Quite often, people know exactly what they are going to specialize in, because they have had a desire for it since they can remember. You’re one of them, too. You have always been interested in computers, how they work, what they have inside, you wanted to know all this. You also plan to make a living with their help.
There is only one small problem. There are several potential areas related to computers, but you don’t know which one to choose, whether it’s computer science or computer engineering. This article will help you make the final decision.
Roles and responsibilities
When comparing two areas that seem similar to many people, let’s start by comparing some positions. So, let’s consider the job responsibilities of a computer specialist and a computer engineer.
What does a computer scientist do?
We can say that a computer specialist has several different responsibilities. Most importantly, they understand the theoretical aspects of working with computers and technologies. They use their knowledge of how technology processes information and apply it to the computer programs they create.
Computer scientists are usually hired by software companies, research companies, social media companies, manufacturers, the government and many others, where they think about how they can develop software that answers questions about the nature of computing, how data is processed, stored. and are transmitted using computing devices. Some of the specific job responsibilities of computer specialists include:
- The study of data structure and algorithms, database theory, computer graphics, computer vision and many other fields.
- Improving the performance of existing software and computer systems.
- Creating new products and solving computer problems.
- Work with members of departments such as programmers, IT, as well as with a group of mechanical engineers, electricians or software developers to find solutions to problems that their product may have.
- Study and experiment in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
- Development of new computing technologies.
What does a computer engineer do?
Computer engineering is a general term for three fields of engineering: hardware, software, and networking. So when the question arises, what does a computer engineer do, you don’t get a definite answer; you get three:
- Hardware engineers design and maintain products in their physical form.
- Software engineers work with software development, computer programming, and smartphone applications.
- Network engineers design and maintain network systems
However, since we don’t focus on any particular field of computing, we provide some general job responsibilities of a computer engineer:
- Research of computer hardware and software.
- Designing and testing elements of computer equipment, such as processors, printed circuit boards, routers, etc.
- Writing and evaluating software for mobile devices and computers.
- Operating system management.
- Creating programs that support various products and services.
- Designing and testing robots.
Job prospects and salaries
Now let’s continue this comparison by turning to the employment prospects and wages that the two areas provide to those who see themselves joining the workforce of one of them.
Prospects of work in the field of computer science
Without a doubt, the high-tech industry is thriving. Well, fortunately for people who are going to work with something related to technology, the numbers show that this prosperity will not stop, at least in the next decade. Employment in computer science is expected to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029, which is above the average growth rate.
Prospects of computer engineering
Although it was predicted that employment prospects for engineers would grow by 4% from 2014 to 2024, this does not seem to apply to computer engineering. Employment of computer engineers is projected to grow by 2% between 2019 and 2029, which will be slower than average.
Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering Salaries
As for salaries, they are not much different. The average annual salary of computer science specialists in 2019 was $122,840 per year. Whereas the average annual salary of computer engineers was $ 117,220 per year.
Another important factor to consider when choosing between the two options is the educational requirements for entering this particular field. Let’s take a look at the requirements for education in computer science and computer engineering.
Requirements for education in the field of computer science
As in any other field, you will need to meet several educational requirements to get a job in computer science. However, it all depends on what kind of job you are looking for. For some, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is more than enough, while some positions may require a higher level of education, for example, a master’s degree. If you do some quick calculations, it will take from four (for a bachelor’s degree) to six years (a bachelor’s degree plus a master’s degree) to finally join the field of computer science.
Requirements for education in computer engineering
As for the field of computer engineering, a bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum required level of education. A potential employee must have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science, computer programming, or a similar computer-related field.
For some, the goal may be to obtain a degree in computer science and computer engineering. However, getting a general education in one of these areas is not the only option. You can also choose between the different sub-disciplines that are offered within these programs. Fortunately, there are sub-disciplines to choose from for both of these areas that will help you narrow down your field of study.
Computer science specializations
- Computer and network security
- Artificial intelligence
- Human-computer interaction
- Software Engineering
- Mobile and Web computing
- Game design
- Computer graphics
- Data Science
- Programming Languages
Computer Engineering Specializations
- Hardware systems
- Robotics and Cybernetics
- Computer and network security
- Distributed Computing
- Embedded systems
Is computer science and computer engineering the same thing?
There is some confusion when it comes to computer science and computing. Although it’s not the same thing, they definitely have some kind of connection. Both of these areas work together to create computer devices that we use every day.
To summarize what we have already discussed above, computer science is a field that focuses on the technological aspect. In other words, computer science is concerned with programming and developing good algorithms. For comparison, computer engineering is the use of the best computers and computer elements.