Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering: What Degree is Right for You?

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Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States indicate that science, computer, engineering, mathematics, and information technology (STEM) are growing higher than other fields. This sector’s job marketing is projected to expand by 12% from 2018 to 2028, meaning computing and IT are becoming the country’s hottest career paths. 

Computer science or computer engineering degree-based skills continue to be demanded in many industries across the country. In 2016, LinkedIn suggested that computing is the leading source of America’s new wages, with a 16% contribution ahead of management, sales, and healthcare. 

Since STEM offers many career opportunities, the debate between computer science vs. computer engineering rages on. Student from both sides defend their course and prowess, but what do facts show?

If you are divided between pursuing a computer science degree or a computer engineering degree, you should know that any computer-related degree is a promising investment. Nevertheless, you still would wonder:

  • Since the IT industry is huge, which degree should you pursue?
  • What is the difference between computer engineering degrees and computer science degrees?
  • Can you study these courses online?
  • Between computer science and computer engineering, which one aligns with your goals, talents, and interest?

Every student considering these programs does well to find answers to these questions and make wise decisions. This guide will provide you with the major differences between these two programs to help you find answers to questions that matter. 

What is Computer Science?

When pursuing a computer science degree, you will mainly study computers and computational systems. Computer scientists focus on how software and software systems corporate and work harmoniously. Students in these classes rely on theory, development, design, and application. 

What is Computer Engineering?

Though a degree in computer engineering also teaches theory and application, it is mainly focused on computer hardware than software. This field combines computer sciences and electronic engineering. 

When we talk about computer hardware, we mean memory chips, microprocessors, data storage devices, output devices like printers, and networking components such as routers, modems, and switches. 

Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering: The Main Differences

Though some people use these terms interchangeably, they are different in various ways. One thing that is common between computer engineering and computer science- they are centered on technology and revolve around information systems and computers

For instance, students pursuing both degrees are expected to learn basic skills such as testing software and coding. However, do not let this overlap deceive you into thinking they are the same. 

A degree in computer engineering teaches students computer design and development. On the other hand, a computer science degree emphasizes computing theory focusing on algorithms, cyber security, and networks. 

Therefore, if you love designing interfaces or handling and fixing computers, you could pursue a degree in computer engineering instead of computer science. However, if you are fascinated by software, data analysis, and computing theory, a computer science degree would be the best fit for you. 

If you are still unsure which course to take, you can compare computer engineering and computer science coursework to determine if their majors appeal to you. Ask for this coursework from your preferred University or check them on the institution’s website. You may realize that your understanding of what a course involves is different from what is on the ground!

Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering: What Courses Are You Likely to Pursue?

Though different institutions have varied curriculum for engineering majors, we present you with the general overview of courses you will likely pursue between computer science vs. computer engineering. 

Possible Computer Science Courses:

  • User interface design
  • Cloud computing
  • Operating system design
  • Game theory
  • Data Algorithms
  • Data analysis
  • Data security programming

Possible Computer Engineering Courses:

  • Game hardware design
  • Electronic circuit design
  • Digital signal processor
  • User interface design
  • Microprocessor design and interface
  • Mobile device engineering

Benefits of Studying Computer Science or Engineering

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in CS or CE has many benefits. Some reasons include: 

Opportunity to work from home – With many corporations reducing office presence to remote work, statistics show that approximately 10% of remote workers are in the IT industry. If you dream of conveniently working from home, consider a career in IT. 

Promising career opportunity – The BLS shows that the IT and computing industry will create over half a million job openings in the American economy in the next decade. 

Diversified job opportunities – As the world becomes technology-dependent, every industry needs a computer expert or tech guru. As a CS or CE graduate, the skills you acquire allow you to work in different fields, including communications, marketing, healthcare, graphic design, gaming, education, etc. 

Your Career Options After Graduating 

Computer science or engineering bachelor’s or master’s degree qualifies you for various job opportunities depending on your skills, interests, and goals. The best thing is that regardless of the course you pursue, you have several opportunities along the way and high paying. 

Here Are Some Job Examples and Salaries:

Computer Scientist – This job involves writing and programming applications software and building computer models for various devices. According to the BLS, the median pay for a computer scientist is $126,830 every year. 

Software Developer – This job entails designing computer applications and programs.  You could earn as high as $110,140 per year. 

Web Designer – Companies need a web designer to create and test websites as they give attention to usability and layouts. On average, they are paid $77,200 annually. 

Computer Engineer – As a computer engineer, you are tasked with researching, developing, designing, and testing computer systems and components. The average salary is approximately $119,560. 

System Engineer – This job involves assessing computer systems and resolving issues from the design or upgrade of the system. Payscale shows that a system engineer’s annual salary is approximately $80,300 per annum. 

Network Engineer – This position involves designing, installing, and maintaining digital communication within an organization. The annual salary averages $84,810. 

Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering: Which Degree to Study?

Choosing the correct degree will largely depend on your interest, natural inclination, goals, and talents. Computer science focuses on software, while engineering deals in hardware. Computer engineering or computer science degrees promise good remuneration regardless of your choice. 

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