Thursday , January 28 2021

Computer Science vs Computer Engineering – What’s the Difference?

Many people have mistaken computer science and computer engineering to be similar discipline. Well, the truth is that they’re quite distinct, however, both also have similarities. In this article, you’ll learn the differences and similarities between computer science and computer engineering.

With an increased demand for qualified personnel in the IT sector, more and more people are enrolling to study IT-related courses. However, many are actually confused on which to choose between a computer science degree and computer engineering degree.

Both majors are heavy in both theory and practical application which is vital for building a strong knowledge base for a range of IT-related careers. However, the key difference is that computer science focuses on software, while computer engineering is more about the hardware.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is an umbrella term which encompasses four major areas of computing: theory, algorithms, programming languages and architecture. Basically, it is the study of how data and instructions are processed, stored, communicated by computing devices.

Computer science deals with algorithms for processing data, the design of instruction languages for processing data, techniques for writing software that process data on a variety of computing platform etc. They often deal with applied mathematics, physics, statistics etc.

Therefore, computer scientists are scientists and mathematicians who develop ways to process, interpret, store, communicate, and secure data. To become a computer scientist, you have to obtain a degree program in computer science at the university or polytechnic.

Computer Science Curriculum

Computer science students are taught how to build computer systems, how to utilize data storage and how to fix any issues that arise in the software. They’re also taught some selected computer languages like Python, Javascript to HTML and C ++ programming languages. This can be used to create innovative computer graphics, operating systems and complex computer IT networks.

They will also learn how to develop and analyze a variety of numerical algorithms (a more advanced form of mathematics involving calculus, probability and algebra) and defensive programming. A more theoretical approach, it’s mathematical and scientific focus makes it a subject that can offer a diverse range of career paths.

What is Computer Engineering

Computer engineering typically focuses specifically on computer hardware and software. It is an integration of computer science and electrical engineering. Computer engineering deals with all forms of computing, from microprocessors to embedded computing devices to laptop and desktop systems to supercomputers.

Computer engineering deals with the electrical engineering considerations of how microprocessors function, are designed and are optimized; how data is communicated among electronic components; how integrated systems of electronic components are designed and how they operate to process instructions expressed in software; and how software is written, compiled, and optimized for specific hardware platforms.

Therefore, computer engineers are electrical engineers who specialize in software design, hardware design, or systems design that integrates both. To become a computer engineer, you have to obtain a degree program in computer engineering at the university or polytechnic.

Computer Engineering Curriculum

Computer Engineering takes a different approach in its curriculum, blending the latter with electrical engineering. A more practical subject in some ways, it focuses on the development of hardware and software through designing and architecture.

Computer Engineering students will also learn about robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence), the principles of modern physics, how to design microprocessing software, integrated circuits, speech processing and more.

Differences Between Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Computer science deals majorly on software while computer engineering deals majorly on hardway. So, we can say, a computer scientist study theory while a computer engineer builds the things that bring those theories to life.

Both disciplines offer specialized degrees, but knowing the basic differences will help you get started.

Both degrees will study basic computer operation, mathematics, and programming, but beyond that, they’ll go on to emphasize different things. Computer science tends to be more theoretical while computer engineering is more practical.

Computer engineering program often include a good amount of computer science coursework but not vice versa. A computer science student won’t get into the nuts and bolts of electrical circuits and engineering.

As a computer science student, expect to cover everything from operating systems and computer graphics to numerical methods and computational theories. On the other hand, if you’re studying computer engineering, you’ll likely cover similar areas of mathematics and science, but also more physical studies like electronics, circuits, robotics, sensors, and networking.


While Computer science and computer engineering are distinctive, they are also related in some way. Whether you go for computer science or computer engineering, you’re considering an inspiring industry. Either of the two is a brilliant choice that will equip you for the future.

There are numerous career opportunities for majors from both fields of study. Also, you can get IT-related skills, although usually taught outside the classroom to stand a better chance of securing a better opportunity.

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