Which Is Better Computer Science or Software Engineering?

Tyler Yates

When it comes to choosing a career in the tech industry, two of the most popular choices are computer science and software engineering. Both fields are highly in demand and offer excellent job prospects. However, there are significant differences between the two fields that you should consider before making a decision.

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering: What’s the Difference?

Computer science is a broad discipline that deals with the theoretical aspects of computing. It involves designing algorithms, programming languages, computer architecture, and other concepts related to computing. Computer scientists work on developing new technologies and solving complex problems related to computation.

On the other hand, software engineering is a more practical field that focuses on applying engineering principles to software development. Software engineers work on designing, developing, testing, and maintaining software applications. They use various tools and techniques to ensure that the software is reliable, efficient, and easy to use.

Education Requirements

To become a computer scientist or a software engineer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. However, the curriculum for these two fields is different.

Computer science programs focus more on theory and math-related topics such as algorithms, data structures, programming languages, etc. On the other hand, software engineering programs focus more on applied skills such as coding practices, project management methodologies like Agile or Scrum.

Job Opportunities

Both computer science and software engineering offer excellent job prospects with high salaries. However, the type of job opportunities varies between these two fields.

Computer science graduates can work as data scientists, machine learning engineers or researchers in academia or industry or even pursue higher education like Masters/PhD after their undergraduate degree.

Software engineers have many options too – they can work as developers building applications for mobile devices or web-based platforms like social media platforms or online marketplaces for e-commerce businesses.

Salary Comparison

The average salary for computer science graduates is around $85k-$100k, while software engineering graduates earn an average salary of around $90k-$110k. However, these figures can vary depending on your location, experience level, and the industry you work in.

Skills Required

Both computer science and software engineering require a strong foundation in programming languages like Java, Python or C++. However, there are some additional skills that are more specific to each field.

Computer scientists need to have a good understanding of algorithms and data structures. They also need to be proficient in math-related topics such as linear algebra and statistics. Additionally, they should have excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to think abstractly.

Software engineers need to be proficient in coding practices such as version control systems like Git, testing frameworks like JUnit or Selenium. They should also have an understanding of software development methodologies Agile or Scrum and have excellent communication skills as they will often collaborate with cross-functional teams.

Which Field is Better?

It’s hard to say which field is better since it depends on your interests and career goals. If you enjoy solving complex problems related to computing and want to work on developing new technologies, then computer science might be the right choice for you.

If you enjoy building software applications that solve real-world problems and want to see your work impact people’s lives directly, then software engineering might be a better fit.


In conclusion, both computer science and software engineering offer excellent career opportunities with high salaries. It’s important to consider your interests, skills, and career goals before deciding which field is right for you. Regardless of which field you choose, having a solid foundation in programming languages and other related skills will set you up for success in the tech industry.