• difference between computer science and software engineering

    SIMILARITIES, DIFFERENCES AND OVERLAP

    To begin, it is beneficial to understand how these two fields of study are similar. Ultimately, both are concerned with computer software and virtually everything related. For example, those with degrees in either computer science or software engineering may specialize in programming language development, systems software, software architecture, or application development. The focus of these two fields of study overlaps in that both require the student to develop an intimate knowledge of computers, and especially computer software and its various applications.

    Of course, there are differences between the two paths, although no two computer professionals explains those differences in the same way. One way to understand the differences is to examine two specific words within the given nomenclature; namely, ‘engineer’ and ‘science’ (or ‘scientist’). Engineers, by nature, are tasked with developing solutions to problems or creating more efficient processes by using tools already in existence. By extension, software engineers often find themselves creating new software by utilizing existing languages or established practices already in use. Contrary to this, scientists often hone their expertise on research and developing (and pushing) the boundaries of their given field. As such, computer scientists may assist in the creation of new algorithms or language types that will eventually be put in use to create software.

    Many agree that a degree in computer science best prepares a student for abstract problem solving and research on the development of computer technology, while a software engineering degree provides a student with knowledge regarding the software development process and how to apply this as an engineer. That said, the two fields of study are actually overlapping circles on a Venn diagram, where each does indeed emphasize different areas of software development (one more practical, the other more theoretical), with a common focus on achieving a depth of computer and coding knowledge.

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