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Job Skills Differences between Computer engineering and Computer Science?

  1. Nov 4, 2017 #1
    Hi
    Which are the mains difference between Computer engineering and Computer Science?
    Which different kind of work do a computer engineer instead a computer scientist ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2017 #2

    berkeman

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    Since you are in Europe/Italy, the terminology may be a bit different compared to the US. Probably the most reliable way to start to get an idea would be to look at the course list for each major at a couple of universities near you. Can you do that and post some links for us to check out? Thanks.
     
  4. Nov 4, 2017 #3
    When computer scientists study computation, they think of it in the abstract sense where the machines performing the computation are not actually constructed, just part of the theory. Computer engineers go out and actually build the stuff.

    A computer engineer is more likely to know about operating systems and VLSI design. A computer scientist is more likely to know about theory of computation and programming language theory.
     
  5. Nov 4, 2017 #4
    Yes, but what do you mean with "terminology" ?
    In the US doesn't exist courses named computer engineering or computer science ?

    Anyway here there are some link with the courses

    Computer Engineering

    Florence: https://www.unifi.it/p-cor2-2016-101226-B047-GEN-1-1.html https://www.unifi.it/p-cor2-2016-101226-B070-GEN-1-1.html
    Siena: https://ing-informatica-informazione.unisi.it/en https://computer-automation.unisi.it/en
    Pisa: http://ce.iet.unipi.it/index.php/en/mce
    Milan: https://www4.ceda.polimi.it/manifes...OffertaInvisibile=false&semestre=ALL_SEMESTRI

    https://www4.ceda.polimi.it/manifes...OffertaInvisibile=false&semestre=ALL_SEMESTRI

    https://www4.ceda.polimi.it/manifesti/manifesti/controller/ManifestoPublic.do


    Computer Science
    Pisa: https://www.di.unipi.it/en/education
    Perugia: https://unipg.esse3.cineca.it/Guide...ercorso_id=226*2010*1765&ANNO_ACCADEMICO=2017
    Milan: http://www.ccdinfmi.unimi.it/en/corsiDiStudio/2016/F1Xof2/index.html
    Bologna: http://www.unibo.it/en/teaching/degree-programmes/programme/2017/8009 http://www.unibo.it/en/teaching/degree-programmes/programme/2017/8028
     
  6. Nov 4, 2017 #5

    berkeman

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    Well, at my University back when I attended, you could get a degree in EE or CS or ECE (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science combined). Computer Science is a pretty common term, I think, with a mix of software classes and computational theory and math classes.

    "Computer Engineering" is a fuzzier term for me. It could refer to a 2-year Community College degree in the US, or may mean other things to otther people.
    I skimmed the links (thank you, they were helpful). It looks like Computer Science is what I mentioned, and Computer Engineering involves less theory and math, and more hardware classes.

    How much programming have you done so far? Did you enjoy it? How much hobby electronics have you worked with so far? Did you enjoy that? Have you built any hobby electronics kits yet? :smile:
     
  7. Nov 4, 2017 #6
    We have also "electronic engineering" which is different from "electrical engineering."

    Unfortunalty I did Liceo Scientifico with a Standard Curriculum, cause when I joined it, the applied science curriculum wasn't available.
    Here is the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liceo_scientifico.
    As you can see, I never studied computer science or electrical stuff, I just learned about how circuits work during Physics lesson, but it was about studying them, not building.
    So the only experience I had on my own was trying to use HTML, but was on a free course online, I can't understand if I like programming with only this experience.
    I heard something about Arduino, but again, I just try to get information on my own cause my school is only about studying theory.
    This are experiences that only students for technical institute make.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2017 #7

    Dr Transport

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  9. Nov 5, 2017 #8
    Ok, but what about the type of work that a computer engineering can make?
    How this differs from the work of a computer scientist ?
     
  10. Nov 5, 2017 #9

    Dr Transport

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    I've used them to speed up codes, they tend to have a better knowledge of how hardware and software interact.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2017 #10
    Yes, I suppose, but which are the skills that a computer engineers , and how those ones differ from a computer scientist ?
     
  12. Nov 5, 2017 #11

    berkeman

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    A CS major is unlikely to design and build any hardware. A CE major is unlikely to design a new computer architecture (like a new RISC or DSP architecture)...
     
  13. Nov 5, 2017 #12

    Dr Transport

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    Exactly, in my experience, most of the CS majors I ever worked with were for the most part clueless about hardware, if they had a course or two in assembly language they were better. I had 3 computer engineers on my staff at a former employer, they took our cluster computing to the next level. I also worked with one of those people at a different company, he had OpenCL integrated into a code we were writing in about 3 weeks, I couldn't have done it before the end of the year working full time on it.
     
  14. Nov 5, 2017 #13
    Thanks for the reply, I really need help.

    So, from what I read online I understood that computer scientist know very well how to code, is similar to what Mark did with Facebook, while I think that CE is more related with AI and stuff like car with no driver, like Tesla.
    Anyway, I'm afraid that if a choose CE I won't be very good at coding.

    On Internet I found some offers, for the same job, available for physicists, computer engineers, and computer scientists, even thought are three different type of degree.

    I spoke with one CE and he said that a computer engineer has to coordinate the work of more computer scientists.
     
  15. Nov 6, 2017 #14

    fresh_42

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    It is as always when people try to find easy answers to a complex question or label complex situations with just a word: they fail.
    • both fields have topics in common and are related
    • in real life (jobs) what has to be done is often both, or even something entirely different
    • "a computer engineer has to coordinate the work of more computer scientists" should be read with some humor, e.g. he could have meant that a computer engineer deals with the machines and the network the others are working with
    • "I found some offers, for the same job, available for physicists, computer engineers, and computer scientists" which means they are looking for some properties which all have in common, as real life is training on the job anyway
    • you might as well start as one and end up as the other
     
  16. Nov 6, 2017 #15
    I really don't know, a computer engineer told me that, saying me that a computer engineer coordinates a group of computer scientist that work on the same project, and each of them have to code a part of the program.

    Probably, this happens also in the US?

    Do you mean start with a program degree and end with another one, by doing something else during the master degree?
     
  17. Nov 6, 2017 #16

    donpacino

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    Like others have mentioned there is a lot of crossover.

    In general, computer engineers is more low level, and computer science is more high level.

    You use Tesla as an example.

    A motor is designed by electrical and mechanical engineers
    The power electronics for the motor is designed by electrical engineers.
    The low level controller for the power electronics is designed by electrical (EE) and computer engineers (CPE)
    The digital interconnect between the controller and the "brain" of the system is designed by EEs and CPEs.
    The brain of the system is designed by CPEs, with input from EEs and software (CS)
    The low level software (firmware) that runs the brains to properly communicate and work is written by CPEs and CS.
    The high level software (GPS systems, speed control, etc), is written by CS, with input from CPEs and EEs. Often the systems such as speed controllers are designed by other engineers, then handed to the software guys for implementation.
    Even Higher level software such as data collection, interfacing with apps, etc, are done by the CS people.

    Keep in mind, I know a few people that have CPE degrees and do high level software. I know people with CS degrees that do low level software. I'm an EE and I often do high level software. People can end doing work at all levels. Education is just a stepping stone.

    Computer engineer will put you right in the middle between Electrical Engineers and software. It's a good place to be, BUT often people need one or the other, so you can't always have the best of both worlds, you just need to find the right job for you.
     
  18. Nov 6, 2017 #17

    fresh_42

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    But this is only one example. You cannot say computer engineers are project managers and computer scientists are programmers. Real life doesn't work this way. Maybe the project manager is a philosopher and the programmers are former computer engineers or any other natural scientists. Those qualifications may be useful for one or another career entry, but they rarely define a career. A job has to be done by those available and capable, college education is secondary, if at all.
    I don't know. But I dare to claim that training on the job is everywhere the case. I once was a C++ programmer, just because I said: I want to do it.
    I mean you could be a computer engineer and end up as a computer scientist and vice versa. If you want to know, what they are specialized in, then
    Of course there are likelihoods as
    but never say never. Real life is more complicated and complex than a title, aka degree.
     
  19. Nov 7, 2017 #18
    The expression low level means that computer engineers work on stuff that is more easy and less complicated ?

    Does mechanical engineers works on electrical motors?
    I didn't know that.

    I agree with that, but I think is't good to start by doing something we think it's useful.

    Generally I don't like to much to know only " a part of something", and choose "something in between".
    The issue is that I still don't understand what are Computer engineers made for?

    It's more easy to understand the civil engineers build houses, mechanical engineers create mechanical parts of a machine, electronic engineers design circuits and CPU, or staff li Nvidia or ATI, but I can't understand which is the field of a computer engineers.
    A computer engineers is not able to code like a computer scientist but at the same time doesn't creates circuits like electronic engineers, it really can be just " something in between this two field"


    In the US there are philosopher that are project manager?
    In italy we have Marchionne that studied philosophy and now he is the manager of Fiat, but he get also a degree in Law at new York and also an MBA.

    Are you a computer scientist?
     
  20. Nov 7, 2017 #19

    fresh_42

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    Low and high in this context rather means the distance between the machinery layer (low) and the applications layer (high) than a judgement on qualifications. The mechanics who knows how to grind your head gasket works on the lower and the race driver on the higher level (better: layer), but this doesn't say anything about who is more qualified in his job.
    Why do you expect me to know this? If I had to bet, I'd say yes. The qualifications of a project manager involve so many aspects, that a formal education doesn't cover all of them. E.g. what is it good for to have a perfect economist as a PM if he has zero social competences?
    You missed the point. Degree and job description doesn't necessarily match. Sometimes they do, but more often they do not. Imagine you work as a computer engineer and are responsible for the maintenance of a server park. Then someone decides to change the mail system. This requires various new installations and also adjustments of the software. Would you solve the problem or tell your boss that you can't do it, because you've learnt how to repair motherboards but not how to adjust new software? And on the other hand, do you think your boss will be interested in whether you once studied philosophy, computer science or learnt electrician?
    No, a mathematician. But formally I've worked at least on half a dozen of jobs, often for the same company. This is why "person" and "role" have to be distinguished, and "degree" is again another property. As I said: it depends on what has to be done and who can do it, and not so much on what you've learned as a kid (< 30 yr.).
     
  21. Nov 7, 2017 #20

    Nidum

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    Whatever difference you choose to make of it for yourself .

    All a degree course in any vocational subject will give you is a bare bones rag bag of tools which is just about enough to get you started in a chosen career .

    What happens after that is entirely down to a mixture of your own endeavours and chance events .
     
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