software engineering Vs Computer Science

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by vvmac, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. vvmac macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    Hi every one,

    I am an Asian immigrated to NZ, now i'm living in NZ.

    I have very strong interest in programming.

    I'm gonna study at Auckland University, I got an offer for BSc computer science and at the same time i got an offer for BEng Software Engineering.

    I'm in the trouble of making desicion whether i should study software enginnering or computer science.

    Normally, when i discuss this with some ones they always bring the time length to discuss with me and tell me to take into account because, BSc CS will take only 3 yrs in total and BEng SE will take 4 yrs in total. But for my case i completely don't care about the time length. What i really care is only the opportunities to be employed and well promoted.

    So,any ones can give me some suggestions please, in the real job market world (especially job market in NZ and Australia), does it matter to have SE degree or CS degree?

    If you were an employer or if you were a recruitment agent, and you are looking for a programmer, then 2 potential and fresh graduate candidates come along, one is SE degree and another one is CS degree and they both have the same qualification and same best grade in the whole academic years. which one would you prefer?

    all your comments are highly appreciated.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If a hiring manager is serious about hiring a programmer, a series of technical questions should be enough to make a clear distinction about the better candidate.
  3. vvmac, Dec 21, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011

    vvmac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    Thx miles01110, for your answers.

    So, you mean the hiring manager will ask the candidates a series of questions and evaluate on candidates' answers rather than evaluate on the degree, right?

    So, it means, it doesn't matter for any degree i'll take. it will not be that helpful?
  4. MarkoMacola macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    You are more likely to pass those questions after a software engeneering course ;)

    S.eng is engeneering of software, its programming. Programming, communication systems, databases, algorythms, logics, data security, webapps, operating systems etc.

    C.sci is all of the sciences connected to computers, in europe we call that Informatics. So there you will lears about electronics, data integration, binary, basic programming, some more advanced (not much), networks etc.

    In real world:
    after s.eng, you are a software engeneer.
    after c.sci, you are a computer administrator.

    Ofcourse, bear in mind that the diploma is not all of it, you can study anthropology, and still get a programmers job afterwards. The only thing that matters is your interests and skills. After s.eng, you will develop those skills to the fullest, but it doesn't mean that with c.sci+ a lot of work you wont be able to do the same.

  5. cqexbesd macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2009
    I'm not sure that will be the case. I highly recommend you look at the syllabus's of each course at the university you are considering. Coming out of a comp sci degree, in theory, you should be a computer scientist - or at least as much as a regular science graduate is. IRL that may not be the case but thats why you should check what the course covers.

    I have given technical interviews (i.e. asked the technical questions an earlier poster mentioned to candidates for posts) as well as been on the candidate side a few times as well. The questions varied based on the exact role and the vagaries of the interviewer more than anything. As for promotion - that really comes down to how well you go once you've got the job and without knowing what your first job will entail I can only give the generic advice of being enthusiastic and trying to understand how things work - technical and non-technical.

    I have worked with people with all sorts of qualifications - from high school to PhDs - in a variety of subject areas. A basis in computing undoubtedly helps but the exact flavour doesn't seem to matter that much to those who are interested. I once worked with a guy with a degree in music who started as a developer and became a manager - and he was very good at it (being a manager and music) as well.


  6. MarkoMacola macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Exactly what i aimed to say.

    C.sci will give you better overall knowledge of computers in all areas, especially electronics, math and software, while s.eng is specialised mostly on software (tho' you do learn some other stuff in small quantities).

    Of course, check the silabuses (what the course covers, list of literature, themes etc.)
  7. macsmurf macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    You have the wrong idea of what computer science entails. Computer science is usually a more theoretical approach to computing whereas software engineering is a more practical approach. Electronics is not part of computer science at all. Math is. Software is part of pretty much any course on any university today so that is not terrible specific.

    In my country most computer scientist end up as software developers. I would guess software engineers end up there too.

    This is a typical computer science course (although not necessarily undergraduate)
  8. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    Denver/Boulder, CO
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    I'd pay less attention to the name of the course and more attention to what they'll actually be teaching you, see if you can get module descriptions, syllabus details 'n that.

    My degree is called "Computer Systems and Software Engineering" but it's essentially just a computer science course with an extra year to turn it into an MEng.

    While strictly speaking software engineering and compsci should be reasonably distinct from one another in the real world they seem to blend in fairly arbitrary ways, you have to learn a lot of theory to be a good software engineer and you need to know how to engineer software to be a good computer scientist.
  10. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    In the US, typically what you described as software engineering is computer science, and what you described as computer science is computer engineering. But perhaps it's different in other parts of the world.

    They're so intertwined though that if you go down one route, you are going to learn a lot about the other. At the university I went to, most students double-majored in comp-sci and comp-e because there's so much overlap between the two that they usually only needed an extra semester to complete both degrees.

    The best thing to do is talk to an academic adviser at the university, tell them what you want to do, and they'll steer you in the right direction. But if I were hiring two people, one's a SE and the other's a CS, I wouldn't even look at their major, I would hire based off how well they did in the interview.

    Besides, out in the real world, it doesn't even matter so much. I'm a programmer (although I describe myself as a software engineer when I want to sound important :D). I have a BS in Management and Information Sciences. I work with people who were CS and CE majors who also do programming. Think I even have a math major on my team (who I guess gained programming experience elsewhere).
  11. vvmac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    sounds so impressive. I like all of you guys' idea, i'll keep them in mine and think carefully and decide it clearly.

    thanks for your contributes.....
  12. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    At my school, computer science is much more heavily programming focused, while computer engineering partially shifts its focus onto the hardware elements.

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