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Computer Science and Software Engineering

  1. Oct 6, 2004 #1


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    I'm currently in college and majoring in physics. After speaking with my physics advisor (head of department) today, him and I believe that I can make myself more employable if I become a double-major with my other major being focused on something within the technology sector. The school I am currently attending offers a BS in Computer Science as well as a BS in Software Engineering.

    Therefore, I have a few questions. What are the differences between the 2 majors? Any similiarities? Which one would be better to pursue?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2004 #2
    As quoted from webopedia.com

    I'm double majoring in math and computer science, mostly because that's all they offer here since they feel that they are very closely related. If I had a choice I'd choose computer science instead of softwear engineering.
  4. Oct 6, 2004 #3
    computer science deals more with the theory of algorithms, languages, and other such things. Computer engineering gets to the guts of computer hardware. it is basically an applied field of electronic engineering.

    since you are a physics major, CE will be closer to your major than CS will.

    I also am a double major in CS and Mathematics, and I have had some problems where I will be doing math in one class that conflicts with my CS work and I begin to get the two mixed up because of the same concepts with different terms and notations.
  5. Aug 12, 2008 #4
    Im still in highschool so take this with a grain of salt;
    My understanding (from speaking with a few computer scientists) is that CS is more of a theory type major where as SE is more of a doing major. CS will show you how to find a solution to the problem and SE will show you how to actually solve the problem.

    I'd prefer CS simply because what I understand SE is, it can all be learned on your own, and CS surely covers much of the actual programming that SE covers.

    The guys I spoke with seemed to think rather highly of CS and not so much of SE, but then again, they had majors in CS so there might have been some bias there.
  6. Oct 5, 2008 #5
    If I were you I'd go for CS. It's strange that they offer both majors anyway. Here in Belgium, you have a general CS bachelor that takes 3 years and in your master (which takes 2 years) you can specialize yourself in the subfield of your interest. You have specializations such as databases, artificial intelligence, networks, software engineering,...

    I think that CS gives you a broader view of the field. There doesn't exist one CS major without programming so you'll get SE courses anyway. The big difference will be that SE will go more in depth in the whole software engineering process. I guess you'll have courses such as Requirements analysis, Use cases analysis, software architecture and stuff like that.
  7. Oct 6, 2008 #6
    Computer Engineering is just Comp Sci with Electrical engineering classes. CE is alot more physics based with courses in circuit theory and such. CS is more programming courses.

    From what I hear both get the same jobs so if physics is your specialty you can't go wrong with CE.
  8. Oct 7, 2008 #7
    Yeah but the thing is, the OP has the choice between CS and SE (Software Engineering), not CE.
  9. Oct 10, 2008 #8
    If you really want to make yourself more marketable you should do software engineering.
    Software Engineering is almost project engineering. Basically it means that you are concerned with getting the job done at the cheapest most effective way possible. Having a degree in computer science means that you are more concerned with the theory of computation. A computer scientist be better at making efficient algorithms, or proving that an algorithm works, i.e. a computer scientist maybe more useful for critical systems.

    So it is a trade of but it think that you would be better off with software engineering because it is more practical
  10. Oct 22, 2008 #9
    I'm a computer and business graduate but if I were to choose from the two of them, I would go for CS. CS is more on programming and applications while SE is more on theory, standards and concepts. But since in relation to your course, SE is more closer. It has more math subjects than CS.
  11. Oct 22, 2008 #10
    I would say it's the opposite, that CS has more maths subjects. CS englobes complexity theory, automata theory, computational geometry, computer graphics,... What part of SE would be more math oriented?
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