What Is Difference Between Computer Engineering and Software Engineering?

Patrick Burnett

When it comes to the field of engineering, two disciplines that are often confused with each other are Computer Engineering and Software Engineering. Both of these fields deal with computers and technology, but there are some key differences between them. In this article, we will explore the difference between Computer Engineering and Software Engineering.

What is Computer Engineering?

Computer Engineering is a discipline that combines elements of both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It involves designing and developing computer systems and hardware components, such as microprocessors, circuit boards, and networks. Computer Engineers work on developing new computer technologies that can be used in a wide range of applications such as gaming, healthcare, aerospace industry, communication systems, automotive industry etc.

Computer Engineers are responsible for designing and developing computer hardware components such as motherboards, processors, memory units etc. They also design the software that controls these hardware components. Additionally they work on creating new computer peripherals like printers or keyboards.

What is Software Engineering?

Software Engineering is a discipline that deals with the development of software systems. Software engineers use engineering principles to design, develop and test software applications for different platforms like desktops or mobile devices.

Software engineers are responsible for designing high-level architecture of software systems as well as implementing it by writing code in various programming languages like Python or Java. They also create algorithms for various applications such as image processing or data analysis.

Main Differences:

  1. Focus: The main focus of computer engineering is on the design and development of computer hardware components whereas software engineering focuses on developing software applications.
  2. Educational Requirements: Computer Engineers usually have an educational background in Electrical Engineering whereas Software Engineers usually have a background in Computer Science.
  3. Job Roles: Computer engineers can work in various fields related to designing hardware components whereas software engineers usually work in software development companies or IT departments of large organizations.
  4. Skills: Computer engineers require skills in electronic design automation tools, computer architecture, and digital logic design whereas software engineers require skills in programming languages, software development methodologies and algorithms.


In conclusion, both Computer Engineering and Software Engineering are important fields with different specializations. While computer engineering focuses on the development of hardware components, software engineering is focused on developing software applications.

The key difference between these two disciplines is the type of work they do and the skills required for each field. It’s essential to understand these differences if you’re considering a career in either field.