Computer Systems Engineering vs Computer Science Degree

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zapper clapper
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#1
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#1
I'm stuck between a computer systems engineering degree and a computer science degree. I keep reading about the course structures and stuff, and I really can't tell which I would prefer.
The last time I did computer science was at GCSE, and I am currently studying Maths, Further Maths and RE/Philosophy at A Levels.
Feel free to ask me any questions about my interests in computing to better hone your answer.
Thanks.
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zapper clapper
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ajj2000
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#3
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#3
Could you post a link to the computer systems engineering course(s) you are looking at?
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zapper clapper
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#4
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Could you post a link to the computer systems engineering course(s) you are looking at?
https://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/under...s-engineering/
I have the understanding that computer science is generally not as hands-on. Is computer systems engineering any different? I don’t really know what types of jobs people with those degrees go into either.
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artful_lounger
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Generally computer systems engineering overlaps a lot with electronic/information engineering and primarily concerns itself with low level systems and hardware, as well as the physical principles under which computers actually run. Computer science is more concerned with high level systems and software, as well as the theoretical principles of computing. Essentially while both concerns computers in general, the scope of the courses is quite different, as is their approach.

While you'll do some hardware and computer architecture related topics in a CS degree, you won't go into nearly as much depth as a CSE/EE course. Likewise while you'll probably do some programming and related topics in an EE/CSE course, you likely won't do anything concerning general structures of programs and programming language design/structure or algorithm analysis, work with databases or computer graphics/vision etc.

What are you interested in with respect to computing? What are you hoping to do after your degree?
Last edited by artful_lounger; 10 months ago
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zapper clapper
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#6
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Generally computer systems engineering overlaps a lot with electronic/information engineering and primarily concerns itself with low level systems and hardware, as well as the physical principles under which computers actually run. Computer science is more concerned with high level systems and software, as well as the theoretical principles of computing. Essentially while both concerns computers in general, the scope of the courses is quite different, as is their approach.

While you'll do some hardware and computer architecture related topics in a CS degree, you won't go into nearly as much depth as a CSE/EE course. Likewise while you'll probably do some programming and related topics in an EE/CSE course, you likely won't do anything concerning general structures of programs and programming language design/structure or algorithm analysis, work with databases or computer graphics/vision etc.

What are you interested in with respect to computing? What are you hoping to do after your degree?
My biggest interest regarding computing is optimising a computer to make it become the best possible; sort of like how computers get ~10% better each year: I want to be the person making it 10% better basically.
I really enjoy putting together computers and taking them apart, so I would want to do something like that. I am under the belief that computer systems engineering would probably be more in line with my interests, is that true?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by zapper clapper)
My biggest interest regarding computing is optimising a computer to make it become the best possible; sort of like how computers get ~10% better each year: I want to be the person making it 10% better basically.
I really enjoy putting together computers and taking them apart, so I would want to do something like that. I am under the belief that computer systems engineering would probably be more in line with my interests, is that true?
It probably sounds like CSE/EE would be more of interest to you, although you should be aware of what is involved in that improvement of computers and CPU chips etc - it's very much an electronic engineering endeavour rather than a computing one (although the very high level research before it begins being optimised for large scale delivery probably falls more in the purview of physics).

While taking apart and assembling computers is certainly valuable if you enjoy doing it, I don't think it really relates much to any academic degree level course. The kinds of computer hardware you are learning about will be relating to the theory of it all; practical considerations of the electronic design of chips, semiconductor physics, computer architecture (e.g. how the memory and bus work and interact with the physical chips etc).

I'd probably suggest looking at CSE or possibly even just electronic and/or information engineering courses as well/instead as a result! You've not really indicated any interest in the topics that come up in CS courses so I would probably recommend you disregard that as an option (or perhaps just consider it through joint honours courses with EE/IE/CSE; joint honours courses in computer science and electronic engineering are not that uncommon for example).
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zapper clapper
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#8
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It probably sounds like CSE/EE would be more of interest to you, although you should be aware of what is involved in that improvement of computers and CPU chips etc - it's very much an electronic engineering endeavour rather than a computing one (although the very high level research before it begins being optimised for large scale delivery probably falls more in the purview of physics).

While taking apart and assembling computers is certainly valuable if you enjoy doing it, I don't think it really relates much to any academic degree level course. The kinds of computer hardware you are learning about will be relating to the theory of it all; practical considerations of the electronic design of chips, semiconductor physics, computer architecture (e.g. how the memory and bus work and interact with the physical chips etc).

I'd probably suggest looking at CSE or possibly even just electronic and/or information engineering courses as well/instead as a result! You've not really indicated any interest in the topics that come up in CS courses so I would probably recommend you disregard that as an option (or perhaps just consider it through joint honours courses with EE/IE/CSE; joint honours courses in computer science and electronic engineering are not that uncommon for example).
Thanks a lot, you've given me a lot to think about.
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