What is the difference between a degree in Computer Science vs Computer Engineering? Which one is preferred by employers?
I’m currently studying Computer Science at the University of Auckland so I’ll try and shed some light about the differences that I have found, and also my reason for studying Computer Science.
Firstly, Computer Science is a major under a Bachelor of Science (BSc). Under a BSc, you can take up to do majors, so firstly by studying Computer Science you can also study another subject. This was my main reason for choosing Computer Science. Computer Science is also, in general, more mathematical and theoretical. There is less of an emphasis on programming, and more of an emphasis on algorithms, networks, AI, operating systems etc. Of course, this depends on what papers you choose to take and you can choose to focus more on programming if you wish.
Copmuter engineering comes in a few different flavours; software engineering and computer systems engineering. Both of these are specialisations under a Bachelor of Engineering degree (BE). Under this degree you only choose one specialisation, which you begin in your second year (first year is general). The specialisations are also competitive for entry, with limited amounts of places. The requirements change year by year, but for some of the more popular choices, such as software engineering, the GPA cut off can be between 6 and 6.5. A BE is also a four year degree compared to a three year BSc.
Software engineering is very focused around programming and design principles for the creation of software for an end user. It’s more common if you want to go into software development or become a programmer. It’s also generally looked at better by employers for these types of roles, but this is only in general. There are many jobs for which a computer science degree is far preferred.
Computer systems engineering is to do with the hardware side of computing. It works with things such as embedded systems. If you think about everything in the world that now has little computers in it, such as cars and smart TVs, this is the work of a computer systems engineer.