Is Software Engineer the Same as Computer Science?

Denise Wilkinson

In the field of technology, there are several terms that are often used interchangeably, causing confusion among many. One such example is the terms “Software Engineer” and “Computer Science”. While both of these terms seem related to each other, they are actually two distinct disciplines that have their own unique characteristics.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is the study of computing technology and its theoretical foundations. It involves the development of algorithms, programming languages, and hardware design.

Computer science focuses on the fundamental principles of computation and information processing. It deals with a wide range of topics such as artificial intelligence, computer architecture, data structures, algorithms, software engineering, and more.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is the process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining software applications. It involves applying engineering principles to software development to ensure that it is efficient, reliable, and scalable. Software engineers use various programming languages to develop software applications that meet specific requirements.

The Differences between Computer Science and Software Engineering

While computer science and software engineering share some similarities in terms of principles and techniques used in developing software applications, they have distinct differences:

  • Focus: Computer science focuses on the theoretical aspects of computing technology while software engineering focuses on practical application.
  • Skills: Computer scientists need to have strong mathematical skills to develop algorithms while software engineers need excellent problem-solving skills to design efficient software applications.
  • Goal: The goal of computer science is to study computation while the goal of software engineering is to create high-quality software products.
  • Application: Computer science finds its application in various fields such as medicine, finance, education while software engineering finds its application mainly in industries that require custom-built software applications such as banking, e-commerce, and gaming.


In conclusion, while computer science and software engineering are related to each other, they are two distinct disciplines with different focuses, goals, and applications. Computer science is more theoretical in nature and focuses on the fundamental principles of computing while software engineering is more practical and focuses on designing efficient software applications.