Software engineering or Computer Science

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Gunroar:Cannon()
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Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Gunroar:Cannon() »

Hello there, question kind of unrelated to love2d. :ultrahappy:
Between software engineering and computer science courses in varsity which one is better for me? I've done some research but still I'm not sure, though I know their differences a little, I know that software engineering is a field under computer science but more focused. Can a computer science degree get you a job as a software engineer? I read something like that, and if so then why software engineering. Do they earn more?
I like coding and AI and learning different coding techniques and math, but not physics that much(though I still like it :3 ). Are you like a supervisor as a computer scientist and you just listen to people as a software engineer? Does computer science have any practical at all. Do I still get to learn AI in software engineering? What do they mean by learning about hardware in computer science(like hard-hard ware, processors and screens? Or like processors that do or and and and stuff(not a typo :rofl: ))
Which one has better jobs? :nyu:
Which course is ... funner :nyu:
Thnx for your time...
me: I don't always code but when I do it's done flawlessly.
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 function Gunroar:Cannon()
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Davidobot
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Davidobot »

Hi,

I guess I'm semi-qualified to answer this question. I'm currently in my 3rd (and final) year of undergrad at the University of Cambridge doing Computer Science. I have internship experience doing both ML/AI research (which is the route that CS allows for that SE doesn't), and software engineering at large companies. I also have independent research experience and am trying to publish a few papers at some ML conferences.

My general stance on university education is as follows: do as pure of a subject as possible. Don't go for hyped-up or specialised courses like "data science" or "big data" or "AI blah blah" -- university should be (in my opinion) about broadening your horizons with enough depth to teach yourself how to learn more later on. If you do CS will get exposure to basically everything SE could offer you and more.

There is no such thing as a "better job" - it's all about what you prefer. I honestly didn't like SE jobs too much even though I enjoy hobby programming. I just don't get too much satisfaction from implementing client requests of things that already exist in various shapes and forms. I found that doing AI/security research is so much more rewarding personally and wish to continue down this path in the future. I also like entrepreneurship, and the breadth of CS gave me a diverse enough toolbelt of skills that I can (and probably will) work on my own startup.

My hardware course (digital electronics) at uni consisted of playing around with SystemVerilog and some FPGA boards. It was good fun. There was a decent amount of theory there too - timing, concurrency and whatnot. There is a really neat hardware security course offered at Masters level at Cambridge as well that consists of looking at integrated circuits under microscopes and stuff like that.

Learning about what processors do would usually fall under concurrent and distributed system courses and system architecture courses. Different universities have different levels of "practicality". In the UK for example, Imperial and Oxford CS courses are considered more practical than the Cambridge course.

Feel free to ask me anything else. It would help to know which level of education you are at and on which continent at least to give more concrete advice if you'd like it.

Disclaimer: I haven't been to unis other than Cambridge, nor do I have formal education outside the UK (and UK-like) education system(s). I do keep in touch with friends doing other courses at other unis, and do admissions tutoring.

EDIT: I didn't answer why people do SE over CS - some people don't want the breadth of knowledge and prefer specialising. Nothing wrong with that at all. Going straight into SE also means that you can potentially start working on your career earlier and build up a portfolio of work, which is important for the sector.
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Xii
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Xii »

Computer science is research.
Software engineering is craft.

Computer scientists try to understand computers. It's somewhat theoretical.
Software engineers build software to solve practical problems.

Being skilled at one makes you better at the other.
When you understand computers, it's easier to build software.
When you're good at building software, it's easier to understand how the computer underneath works.
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Gunroar:Cannon()
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Gunroar:Cannon() »

Davidobot wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:46 am ...
Thnx for the detailed answer. I'm leaning on computer science.
Xii wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:13 pm Computer science is research.
Software engineering is craft.

Computer scientists try to understand computers. It's somewhat theoretical.
Software engineers build software to solve practical problems.

Being skilled at one makes you better at the other.
When you understand computers, it's easier to build software.
When you're good at building software, it's easier to understand how the computer underneath works.
So computer science doesn't involve any coding in the course at all?
Also I've heard good of computer science, does any one have personal good experience/regard of/on software engineering?
me: I don't always code but when I do it's done flawlessly.
also me:

Code: Select all

 function Gunroar:Cannon()
    for x, enemy in ipairs(self.allEnemies) do
        self:Cannon(enemy)
    end
end

Code: Select all

Lua Error: [file Gunroar.lua]:18: C stack overflow
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Davidobot
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Davidobot »

Gunroar:Cannon() wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:09 pm So computer science doesn't involve any coding in the course at all?
Also I've heard good of computer science, does any one have personal good experience/regard of/on software engineering?
No, CS definitely assumes some knowledge of coding. Theory isn't too useful (nor can you prove your theory in practice) if you can't implement it.

I like to think of programming similarly to painting. When you take an art degree, you'll be learning a lot about techniques, paint chemical composition, settings, how various environmental factors physically and visually affect your work and so on. There is an underlying assumption that you can put these skills into practice to some degree, be that through paint or pencil. A lot of art school graduates actually end up proficient (but not professional) at many art medium. I think that's a good analogy for CS too - you won't be as good at implementing a specific thing X in a specific (soon-to-be-outdated, mind you) framework Y, but you'll have way more thinking/general skill and theory behind you. You'll be able to pick up new frameworks/ideas/languages way easier with a good theoretical background.
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by togFox »

My SE course tried to jam in as many different languages as possible over three years - including mathematical languages.
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by MrFariator »

I've got a master's degree in Computer Science (or Information Processing Sciences, to be more exact), with a minor in software production. For a two to three year period I worked as a software designer/engineer, though my job title was pretty loosely defined. I was mostly doing fullstack mobile development. Often times it's not necessarily about the degree you have, but just having some proof of qualifications (portfolio, examples of previous work, etc). Some people never even finish their degrees, and instead wind up getting into workforce. After all, if they manage to prove they've got what it takes, and the job offered pays well, why not?

Much like Davidobot put it, University basically gives you the opportunity to learn a wide assortment of things, whether it is specializing in one field, or learning about things more generally. It's also a good opportunity to get some networking going, who knows what doors that may eventually open up.
Gunroar:Cannon() wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:09 pm So computer science doesn't involve any coding in the course at all?
Also I've heard good of computer science, does any one have personal good experience/regard of/on software engineering?
Compsci is often more theoretical, but there's still a fair few opportunities for coding. The main portions of my university classes were pretty light on it (I had to write more essays than I would've liked), but we had fair few projects, and general programming classes on different topics. It just depends on what kind of classes are presented and available.
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Gunroar:Cannon()
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Gunroar:Cannon() »

Wow, some really helpful posts. Thnx. I'm leaning on computer science but there's still hope there for SE...
Davidobot wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:42 pm ...
I like to think of programming similarly to painting.
...
That illustration is really helpful, thnx.
togFox wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:58 pm My SE course tried to jam in as many different languages as possible over three years - including mathematical languages.
Did you enjoy it?
MrFariator wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:48 am Compsci is often more theoretical, but there's still a fair few opportunities for coding. The main portions of my university classes were pretty light on it (I had to write more essays than I would've liked), but we had fair few projects, and general programming classes on different topics. It just depends on what kind of classes are presented and available.
What type of essays :o
me: I don't always code but when I do it's done flawlessly.
also me:

Code: Select all

 function Gunroar:Cannon()
    for x, enemy in ipairs(self.allEnemies) do
        self:Cannon(enemy)
    end
end

Code: Select all

Lua Error: [file Gunroar.lua]:18: C stack overflow
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Davidobot
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by Davidobot »

MrFariator wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:48 am Compsci is often more theoretical, but there's still a fair few opportunities for coding. The main portions of my university classes were pretty light on it (I had to write more essays than I would've liked), but we had fair few projects, and general programming classes on different topics. It just depends on what kind of classes are presented and available.
In contrast, I didn't have to write a single essay in my time here and I don't think I ever will, including during my Master's. :crazy:

The best way to see what's available... is to check what's available: https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/teaching/2021/

Here's the course list for the ongoing year for CS at Cam. Part 1A is first year, 1B second, II - third, III/MPhil ACS is Master's.
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Re: Software engineering or Computer Science

Post by MrFariator »

Gunroar:Cannon() wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:06 am What type of essays :o
Depended on the class. Some required to simply explain a subject, while others asked to elaborate specific processes relating to software development in some manner. Nothing out of the ordinary if you have ever written an essay for homework. My bachelor's thesis was also a literature review, and my master's thesis involved writing a literature review alongside the actual research I did.
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