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What's the practical difference between a Computer Science degree and a Software Engineering degree?

I'm trying to narrow down my choice for a major, and am wondering what I could expect to be the difference between the two on a practical level? Classes, job opportunities, etc. #computer-science #software-engineering

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kunal’s Answer

Software Engineering at glance
Software Architecture
Project Management
Technical Planning
Risk Management
Software Assurance


Computer Science at glance
Algorithms
Theories of Computation
Compilers
Operating Systems
Artificial Intelligence


Content differences:
Computer science focuses on foundations of computing including, algorithms, programming languages, theories of computing, artificial intelligence, , and hardware design.
Software engineering, on the other hand, focuses on technical and managerial leadership for large and complex systems. Its foundation of enduring engineering principles will support a lifetime of practice amid emerging technologies.


On the delivery side:
Computer science programs tend to concentrate on individual assignments, dealing with the development of systems such as databases, compilers, and operating systems.
But software engineering is anchored in real-world problems. Because software engineers apply professional judgment acquired through practical experience, their training is hands-on, project focused and team-centered.

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Eric’s Answer

In my experience, the two are relatively similar at an undergrad level. In theory, Computer Science is more of a specialized branch of mathematics and is highly theoretical, but this rarely comes out while getting a Bachelor's degree. Many colleges, such as mine, only offer a Computer Science degree, and if you want to be a Software Engineer that is what you study. Most companies will read either degree as meaning that you are a reasonable candidate for a programming job.

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David’s Answer

Most employers think of them as synonymous. In theory Computer science is the theory and optimization of computer and software systems, whereas software engineering is practice of using engineering priniciples to create software applications and systems.

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Christopher’s Answer

I chose a Software Engineering program for my undergraduate work. What I found was that there was a heavier focus on engineering in general. For example, I was required to take Physics for Engineers, which had a much heavier focus on use of Calculus. In addition, I was required to take a number of Electrical Engineering courses that dealt with the mathematics involved in circuit design. What I found advantageous about these classes was that I gained a much deeper understanding of how the underlying hardware was actually working when it was executing the code that I had developed. From a software development perspective, I am not sure that the curriculum was significantly different. That said, my program held a dual accreditation, so that may have driven the focus on algorithms and data structures. I would say that unless you have a specific interest in hardware, either program will prepare you for your career. Just make sure that you learn Big O notation, data structures, algorithms, dynamic programming, etc.
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