Computer Engineering and Computer Science are two majors that are hot topics now because of the advancements in technology around us every day. It can be very confusing the differences between them because they seem to be very similar majors. Students who are planning to pursue bachelor degrees may want to know the differences between them and which one, if any, is right for them to pursue as a major. Even though they overlap in many areas, Computer Engineering and Science are two completely different majors. Read on to learn more about the differences and similarities between them.

computer engineering
computer engineering

Differences in study focus between Computer Engineering and Science

First, there are differences in study focus and scope between computer engineering and computer science. Computer engineering focuses on the hardware and software of computers, while computer science focuses mostly on software and algorithms. Furthermore, computer engineering is an engineering major that branched out of electrical engineering, while the major of computer science branched out of mathematics. 

When it comes to study focus, computer engineering students learn hardware like microchips, circuits and processors and find out how to develop and test them. They are also taught how to develop firmware, the software that runs the operating systems for computers, among other software that helps hardware work correctly. On the other hand, students who major in computer science learn about computational theories and how to develop complicated software programs using complex algorithms. They also focus more on the study of data, including data security and data structures. 

Differences in skills gained between Computer Engineering and Science 

Skills that students gain from studying computer engineering and computer science are a point where there aren’t many differences. Because they are both highly scientific majors, both majors teach skills that help graduates of the degrees quickly discover new solutions and continuously develop novel techniques to improve our technologies and make them more efficient. Some of the essential skills learned during their bachelor journeys include excelling in various programming languages, critical thinking, problem-solving and sharp analytical skills. They also learn to master skills like creativity, attention to detail and technical writing.

Differences in specialisations between Computer Engineering and Science 

Another difference between computer engineering and computer science is the specialisations that students from each major can choose to focus on during their bachelor studies. Computer engineering students can choose to study hardware systems, embedded systems, computer and network security, computer graphics, robotics and more specialisations. Alternatively, computer science students can choose to study topics like artificial intelligence, data science, human-computer interaction (HCI), cloud computing, machine learning and other subdisciplines. 

Differences in offered courses between Computer Engineering and Science 

After considering the differences in specialisations, you may want to look into the different courses that each of the majors offers. There is often an overlap in this area as many computer engineering students also study lessons from computer science because they need to learn to program too. Also, some computer science degrees require that students have a good foundation in hardware and software so that they have a good idea of what is going on in the computers they are creating code for. This is why you should look into the course plan of the major you plan on pursuing so that you ensure that you take the courses you are interested in, rather than just following a degree name.

However, there are typically some courses that are considered more computer engineering than computer science and vice versa. Some of these include circuit analysis, computer vision, computer architecture and signal processing, which pertain more to the computer engineering major than the computer science one. Conversely, courses like the theory of computation, software security, algorithms and data structures and web development tend to be studied more often under the umbrella of computer science. 

Read more: Want to Study in USA? Here’s 3 Things You Need to Know

computer engineering
computer engineering

Differences in salaries between Computer Engineering and Science jobs 

After graduating from a major, one of the most critical things any graduate is interested in is the expected salary of their degree professionals. Both computer engineers and computer scientists earn outstanding salaries with demand increasing for their work day-by-day and different job opportunities in both fields opening as more and more experts are needed. Demand for computer science and computer engineering graduates is expected to grow radically in the coming years. 

Average salaries for computer engineers working as computer architecture developers are around 85,000 USD annually, while those who work as systems engineers earn approximately 78,000 USD per year. On the other hand, computer scientists who work as systems analysts earn around 64,000 USD annually, while web designers earn approximately 52,000 USD annually. 

Read more: Attractive Computer Science Salaries and Other Reasons Why You Should Become a Computer Scientist

Best international universities for Computer Engineering and Science  

When it comes to deciding on a major, you may also want to consider the universities that offer computer engineering or science. Most universities that offer computer engineering also offer computer science, but some universities are better when it comes to choosing either of the majors. Universities that are recommended for computer engineering include Solent university in England, MIT in the United States, the University of Padua in Italy and Aarhus University in Denmark. For computer science, universities that excel in teaching the major include TUM Munchen in Germany, Northeastern university in the United States, University of Bristol in England and Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Belgium. 

Read more: 5 Best German Universities to Study Computer Science

Why study Computer Engineering or Science

Whichever major of the two you choose, you can be sure that they are a good choice when it comes to your professional future. There are numerous benefits to choosing either of the two majors. The first benefit is many job opportunities in a broad spectrum of fields. Both computer engineering and science majors are high in demand and sought after, especially after technologies advance more and more every day. 

Another benefit includes the invaluable opportunity to work from home. In a world where covid-19 imposes limits on working from the office, computer engineering and science jobs give the benefit of being able to work remotely from wherever you are. Studies show that around 10 per cent of professionals in this fieldwork remotely, a relatively higher percentage than most other fields. 

Furthermore, the diversity of job opportunities in any field you can imagine is another benefit of majoring in a computer degree. From healthcare to beauty to FMCGs, all industries need technical experts to help them with their day to day tasks relating to technology. They are also required to develop and maintain computer systems and programs, among many other tech-related tasks essential to any business today. 

In Conclusion, which major should you choose?

So, after reading this article, you may still feel sceptical about which major you should choose between the two and which is better. The answer is: no major of the two is “better”, but rather, it’s more of a question of which is more interesting to you and what you want to work in the future. 

Both computer science and engineering end up offering graduates of the majors’ lucrative job opportunities in many fields after graduation. They are also both majors that require a good amount of studying and effort during university, so they aren’t for students who want easy majors or want to relax and just enjoy college life.

If you are more interested in designing hardware, computer vision and putting together pieces of computers, then you are more likely to enjoy majoring in computer engineering. Suppose you have a passion for computing theory or are eager to learn more about data analysis or human-computer interaction. In that case, it might be wise to consider a computer science major.