Is It Better to Major in Computer Science or Software Engineering?

Denise Wilkinson

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry, you may be wondering whether it is better to major in computer science or software engineering. While both fields share a lot of similarities, there are also some key differences that may influence your decision.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems. This field focuses on theoretical concepts such as algorithms, data structures, and programming languages. Computer science majors learn how to design and develop software programs, analyze algorithms for efficiency and correctness, and work with complex data structures.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering, on the other hand, is a more applied field that focuses on the practical aspects of developing software. Software engineering majors learn how to apply computer science concepts to real-world problems, develop software requirements, design software architectures, and test and maintain software systems.

The Differences Between Computer Science and Software Engineering

While computer science and software engineering share many similarities, there are also some key differences that set them apart:

  • Focus: Computer science has a more theoretical focus while software engineering is more applied.
  • Courses: Computer science courses tend to focus on algorithms, data structures, theory of computation, programming languages etc., while software engineering courses focus on requirements gathering, design patterns etc.
  • Career Paths: While both degrees can lead to similar career paths such as software developer or systems analyst but computer scientists can also become researchers or professors whereas most software engineers end up working in industry.

Which Major Should You Choose?

Ultimately, the choice between majoring in computer science or software engineering depends on your interests and career goals. If you enjoy theoretical problem-solving and want to pursue a career in research or academia then you should consider computer science. On the other hand, if you enjoy building real-world software systems and want to work in industry then you should consider software engineering.


In conclusion, both computer science and software engineering are excellent majors for students interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry. While there are differences between the two fields, they both offer rewarding career paths with ample opportunities for growth and advancement. It’s important to carefully consider your interests and goals before choosing a major to ensure that you select the one that is best suited to your individual needs.