I've been studying computer science and computer programming for years now in high school. I've been accepted to universities that offer two different kinds of degrees. One is Computer Science and one is Software Engineering. I could go either way for which degree I get, I was just wondering if someone could give me the big differences between the two and which, in their opinion, is better. This will help me decide which degree would better suit me.

I heard that computer science involves more math while software engineering involves more business applications.


2 Years
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Last Post by rubberman

I think that CS is more academically oriented, and SE is more application oriented. Science vs. Engineering. You can't have engineering without the science. :-) IE, it is not hard for someone with a degree in CS to get a job as a software engineer. One of my best friends and colleagues was a professor of CS at a major east coast university. He decided to explore more practical applications of his studies. As as result, we were both software engineers together for many years and developed some really advanced systems. He and I together, implemented the entire TCP/IP protocol suite for a real-time operating system, from the Department of Defense DDN protocol handbooks that define TCP/IP and related protocols. That was used by the US Navy in their RAMP (Rapid Aquisition of Manufactured Parts) program that enabled the Navy to reduce time in dry dock for a battleship or destroyer from months to weeks when getting new parts. We also built a lot of the manufacturing software systems for that program to build electronic assemblies, machine drive shafts and propellers, etc.

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TCP/IP suite for DoD RTOS... OMG! That's beyond impressive!

And don't be afraid of the math! In any case, formal logic is a subject you should take for either CS or SE. I took it in engineering school, and that one class has been of more benefit to me than all the engineering and programming classes I ever took!


Thank you for the help! It's just difficult deciding which one I would rather do haha.


Pick either and do your best! :-)

@Mike2K - I spent a couple of months sitting in front of a computer in a huge hangar sized warehouse where the PC board lines and CNC machines were in Charleston, SC working on this stuff! That was in the early 1990's. A great experience, for sure! I'm still more proud of the US Patent I got for adaptive systems software about 10 years after that (US Patent #7,185,325) as sole inventor. Check it out. It is currently owned by Applied Materials, the 800lb gorilla of semiconductor equipment. Seems that a number of Java patents cited my work as well. :-)

Edited by rubberman

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i too struck in these difficulties ,, both i probably bachelor degree have similarities

We cannot decide for you, because we don't know what you want or what would make you happy.

Rubberman put it very well, computer science is science, and computer engineering is engineering. Don't expect a computer science degree to make you a proficient programmer. There are certainly some people that cross-over from CS to being a programmer, or that learn both in parallel, but don't buy into the common delusion about the two being the same thing.

The best analogy is in the difference between physics and mechanical engineering. The primary purpose / occupation of a physicist is doing research on investigating and discovering fundamental principles of the physical world. The primary purpose / occupation of a mechanical engineer is designing, building, and testing complex machinery. As it relates to CS and SE, just replace the "physical world" and "machinery" with "computer" and "software".

Both of these are very important and can be very exciting careers, if they are right for you.


I do agree with Rubber and Mike, we cannot choose for you but if you really want to dive into this study, you can really get as much as you can from both. Daniweb is a great place to start at, trust me you can learn A LOT in here


omne word we can learn skills to develop application through computer science ,we can learn skills to maintain,troubleshoot the software through software engineering degree


we need to be clear regarding coding for requirement need logical thinking this made the reasons to be good at maths to be comfortable with computer science and while coming to software development engineering,its all combining software applications to perform particular task eg bank application,where their is no need to think logical only care to be taken to reduce the complexity in handling the device,creating user interfaces etc,so tyhere can be no importance to maths with this degree


Definitely keep up on the math! 9 years ago I took a job designing and devloping risk analysis software for the options trading industry at the CBOE in Chicago. Even though I hadn't used it for years, I dusted off my college calculus texts to refresh my understanding of 3rd order differential equations, necessary for computing things like the Black-Scholes algorithms needed to properly evaluate risk and rebalance portfolios based upon those factors! Without the foundational studies, that would have been impossible.

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