't get me wrong, you should go to college. I'm a prime example of why you should. I'm 30 and still looking for that opening to get into a junior admin position :roll: :)

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