Computer Science vs Computer Engineering

Computer Science vs Computer Engineering is a question that many interested in studying technology have at the time of enrolling in college.

As the technology area is very broad worldwide, it is common for those who have an affinity with this market to wonder what is the best way to go. And although these courses have similarities in name — and even in some disciplines — they have different proposals.

So that you are not in doubt about which one to choose, we have prepared an article with the main differences and similarities between them.


  • What does Computer Science study?
  • What is Computer Engineering?
  • Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Differences
  • Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: See the Similarities
  • Which one to choose: Computer Science or Computer Engineering?

What does Computer Science study?

In a very brief way, Computer Science is an area that studies the methods, computational tools, and techniques to automate processes, in addition to working on the development of solutions based on the use of digital processing.

In other words, the course will focus on the knowledge necessary for the development of systems that can be used in the most diverse areas, such as education, entertainment, industry, administration and medicine, for example.

What is Computer Engineering?

Computer Engineering, on the other hand, is a course that prepares the professional to work in the creation of software, but mainly hardware, which are digital physical equipment such as smartphones, computers and tablets.

It is possible that someone who has a degree in Computer Engineering will also work in the management of machine automation in an industry, for example, which also puts him on a robotics front.

Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: Differences

Now that you’ve seen a short summary of what each of the courses is, it’s time to know the differences between them. Check out the main ones below:

1. Computer Science focuses on software development

Both courses have Computing and Mathematics as their main pillars.

But while Computer Science focuses on the development of solutions through software systems, Computer Engineering focuses on the development of solutions that involve aspects more related to electrical and electronics.

That is, if you like Computing, but have difficulty, or little affinity, with the electronics and electrical part, you will do better in Computer Science. If you have an affinity with these areas, you may identify more with Computer Engineering.

2. Graduations with different durations

Both courses are bachelor’s degrees, but the duration is different.

The average duration of a Computer Science degree is 8 semesters, equivalent to 4 years of studies. Computer Engineering, on the other hand, has an average duration of 5 years.

Throughout this period, in both faculties, the student will go through theoretical classes, practical disciplines, and experiences in the market. In addition, the internship is mandatory and in some institutions, classes are taught full-time.

3. Computer Engineering curriculum addresses electronics

The Computer Engineering curriculum addresses electronics, but the Computer Science curriculum does not usually address this topic in the same depth.

That’s because Computer Engineering includes disciplines that span both electronics and computing — such as electronic circuits, digital systems, computer architecture, low-level programming, embedded systems, and many others.

In turn, the Computer Science course is a little more focused on programming, algorithms, data structures, operating systems, computer networks, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other areas of computing.

However, it is always important to remember that the curriculum of each course may vary according to the educational institution in which the course is offered.

So, it is recommended to check the specific subjects offered for each course in question.

4. Job Market Offers More Opportunities for Computer Engineers

As the activities that a computer engineer performs are very common to large companies – mainly because the presence of computer technology in the day-to-day is increasing – the performance of this professional ends up being wider.

That is, it is a little easier to find job opportunities in this profession.

This professional may, for example, work with hardware and software developers, in institutes and research centers, and with data analysis. It also finds opportunities in robotics, industrial automation, Internet of Things (IoT), telecommunications services, and other activities that require technical support.

Computer Science vs Computer Engineering: See the Similarities

Even with very different areas of expertise, the two courses also have similarities. Sometimes, they can even lead to similar jobs.

The languages of data modeling, robotics, computer networks, and programming, for example, will always have a direct application from computer scientists and engineers.

Another point in common between Computer Science and Computer Engineering are the calculus disciplines that are present in both courses. They are, in fact, extremely important — not to say fundamental — for the education of students.

Which one to choose: Computer Science or Computer Engineering?

Choosing between these two courses will depend on a few variables.

As previously stated, the main difference is that while Computer Engineering focuses on hardware — that is, the physical part of the equipment — Computer Science focuses on software, which is the logical part of a computer.

So, to decide which is the best option between the two, you first need to define what your career goals are.

If you like to know how a computer works and want to work not only on building one, but also on developing accessories and parts for them, the Computer Engineering course is the best option.

But if you have a desire to work in database analysis or in the creation of applications and programs, for example, a degree in Computer Science can help you achieve your professional goals.

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