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Engineering or Computer Science

  1. Aug 23, 2012 #1
    I'm wondering whether I should be an engineer or go into computer programming. Both areas do sound interesting to me, so it's a really difficult decision. Can you guys help me, as in to give me pros and cons of both. If you are in one of these careers, first-person opinions would be much appreciated. The types of comparisons I want are, how do the pays compare, how are the long-run prospects of both careers, plus anything else that would be important.

    Also, say I start my undergraduate program in engineering for one year, would I be able to switch from becoming an engineer to a physicist and/or computer programmer. Becoming a physicist also sounds appealing for me as well, but I'm afraid that you have to be extraordinarily well in physics to get a good job.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong in anything.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2012 #2
    You don't necessarily study "computer programming" in school. You study computer science and/or software engineering, which are a lot broader topics and not just about writing code. Software engineering curriculum has a focus on software development and software business and computer science curriculum has a focus on information theory, discrete math and varying amounts of software development topics, although there's obviously overlap between the two curricula. Anyhow, writing code is primarily studied by writing code.

    Engineering is also too broad field to assess it just as one field. There are very different studies and jobs and loads of disciplines. Computer engineering and electronics engineering are closest disciplines to "computer programming", they include some computer science courses, although the overall curricula and career prospects have considerable emphasis on hardware design and "close to the metal" software.

    For combining engineering and computer programming, there's also CSE (Computational Science & Engineering, or just 'Computational Engineering').
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
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