The computer and information technology industry is flourishing. As a result, qualified experts are in high demand, with many of these positions requiring a degree in computer science or computer engineering.
However, determining which field is better for you at the outset of your career can be difficult. These are two quite distinct industries, so learning more about the difference between computer science and computer engineering is essential. We’ll go over everything you need to know about these fields to assist you in making your decision.
The Main Differences Between Computer Science And Computer Engineering
Some may ask if computer engineering and computer science are the same or how they differ. Well, the main difference is that computer engineering is concerned with the design and testing of software, hardware, and networks using engineering concepts.
On the other hand, computer science considers both the theoretical and practical aspects of computing. These two fields differ in other aspects, including education, specializations, career paths, roles and responsibilities, and the salaries available for both professions.
While computer science and computer engineering degrees have similar curricula and are both excellent options for a successful tech career, there is one significant distinction to be aware of. In computer science, it is expected to study various programming languages and how to interact with operating systems and databases. In comparison, computer engineering focuses on problem-solving and creating hardware and software interfaces. Now it is time to look at the requirements for each field.
Computer science education requirements
For anyone who chooses to pursue a career in computer science, here are the requirements needed
- Bachelor’s degree in computer science, specializing in computer vision and/or machine learning, or equivalent practical experience.
- Experience with low-level software development is an advantage.
Computer engineering education requirements
If you are considering taking on a computer engineering career, here are the minimum qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience.
- Experience with software development using one or more programming languages or experience with an advanced degree.
- Experience with data structures or algorithms
Now that we have an overview of the differences between CS and CE and the necessary qualifications to pursue a career in each field let’s take a look at the possible specializations that each offers.
Computer science specializations
Big data analytics, business entrepreneurship, and game development are just a few of the specialties available for computer science. When you study computer science with a focus on big data analytics, you’ll use your computer science, mathematics, and statistics skills. To build a solution, you will apply your knowledge to examine the problem and establish scientific approaches. Finally, you will learn how to use and develop methodologies and software solutions that assist businesses in achieving success with big data.
Computer engineering specializations
Because of their work and technical skills, the demand for computer engineers has grown. Creating and optimizing memory devices, networks, and circuit boards are skills most required by employers. Therefore, choosing the right specialization is very important. Some of the professions available are
- Mobile device design
- Embedded systems design
- Microprocessor design
- Academic research
- Proprietary research
Computer science career options
Depending on your interests, skills, and aspirations, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science can qualify you for various professions. Some of the career options for computer science include computer programming, hardware engineering, software development, systems management, web developer, software engineering, database administration, IT architecture, and many more. The good news is that most IT-related occupations are both fast-growing and well-paid, regardless of the career path.
Computer engineering career options
The number of career paths one can take in computer engineering is increasing because of the continuous rise of technology and the need to improve it constantly. This is what makes CE such an attractive field.
But as much as it can be helpful to have so many options, it can also be confusing when deciding to choose one. To try and help you with that decision, we have listed the following possible career paths:
- Big data engineer
- Machine learning engineer
- Data scientist
- Data analyst
- Blockchain developer/engineer
- Software developer
- Computer network architect
- Computer systems analyst
- Database administrator
- Information security analyst
Roles and responsibilities
Considering your career goals is the best technique for choosing the best path for you. Computer science, for example, is the perfect fit for those who are interested in cybersecurity or systems administration. In contrast, computer engineering can be a good choice for those interested in hardware development.
Whether you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering, you will undoubtedly be prepared for a career as a software architect or developer.
What does a computer scientist do?
Computer scientists are needed to solve problems and create new products through experimenting and modeling, analyzing, experimenting, and researching technical domains. These domains include artificial intelligence, robots, and virtual reality, to improve the performance of existing computer systems and software by developing new hardware and computing techniques and materials. Any computer science position will most certainly require working as part of a research team alongside programmers, IT specialists, and software engineers.
What does a computer engineer do?
There is a race to develop the latest computer hardware technology that is the most sophisticated, quick, and influential. The computer hardware engineer is responsible for this. Computer engineers are responsible for evaluating, designing, and maintaining computer hardware and software systems. Computer processors, circuit boards, and network systems are developed, tested, and designed by these professionals who also assist in the evolution of computer technology by resolving difficulties or concerns with the hardware or software.
According to the data collected by Glassdoor, future computer scientists and engineers have a bright job outlook. Still, do not think it will be easy because the competition for decent jobs is fierce, and classroom knowledge is insufficient. You should invest in your career early to stand out from the crowd: hunt for internships, participate in research projects and learn on your own.
Computer science salary
With the right educational qualifications and a few years of experience, a professional computer scientist earns an average of CHF 90,288 per year. This can alter as one progresses through the ranks.
Computer engineering salary
A professional engineer is estimated to earn CHF 7,546 per month, where additional payments are included. On the other hand, a professional engineer can earn up to CHF 10,668 per month, depending on their educational qualifications and experience.
The tech industry’s market outlook is improving due to its ever-changing nature. Qualified experts are supposed to have little trouble finding work in their fields. As a result, now is a good time to think about pursuing a career in computer science or computer engineering.
Computer science market outlook
Switzerland’s fifth-largest economic sector, accounting for about 5% of the country’s wealth, is computer science. And this is merely the start. Therefore, computer science must keep up with demand in many areas like transportation, health, energy, business, and data security. With that being said, the need for qualified professionals in computer science in Switzerland is increasing.
Computer engineering market outlook
Switzerland, as one of the world’s wealthiest countries, must concentrate on generating high-quality software in order to contribute to the global economy. To do so, qualified professionals are required. As a result, technology and informatics graduates should have no trouble finding work as developers, project managers, or even solution architects.
Should You Study Computer Science or Computer Engineering?
Anyone interested in learning about the software side of computer technology should pursue a computer science degree. With this degree, students will be prepared to specialize in software systems, artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, and video game creation. A degree in computer science can lead to work in any business building apps and systems.
Computer engineering graduates may pursue careers as computer engineers, computer architecture developers, or network engineers. Mobile device engineering, sustainable “green” energy, game hardware design, and user interface design are all sub-disciplines of computer engineering. If you’re interested in computer hardware and developing systems from the ground up, this is the right degree for you.
Our Final Thoughts
Still can’t decide between computer science and computer engineering? In the end, it will come down to your interests, skills, and professional objectives. Both disciplines give you the chance to develop creative solutions to real-world challenges. So, which is better, computer engineering or computer science? In this instance, there is no such thing as ‘better.’ It depends on what you see yourself focusing on and if you like working with hardware or software. They both lead to prosperous and secure jobs, but which is preferable depends entirely on you.