10 answers

information technology or computer engineering , which of these is harder in math?

Asked Tagbilaran City, Central Visayas, Philippines

im now a student , i love computer works but in math im very low beacause i hate math anymore...... guys pls help me! #computer-engineer

10 answers

David’s Answer

Updated Manassas, Virginia

There's a lot of things you can do with computers that don't necessarily require math proper. That said, I would like to point out that I'm not that great at math, and I'm a software engineer.

Personally, I would emphasize the difference between math and logic, even though the two are heavily related. With a lot of computer-related positions, you're going to need good problem-solving skills, and the ability to predict what a computer will do with a particular set of instructions. Computers don't understand human languages very well (unless it's a search engine, Watson, or voice-driven system), nor do they have a lot of emotion, so that leaves logic, which computer can do very well, and so do the people operating them (typically).

That out of the way, let's talk about the various careers that exist. Bear in mind, I don't have direct day-to-day exposure with the work required of all of these fields, but I have worked with people in them, or heard a decent amount about them. If I don't know much, I'll try to avoid communicating anything I'm not reasonably sure about.

  • Software Engineering/Computer Science: These are the guys who make the computer do stuff. Quite skilled at logic, but also memorizing how large systems work, and how new data or time passing can change that behavior. The math-heavy side comes in with the more technically inclined companies, who might need to figure out things like how exactly to prevent errors while data is sent over the internet, and what the cost of doing so is. For the rest of us, we just borrow from the smart guys who have already figured it out. Computer science tends to be more strongly associated with math than software engineering, but the difference is really hard to define.

  • IT/Helpdesk: Helping people use the tools they have, maybe setting up/maintaining office networks or infrastructure. Lots of remembering how big, complex systems that other people created work, troubleshooting issues, maintenance work, ...

  • Ops: A lot of internet companies like Google and Facebook have very large teams whose job is to keep the site up, and the network connected. This is a harder version of IT/Helpdesk, with sometimes stranger hours. It's pretty common for Ops to have tasks that look like software engineering, but the needs are often different enough that not just any software engineer will be good for ops' needs consistently.

  • Application security, OpSec, White-hats, others: If you haven't heard about Facebook's red team, go check them out. These guys know how applications work in detail, and the various ways those workings can be mis-used. On the red team side, they then go on to figure out just how much damage can be cause that way. On the other side of the wall, the defenders (sometimes "blue team") use this information to build better defenses against attackers, or to figure out if an application is truly secure, and how to improve it.

  • Quality Assurance/Quality Engineering: Typically treat applications as a mostly solid box, kinda like IT. These guys focus on making sure an application works, and if so, how it could be broken. Logic and math both help to an extent, but QAs are often able to predict really well what your average computer user will try to do.

  • Sales engineer, services, etc.: There are a lot of positions in companies that are essentially interact with a customer, gather requirements, and setup/customize a complex system make it look like the complex system will fit their needs. Depending on the company, this can look like IT or software engineering, but there's more deadline pressure, more social skills involved, and less technical skills.

  • Computer engineering: Near as I can tell, this term actually applies mostly to embedded development. Think things like FitBit, smartphones, laser tag systems, and more. The common theme here is they straddle the line between software and circuits. I don't know how much math is required, but this is almost certainly going to be more detailed than most software engineering jobs are. Most software engineers have to worry about their language, some frameworks, and that's most of it. Computer engineers would have to worry about the processor, the OS in detail, their programming language, and whatever other application-level stuff existed.

Hope this gave you a decent overview of what all is out there.

ya you have given true knowledge....Thank you

Todd’s Answer

Updated Gainesville, Florida

Echoing the advice from Gary and Jessie: IT is easier and there's less math.

But if you hate math, then either you haven't found the RIGHT math, or you haven't found the right math tutor. I thought I hated math. In fact, I became a communications major in college because I thought I hated math, and it had the lowest math requirement other than criminal justice -- COM = "College of Optional Math", right?

It turns out math is pretty important to communications and marketing. Today's comm. and marketing majors can really boost their careers by adding some math chops so they can better measure the success of their marketing efforts.

It also turns out I've come to LOVE math! How did I learn to love it? I took an astronomy class that I thought would be all about stargazing and it turned out to be about calculating the distance to a star, calculating the black box radiation, etc. But because I was using math to study something of interest, I got into it.

Joshua, what are your favorite subjects in school? What do you like to do after school? Find a tutor who can help you find some relevant, applied math challenges related to areas of interest. Even though IT has lower math requirements, maybe there are some math challenges there. For example:

How long does it take to crack a password of a certain size on an average laptop computer today? Given a certain Internet bandwidth speed restriction and a and an unlimited Netflix streaming account, how many people can stream movies at the same time before the movies start to buffer and pause?

David’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

To add on to this, in my experience as a Software Engineer helping recruit for both AT&T and Zynga, while the math is more difficult for a degree like Computer Engineering or Computer Science, both are much more favorable viewed in industry than IT for the very reason that the students who come out of the first two degrees have gone through such rigorous course work. So, if you're able to manage the math, you'll find it much easier in my experience to get a job with the first two degrees (and especially Computer Science if you're interested in software engineering).

Gary Stephen’s Answer

Updated Harlingen, Texas

Hi, Of the 2 areas you asked about, I would say Computer Engineering is harder in math. But, if you are really interested in an area that is math intensive, I would suggest working on your math with a tutor (online, in class or in person). When I was younger, I stayed away from certain subjects that were hard only to learn later in life that they were pretty easy once I tried to learn them.
Information Technology is a good and big field with a lot of opportunity as well and tends to be less math intensive ---you could do networking, programming, support and a lot more in information technology. Good luck! :)

Cameron’s Answer

Updated Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Hi Joshua,

Computer engineering probably requires more a bit more math, but not as much as computer science does, and by all means, do not let the amount of math steer you away from doing it if you're passionate about it! Computer engineering really doesn't require much complex math in the day-to-day work, and pretty much all science and tech related fields are going to require you to take at least the calculus series in college, if you haven't already. Computer science probably requires more linear algebra and computer engineering will require more differential equations, but part of learning and college is being challenged, and even though they may seem difficult right now, if you stick with it I guarantee that you will get through it and will enjoy a very meaningful career. Don't let a few greek letters and funny math symbols come between you and your dreams!

Hope this helps!


Jessie’s Answer

Updated Secunderabad, Telangana, India

Yes I agree with Gary Petito. Compared to Information technology, computer engineering is harder in math. But you love computers. So I am suggesting you to work on mathematics from basic concepts. Then only you will be success in mathematics. If you are looking for top computer engineering colleges, then go through this link for further more information: https://www.univariety.com/career/Computer-Engineering/e5947911

John’s Answer

Updated Schertz, Texas

Information Technology will require less math than Computer Engineering. I have degrees in Information Technology and Computer Science. Computer Science required more math, so much so that I was able to get a minor in mathematics by taking an extra class. Computer Engineering requires more and higher math.

Think of Computer Engineering as the electronic and component knowledge to actually build computer systems - make them perform better and more efficient - think Electronic Engineer for computers, designing circuitry, logic gates, doing the math to get more out of Processor designs, etc

Computer Science to create programs and algorithms i.e. software to execute work - Think Software Developer, Scrum Master, SDLM etc

Information Technology is more of the operations, how technology can benefit an organization, become well versed in how common products and software work within an Enterprise - Think System Administrator or IT manager, etc

Charles M’s Answer

Updated Allen, Texas

I can't add much to what has already been said. but here are my thoughts. I have a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and math was very hard for me. There is so much higher level math in EE it makes your head spin. if you can get it, that 's great. if not, try something else.

Anyway, Mathematics is a language to communicate what is going on. you need to learn it to know what's going on.

When you go to the store, you use simple math to know what the total is, what the discounts are, what the tax is. when you borrow or invest money, you use math to know how much money you will need to pay every month or how much you will have at the end of your term

In the physical world, many things can be modeled with a mathematical equation.

Motion can be described by acceleration, velocity and distance and there is a mathematical relationship between those quantities. Given an acceleration, you can tell what the speed is at any given time and what the distance traveled so far at any given time.

So the more you understand math, the more you understand world, I highly encourage to learn as much math as you can. Then you will understand the world better and be able to get all the esoteric math jokes.

here's one I just made up.

The mother says, "Richie, each your whole wheat toast, there's lots of complex carbohydrates in there"
the mother goes away and comes back and Richie says, "I ate part of it. " the mother says, But I still see the whole piece on your plate, Richie says, "That's the real part, I ate the imaginary part so I did get part of those complex carbohydrates you were talking about."

dumb, I know.

here's another one

What did i say to pi? Be rational. What did pi say back to i? Get real.

James’s Answer

Updated Houston, Texas

It really depends on what you would like to do with computers and there are many options. If you would like to program software then Computer Science/Engineering is the path you would need to take and it does require math typically up to Calculus 2. You will also be required to take some math based physics classes. If you go this route, you will discover that writing code is very much like solving a math problem. If you would like to work on the hardware side as a network engineer, systems administrator or a project management, then go Information Technology. This degree is usually more business focused, so your math requirements are less. The Information Technology degree is the easier path, but if you're set on writing code, go Computer Science/Engineering. Good Luck!

Jack’s Answer

Updated Bradenton, Florida

All of these previous responses are excellent advice and information. The only thing I would add is to make sure your formal training includes studies in probability and statistics. Yes, I know the Greek letters sometimes look intimidating, but if your interests lie in Systems Engineering, understanding and predicting how seemingly random events (transaction arrival times for instance) occur will help enormously. In the sub-specialty of System Engineering "traffic and congestion engineering" the mathematical models for queuing is essential. As an example, search recent papers on the "Buffer Bloat" topic and specifically those papers from Jim Gettys (A former colleague of mine).