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Difference Between Computer Science and Software Engineering

graduate-hatComputer Science vs Software Engineering

If you are looking for a course to pursue, you might be confused about these two ‘“ computer science and software engineering. Though it seems like these courses are just for those tech savvy people, still they differ big time.

The main difference is their ideals. Computer science deal with studying and analyzing the algorithms and problems that are related to making the computer do the task. This involves knowing the details of how the computer as well as the network works. This field focuses more on how these computer programming languages work. Computer science aims at understanding the theories that makes the computer function.

Software engineering, on the other hand, deals with creating new software that would be used in the real world. You would be required to actually work with a team so that you can build a new application that your end-users would find beneficial.

Should you solve problems or discover concepts in computer science, this solution will remain and not change. But for software engineering, if you develop or created an application, rest assured that this would continually evolve and would be updated or revised in time. This is due to the needs of the users change as time goes by.

If you will pursue computer science, you will be tasked to discover new and better ways in designing software or create your own algorithms that would be used in developing a new project. On the other hand, if you will be studying software engineering, you would be tasked to create requirements for the system. You would then create your own design, prototypes and eventually implement and maintain the whole system.

In conclusion, though both fields deal with computer and software, computer science works on the theories behind how the computer works while software engineering works on developing new applications depending on the requirements.


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7 Comments

  1. Thanks you very much for asking this valuable question. I thought Computer Science was the same as Software Engineering but now I am realizing they aren’t. I also thought the major would really hit you hard in programming which it isn’t.

  2. well eventually all computer science graduate call themselves software engineers … at Google they actually do …go check their videos on u tube …. why have we made them apart there was no such need they should both be amalgamated to make ONE discipline .. so we wont have to ask such questions for generations

  3. …seeing as engineering is a professional degree, no, you can’t really do that, at least not all the time. In any (competently designed) software engineering course that actually counts as an engineering degree (some “software engineering” programs give you a B.Sc.), you’ll be learning things differently and applying engineering design principles to your work. Computer science -> Software Eng is the same thing as Mechanics -> Civil/Mechanical Eng or Quantum theory -> Laser/Optics/Nuclear/Nanotech Eng. They deal with the development of new tools, whereas the engineers actually use the tools to facilitate design on a large scale.

    Part of the confusion is that software engineering is a relatively new discipline, but it’s still important. As software gets more and more complicated, training is needed to ensure that designs meet all demands and bring something new to the community/market while still being as cost-effective as possible (called Value Engineering), and engineers are essentially trained to do this in their chosen discipline. Software Engineers and computer scientists innovate entirely different things. A software engineer might design the structure of an entire application (as well as its pieces), whereas a computer scientist might discover a new algorithm (e.g, pathfinding, a type of neural network, etc). The software engineer uses what the computer scientist creates to design specific software.

    They should NOT be amalgamated because they do entirely different things. Both can perform some of the same jobs (the ones that just require coding), but not in the same way, and the overlap definitely isn’t large enough to justify removing the distinction. If you want to amalgamate things with engineering programs, why not throw electricians in there with the electrical engineers? It’s a different skill set, and that applies just as much here as anywhere else.

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