What Is the Difference Between Computer Science and Software Development?

Tyler Yates

If you’re considering a career in the tech industry, you may be wondering about the differences between computer science and software development. While both fields are closely related, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we’ll explore these differences in detail.

Computer Science

Computer science is a broad field that deals with the theoretical and practical aspects of computing. It involves everything from programming languages and algorithms to hardware design and artificial intelligence. Computer scientists are responsible for designing and building new technologies that solve complex problems.


To become a computer scientist, you typically need a degree in computer science or a related field. This involves studying advanced math, programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and other technical subjects. Computer science programs often include coursework in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer graphics.

Career Paths

Career paths for computer scientists vary widely depending on their interests and expertise. Some computer scientists work on developing new programming languages or writing algorithms for complex problems. Others might focus on building large-scale software systems or working on cutting-edge research projects.

Software Development

Software development is a subset of computer science that deals specifically with building software applications. This can involve everything from mobile apps to enterprise-level software systems used by large corporations.


While formal education is not always required for software development roles, having a degree in computer science or a related field can be beneficial. Developers need to have strong programming skills and be familiar with various tools and technologies used in software development.

Career Paths

There are many different career paths available within software development. Some developers specialize in front-end web development using technologies like HTML/CSS/JavaScript, while others might focus on back-end development using languages like Java or Python. There are also roles for full-stack developers who work on both the front-end and back-end of applications.

Key Differences

The key difference between computer science and software development lies in their focus. Computer science is a broad field that deals with all aspects of computing, while software development is a specific subset that deals with building software applications. Computer scientists tend to focus on solving complex problems using advanced algorithms and technologies, while software developers tend to focus on building functional applications that meet specific business needs.


In summary, computer science and software development are closely related but distinct fields. Both offer rewarding career paths for people interested in technology, but they require different skill sets and expertise. Whether you choose to pursue a degree in computer science or start your career in software development, there are plenty of opportunities available to help you achieve your goals.