Difference between software engineering and computer science


Software engineering and computer science are two fields that have often been considered mistakenly. Although both are related to computers, they are different in every aspect. People and students mistake both fields for one another while taking admission and end up in the wrong field; therefore, it is better first to research the computer sciences versus software engineering. Now, we are going to computer science versus software engineering based on definition, education, knowledge in pursuit of degree, hardware and algorithm, etc.

computer science vs software engineering

Computer Science VS Software Engineering based on definition:

Computer science deals with all the aspects of computers. In theory, software engineering is a subset of computer science. Still, it has been said that computer science deals with the hardware aspect of the computer, whereas software engineering deals with the software development and maintenance of the computer’s software.

Computer science vs software engineering literal differences based on definition are as follows.

Computer sciences have a broad approach to studying objectives, principles, and the use of computers that includes both theory and application. It is based on the understanding and implementation of abstract and concrete knowledge. Software engineering deals with applying engineering processes to the invention, maintenance, and design of software for a very different purpose.

Computer science VS software engineering based on the department is part of:

It comprises very little regarding which department they are in an educational institution. Computer science is contained in the engineering department in four-year universities while primarily ‘housed’ in the engineering department.

Computer science vs software engineering based on subject:

Computer science vs software engineering has very different academic courses. The following are the names of courses in computer science vs software engineering.

Computer science, in general, curriculum courses may focus on 18 different knowledge areas, as described by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM):

  • Algorithms and complexity
  • Architecture and organization
  • Computational science
  • Discrete structures
  • Graphics and visualization
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Information assurance and security
  • Information management
  • Intelligent systems
  • Networking and communications
  • Operating systems
  • Platform-based development
  • Parallel and distributed computing
  • Programming languages
  • Software development fundamentals
  • Software engineering
  • Systems fundamentals
  • Social issues and professional practice

The following are the courses in software engineering.

According to Software Engineering 2014, a set of curriculum guidelines developed by the Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula, the IEEE Computer Society, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), studies in software engineering will focus on specific core topics, including:

Computing essentials;

  • Mathematical and engineering fundamentals;
  • Professional practice;
  • Software modeling and analysis;
  • Requirements analysis and specification;
  • Software design.
  • Software verification and validation.
  • Software process.
  • Software quality and security.

Computer science VS software engineering based on training:

Computer science versus software engineering, in terms of training, is a little hard on the algorithm side, as stated in the 2013 computer science curricula. In contrast, in software engineering, students like to take classes. Still, there are other points of the degree. Hardware training is not a part of software engineering, but students have some knowledge as they work. In the computer science versus software engineering field, a student of computer science will know more about hardware. Their training would include some courses related to both hardware and software. Computer science vs. software engineering has sometimes a course called software management course is optional or part of a curriculum. Still, it is a must to study courses in software engineering.

Computer science vs software engineering prepare for which kind of occupation:

Now, this is where the difference becomes a little too visible as computer science vs software engineering prepared us for different kinds of jobs. Computer science prepares us for the job of computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, computer programmers, systems analysts, information security analysts, software developers, web developers, etc.. Software engineering prepares us for the jobs of software development, computer network architecture, computer systems analysis, web development, and information research.

Both fields have emerging occupation; computer science has the emerging occupation of cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence, application development, and forensic analysis, which will grow even more in the future, and software engineering, which have artificial intelligence, app development, and software development, Etc. as its emerging occupations.


The last deciding factor that comes to our mind while determining computer science vs. software engineering is the salaries of which fields pay more money than the other. A computer scientist earns an average median salary of 39 thousand USD per year, which, of course, is more or less in different companies and countries. In contrast, a software engineer earns an average median pay of 102,280 USD annually.


Computer science vs. software engineering cannot be considered a better or less field because there are both pros and cons to both field; one can only see one’s interest in the relative field and choose what suit him best.

If you have any questions or want to discuss something about your career with me, you can inform me in the comments.

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