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Computer science VS Software engineering

Hello,
Can someone tell me what the difference if you complete a computer science degree VS a software engineering degree, are the available jobs similar for both ?

Which one is the better option to do in terms of what is going to be in demand in the future?

Also is the modules taught by each university the same, the modules for example for software engineering is it the same /similar for each university, or does the module being taught vary a lot for each university?
Reply 1
Hi there. I have a BSC(Hons) Computer Science and an MSc Software Engineering, so can hopefully answer your question. Computer science is much more rounded, and covers more areas of computing. Not only does it include programming, but also things like networks, databases, security and system implementations. Software engineering on the other hand is more focuses on programming, from requirements gathering to testing. It should also include security. Both degrees can lead to a career in software development if that is what interests you, but computer science can assist in careers in wider sector. So it really depends on your areas of interest and where your future career aspirations. University modules will vary for each degree, but will cover very similar subjects. Therefore, have a look at a few courses and see the modules associated with each. Most will have core and optional modules so you will be able to tailor the course to the areas of interest.
Reply 2
Original post by JohnB1
Hi there. I have a BSC(Hons) Computer Science and an MSc Software Engineering, so can hopefully answer your question. Computer science is much more rounded, and covers more areas of computing. Not only does it include programming, but also things like networks, databases, security and system implementations. Software engineering on the other hand is more focuses on programming, from requirements gathering to testing. It should also include security. Both degrees can lead to a career in software development if that is what interests you, but computer science can assist in careers in wider sector. So it really depends on your areas of interest and where your future career aspirations. University modules will vary for each degree, but will cover very similar subjects. Therefore, have a look at a few courses and see the modules associated with each. Most will have core and optional modules so you will be able to tailor the course to the areas of interest.

Hello, Thanks so much for your reply really gave me a more clear idea ! Just one more question about the maths involved in computer science is it like okay or hard ? as I did not take maths nor computer science at A-level I have only done computer science at GCSE, and I did do core maths in the first year of my A-level. So I was thinking to maybe taking a gap year first and do some boot camps to better help me with my knowledge needed in computer science or do a foundation year in computer science, but I'm not sure yet. If you were in this position what would you do, Im just asking to kind of get an idea was the best.

And if i do decide to take a gap year and do boot camps do u know any places that offer them either for free or where you have to pay would be fine.
Reply 3
Original post by minmin10
Hello,
Can someone tell me what the difference if you complete a computer science degree VS a software engineering degree, are the available jobs similar for both ?

Which one is the better option to do in terms of what is going to be in demand in the future?

Also is the modules taught by each university the same, the modules for example for software engineering is it the same /similar for each university, or does the module being taught vary a lot for each university?


This is a great question; something many people who want to do a degree in computer science don't understand.

There is a gargantuan difference between computer science and software development. They are almost two different subjects.

To illustrate the difference, here is a map of computer science by Dominic Walliman, 2017. I have highlighted majority of topics relating to software development in red on the right. The remaining topics outside of that is not software development, it is computer science.

This is not a complete list as it doesn't include data science, but it illustrates the point well enough.

CS vs SD.jpg

Most of the topics in computer science require mathematics. So it is essential you have a mathematical background and understanding, or you risk missing out a large part of computer science.

I only recommend studying a degree without math if you absolutely hate math and do not want any association with it. Otherwise, I recommend it, as it's a mandatory part of computer science.

Find yourself a degree with at least 60 credits of mathematics:
- 15 credits in calculus
- 15 credits in linear algebra
- 15 credits in probability and statistics
- 15 credits in discrete mathematics.

You will find that math taught in most top universities, like Imperial College London, Oxford, UCL, and so on. But, if for some reason the university you are looking for doesn't offer math modules, then you might want to consider a CS and math degree instead, which usually has plenty of math involved.

As a minimum, you require A-level mathematics. My recommendation is to also obtain Further Mathematics A-level. If you want to get into Robotics, it is essential you study A-level physics as well.

Hope that helped.
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by minmin10
Hello, Thanks so much for your reply really gave me a more clear idea ! Just one more question about the maths involved in computer science is it like okay or hard ? as I did not take maths nor computer science at A-level I have only done computer science at GCSE, and I did do core maths in the first year of my A-level. So I was thinking to maybe taking a gap year first and do some boot camps to better help me with my knowledge needed in computer science or do a foundation year in computer science, but I'm not sure yet. If you were in this position what would you do, Im just asking to kind of get an idea was the best.

And if i do decide to take a gap year and do boot camps do u know any places that offer them either for free or where you have to pay would be fine.


Hi there. I think this depends on the University you are applying to. Not all computer science courses require high level of maths. There will undoubtedly be a compulsory maths module in the course - have a look at the module description for the universities you are thinking of applying to. Most will cover probability, discrete maths and set theory. I didn't have A Level maths and managed without any problems during the maths module and the wider computer science subjects. However, as Baleroc says, some courses may require A Level maths as an entry requirement so have a look around.
(edited 7 months ago)

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