Computer Science vs Software Engineering

7 minute read
Computer Science vs Software Engineering

Ever thought about how we are able to make phone calls, and use personal computers and smartphones? Yes, it’s all a mechanical dynamism which takes countless efforts of a Computer Scientist or a Software Engineer to execute their professional skills into scientific innovation. Tech-savvy experts in Computer Science or Software Engineering are well-versed in programming language development, systems software, software architecture as well as application development. While both these areas of study are closely linked, how would one decide which one is better? In this blog, we will do a critical analysis and comparison of computer science vs software engineering and its related components!

What is Computer Science Engineering? 

Computer Science Engineering is a full-time UG degree which is 4 years or 8 semesters long in duration. The field of computer science involves prime knowledge of mathematics, logic and specialized subjects like artificial intelligence, machine learning, security and graphics. The field is growing exponentially with prestigious universities around the world offering a fully-fledged courses in it. We cannot ignore the fact that the field of computer science prepares students with problem-solving skills and research development pertaining to technology. 

Must Read: Computer Science Engineering

What Can You Do With Computer Science Engineering?

Because computer science encompasses the underlying “evergreen” fundamentals of computer systems, programming, and other topics, these professionals may find it easier to adapt and evolve their skills as new technologies emerge.

Some examples of computer science careers with a master’s degree include:

  • (Senior) Product Manager: To land a complex product management role, top tech companies frequently prefer an advanced degree in a technical field. These computer scientists direct a team of engineers in the development of the next big product, application, or innovation.
  • Cybersecurity Architect: Build defences and address vulnerabilities within complex computer systems, protect organisations from an increasing number of online attacks, and manage the teams that secure the systems.
  • Expert in AI/ML: Create and develop machine learning algorithms that allow computers to learn from or adapt to new data.
  • Software Development Director: Manage the entire software development process with enterprises.
  • RPA Developer: Use robotic process automation to design, create, and implement automated processes that maximise efficiency and scale successful initiatives.

Challenges of Computer Science Engineering

Here are some significant computer science challenges:

  • The Internet s infrastructure will need to be updated to match the New Internet.
  • Customers are increasingly using mobile apps, so understanding mobile platforms and cloud services is critical.
  • In 2020. 100 billion objects will be linked to the Internet. Data leaks and the exposure of sensitive information were ranked as the top concerns by professionals.

What is Software Engineering? 

Just like Computer Science, Software Engineering is also a bachelor’s level degree that is divided into 8 semesters or 4 years. Major topics covered in software engineering include project management, quality assurance as well as software testing. This profession provides hands-on experience and an approach to learning the complete life cycle of software and its maintenance. 

What Can You Do With Software Engineering?

Software engineering is a diverse field with numerous career paths to choose from. The speciality you choose is largely determined by the tasks you enjoy, but applications software development and systems software development are two of the most popular focus areas.

Some career paths you can take are as follows:

  • Web developers are in charge of creating websites, writing/updating code, and ensuring that sites continue to work with the latest devices, varying internet speeds, and device types.
  • Mobile App Developer: Mobile app developers use their software engineering skills to create mobile apps, games, and other applications. They can specialise in a single platform, such as iOS or Android, or they can create cross-platform apps.
  • Quality assurance engineers ensure that systems, software, and programmes run smoothly by monitoring for bugs and viruses and implementing solutions to those issues.
  • Database Administrators are in charge of monitoring and managing databases for both private companies and government agencies. Every day, they manage tasks such as data organisation, data recovery, and user troubleshooting.
  • Software Development Applications: Create applications for popular operating systems such as iOS, Linux, Windows, and Android with the goal of creating a fully functional programme for end users.
  • Systems Software Development: Design, build, and support the software and hardware that run those operating systems. This means writing new programmes and finding ways to integrate existing programmes into the system for the end user.

Challenges of Software Engineering

Here are some significant Software Engineering challenges:

  • Because lives are at stake in safety-critical areas such as space, aviation, and nuclear power plants, the cost of software failure can be enormous.
  • Increased market demand for quick turnaround.
  • A variety of software systems should communicate with one another.

Computer Science vs Software Engineering: Subjects

Across most of the universities, 1st-year subjects for both Computer Science and Software Engineering remain the same. As the student gets a hang of what Engineering is all about, specific subjects are introduced into the curriculum. Based on that we have drawn a comparative measure of subjects that are taught in these courses: 

Computer Science Software Engineering
Designing Functional Programs Software Engineering Principles 
Algorithm Design and Data AbstractionIntroduction to Database Management
AlgebraLogic and Computation
Linear Algebra 1Operating Systems
Calculus 1Requirements analysis and specification
Calculus 2Software design
Information assurance and securitySoftware verification and validation
Information managementSoftware Process
Intelligent systemsDigital Computers
Networking and communicationsProgramming Principles
Operating systems
Platform-based developmentElectricity and Magnetism
Parallel and distributed computingChemistry for Engineers
Programming languagesMethods of Software Engineering
Software development fundamentalsAdvanced Mathematics for Software Engineers
Systems fundamentalsStatistics for Software Engineering
Social issues and professional practiceEngineering Economics: Financial Management for Engineers

Computer Science vs Software Engineering: Careers

The field of Computer Science and Software Engineering is truly achieving milestones witnessing its increasing demand in the market. Glance through what are the top profiles in these Engineering courses: 

Computer ScienceSoftware Engineering
Web Developer/ArchitectSoftware Developer
ProgrammerSoftware Manager
Mobile/Cloud DeveloperSoftware Engineer
Software EngineeringTechnical Product Manager
Software Development EngineeringConsultant
Agile EngineerImplementation Consultant
Business Analyst
Developer Advocate
Product Manager

Top Universities

Even though there are differences in subjects and careers pertaining to the field of Computer Science and Software Engineering, the top universities across the world for both these programmes remain constant. Given below are some of the popular universities that can be considered as a great options to study for both of these courses: 

Name of the University Name of the country
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUS
Stanford UniversityUS
Carnegie Mellon UniversityUS
University of California, BerkeleyUS
University of CambridgeUK
University of OxfordUK
Harvard UniversityUS
ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologySwitzerland
University of TorontoToronto, Ontario

Key Differences between Computer Science and Software Engineering

The key differences between Computer Science Engineering and Software Engineering are given below:

  • Computer science is concerned with the design and understanding of computational processes, whereas software engineering is concerned with the analysis, design, construction, and testing of software applications.
  • Computer Science studies how computers perform theoretical and mathematical tasks, whereas Software Engineering studies how software systems are built.
  • If you want to learn about AI and machine learning, you should choose computer science, whereas if you want to learn about how a piece of software functions as a whole, you should choose software engineering.
  • Project management courses are available to software engineering students, and it is frequently included in the computer science curriculum.

Which pays more: Computer Science Engineering or Software Engineering

There are differences in job titles, years of experience, and skill breadth within software engineering. Many positions for programmers and software developers only require a bachelor’s degree and/or practical skills acquired through a certification or Bootcamp programme. Though pay will vary depending on the position and location, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median software developer salary is $110,140.

The median salary for Computer and Research Scientists with a master’s degree in computer science is $126,830. Graduates may have more growth and upward mobility than a programmer, web developer, or software developer, which can increase their earning potential.

Must Read: Trending Courses After Engineering That You Must Consider

Computer Science vs Software Engineering: Which one is better?

The primary distinction between computer science and software engineering is the larger, theoretical model provided by computer science. Learners who want to delve deeply into theories and logic should consider computer science. Students who prefer practical, hands-on work should consider software engineering.

Another thing to think about when deciding between software engineering and computer science is your career goals. Software engineering is a more focused career path, whereas computer science is more general and offers opportunities in a variety of specialisations and industries.

Whatever field you choose, you will need hard work and dedication to break into the job market. Fortunately, in today’s technological age, both fields are in high demand and never have a shortage of job opportunities. Furthermore, the surge in tech job opportunities shows no signs of abating anytime soon.


Which is better software engineer or computer science?

Computer science is superior because it allows you to earn a higher salary, work in a wider range of industries, and find a wider range of jobs. Your career goals and whether your core skills are practical learning or theoretical learning will influence whether you study software engineering or computer science.

Is computer science harder than software engineering?

The curricula for Computer Science (CS) and Software Engineering (SE) are very similar and thus about equally difficult. They should both be fairly difficult STEM degrees at any given college or university.

Which pays more computer or software engineering?

Computer scientists start at around $68k per year and the average salary is around $99k. After a while in the field, you can work your way up to more than $126k. Software engineers earn more than $10k more on average, earning around $81k per year.

We hope this blog helped you draw a conclusion to your Computer Science vs Software Engineering: a better option dilemma. Both the courses are very closely liked to each other and the major differences one can find are in the subjects taught and career pathway. Make a choice based on how you want your future to be.

If you can’t make the decision on your own and need expert advice, then reach out to Leverage Edu and we will help you with it. Book a 30-minute free counselling session with our experts at 1800 57 2000.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *