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With new technology emerging every day, the demand for digital technology experts has grown in tandem. While there are many career opportunities, if you are interested in the world of computers, systems, networks, hardware, and software, then it may lead you to wonder which degree could be well suited for you. And most importantly how do you choose the one that would lead to a career that is right for you?

The first step is usually to identify the type of digital tech career that is right for your skills, strengths, and of course interest. When comparing common fields of study, such as computer engineering and computer science or even computer science versus software engineering, you will notice these offer dynamic, growth-friendly career options for tech-savvy individuals.

Despite some similarities, each field focuses on a different aspect of computing and engineering industry. You can determine the right choice for you by comparing the differences in curricula, skills, and job options for each type of degree and subsequently career.

If you are having a hard time differentiating between a computer engineering vs computer science versus software engineering degree, you are not alone. These degrees have overlapping curricula but also important differences. So, you may find yourself asking, “Between the three, which is better? Well, it depends.

While the job outlook is relatively similar, the specific jobs best suited for individuals when comparing computer engineering vs computer science versus software engineering may differ.

Each degree has benefits that will help you fine tune skills for a future career in digital technology.

Read on for more discussion on these three degrees.

Computer Engineering vs Computer Science

Computer engineering courses feature practical assignments and labs. A computer engineering degree for the most part requires courses in mechanics, electricity, physics, electric circuits, thermodynamics, and machine design. Majoring in computer engineering will see students being exposed to topics such as hardware, software, electrical engineering, and how to design, develop, and analyse these topics. Since the computer engineering major is broad, potential students typically will try to narrow down their focus to something more specific, such as microprocessors or electronic circuits.

Thus, while a computer engineering degree is generally focused on physical computer hardware, a computer science degree typically focuses more on computer theory.

Computer science deals largely with the basic structure of a computer and is more theoretical, so it is more malleable in terms of specialisation. Students in this field usually learn how to build computer systems, and how to solve problems on computers. Students will also learn a variety of computer languages and computer environments, which helps them master a range of skills such as developing and analysing numerical and mathematical algorithms and complex networks, operating systems, and building and storing databases, to improving human-computer interactions.

Computer Science vs Software Engineering

Based on the above, a computer science degree will prepare students to specialise in for example hardware or software systems, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, cybersecurity, or even video game development.

Software engineering, on the other hand, is a field concerned with the application of engineering processes to the creation, maintenance, and design of software for a variety of different purposes. For example, a software engineer designs customised applications per the requirements of an organisation. Seeing that software engineering majors will learn different aspects of designing, analysing, and maintaining software, students will typically need to have good problem-solving and research skills, mathematical modelling and analytic skills, know multiple coding languages and work well in a team. Additionally, interest in programming languages is an asset as software engineers need to learn how to utilize different types of programming languages like Java, JavaScript, SQL, C++, and Python.


Computer Engineering vs Software Engineering

Basically, the main difference between these two is that computer engineering focuses more on the physical hardware systems, while software engineering focuses more on implementing, testing, and maintaining software.

Career Options

Careers with  computer engineering can range from hardware engineering, which includes designing, testing or analysing computer hardware, to information security which focuses on keeping data safe from hackers and malware. Computer engineer, network engineer and systems engineer are some career options for computer engineering graduates.

Computer science prepares students for in-demand digital tech careers in design and development, analysis, and management. As large industries integrate more complex technologies, the number of jobs for computer science majors increases. Examples of popular jobs for computer science majors include computer scientist (obviously ?), database administrator, systems analyst, cloud computing infrastructure, big data applications, and web developer.

Career options for software engineers often focus on data and programming. These roles can include mobile app developer, front-end engineer who focuses on the user interface for a website or application, or game engineer.

With the increasing popularity of the gig economy, digital technology graduates could even reap the benefits as a freelance or contract worker.


What Next

Knowing that just reading about the differences would not really assist future digital tech specialists to make an accurate decision between computer engineering vs computer science vs software engineering, UNIMY is organising a month-long list of activities to enable potential students to enjoy the journey to discover their interest, skills, and of course future rewarding professions.

Schedule an appointment with our UNIMY team to learn more about UNIMY’s programmes in these three fields or read more about the programmes’ curricula here.


7-8 March – Prepare for an IR 4.0 Career 1. Find out careers in IR 4.0 and how to get your dream job 2. Listen to a talk regarding the future of IR 4.0 Careers

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14-15 March – Cybersecurity Workshop 1. Participate in an exciting activity to explore concepts of cybersecurity 2. Listen to a talk regarding cybersecurity and its tech applications.

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21-22 March – Hour Of Code Session 1. Participate in an interactive coding activity that will introduce basic coding skills & get a #HourOfCode certificate instantly. 2. Listen to a coding expert talk about the principles of coding & its many applications.

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28-29 March – IoT Immersive Experience 1. Participate in a hands on activity to experience Internet of Things (IoT) 2. Listen to an IoT expert talk about the applications of IoT Technology.

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