Software engineering vs computer science: Learn more!

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Oct 24, 2017

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Software Engineer & Computer Science: Responsibilities & Salary

Often times individuals can find themselves comparing software engineer and computer science. While these fields look similar initially, their differences become obvious quickly when some investigating is done. The most important question is: which profession is better in the long run?

Both software engineer and computer science, are involved with computer software, along with software development and other related fields. Those interested in a career centered on software development and computer technology often focus on one of two majors: computer science or software engineering (sometimes referred to as software development, but the two are not synonymous).

The primary difference is that computer science was originally a sub-branch of mathematics. Computer science deals with the basic structure of a computer and is more theoretical. Hence, it is more malleable in terms of specialization, with the emphasis on math and science. Software engineering is a field concerned with the application of engineering processes to the creation, maintenance, and design of software for a variety of different purposes. A software engineer designs customized applications per the requirements of an organization.

One of the main benefits of these vocations is that it offers the freedom of freelance engineering. With the increasing popularity of the gig economy, computer scientist and software engineers are able to reap the benefits as a freelance or contract worker.

As for which job is the right fit for you, it comes down to your preference. While both professions are computer-related, the emphasis is completely different. Therefore, your interests should be considered then think about where you see yourself ten years from now. We’ll go into more depth about each industry, along with the average computer science salary and software engineer salary.

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Software Engineer vs Computer Science

Software Engineer Job Responsibilities & Education
Computer engineering deals with computer systems and understanding the most practical approach to computer development and use. Although, computer engineers focus on the software, a computer engineer is also required to be familiar with the hardware. Additionaly, Computer engineering combines electrical engineering and science, with a focus on software-hardware interactions. Some of the most common programs offered in computer engineering include processor interfacing, digital logical design, thermodynamics, power management, solid state physics, and magnetic fields. Degrees in computer engineering are highly customizable, as programs often cover a wide range of interests. Ultimately you are in control of your own degree as you focus on your interests, this customizable degree will propel your profession into your desired career direction.

Computer Science Job Responsibilities & Education
Computer science deals with the basic structure of a computer and is more theoretical. As a result, it is more flexible in terms of specialization, with an emphasis on math and science. When, computers had just been introduced, computer science degrees were conducted within the math department. Since computers have become an essential part of society, the branch degree has since expanded, but the focus remains unchanged. Some of the most common programs offered in computer science include programming, numerical analysis, algorithms and data structures, computer systems principles, the software process, and theory of computers.

Software Engineer Salary vs Computer Science Salary

What is the average software engineer salary? And what is the average computer science salary? How do they compare? We’ve found the answer to this frequent question! However, keep in mind that salary should not be the only factor when choosing your profession.

Software Engineering Salary
An important consideration of any job is the salary.
Software engineers may expect high salaries. This depends on their skill set and specialization, as well as on the actual position. Senior positions usually call for a doctoral degree or continued education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median software engineer salary is $102,280 per annum, with the starting salary being $56,856. In addition, it is expected that the number of software engineering jobs will rise 17% by 2024.

Computer Scientist Salary
Fresh computer science graduates may expect the minimum salary of $39,000 per annum. This, again, depends on their skill set. Continued education and certification is always an option in the field and it always leads to career advancements. Certification programs are available through professional organizations, software companies, and product and service vendors. There is a lot of room for growth with the median computer scientist salary being $76,205 per annum.

The ideal option for both professions would be adopting a freelance or consultant position. Freelance engineers will easily find remote jobs. The gig-economy is booming and businesses are currently urgently in search of engineers.
The IT sector has been the fastest growing one in decades, with the trend predicted to continue. It goes without saying that up-to-date knowledge is absolutely essential for all computer-related professionals, as technology evolves rapidly to keep up with the demand.

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Making Decisions

As discussed above, the main difference between software engineering and computer science is that software engineering focuses on the software, whereas computer science focuses on the hardware. Both branches require a solid knowledge of hardware, as programmers are expected to be able to implement solutions on top of simply divining them.

If undecided, best look into the programs offered. Different colleges offer different programs. Compare them and see which ones speak to you. Software engineers mainly deal with the application of engineering processes. They focus on programming and algorithms. Computer scientists deal mostly with hardware interface and software systems. If you are into creating apps and games, the latter is the right choice for you.

The question of a software engineer salary versus a computer science salary should not be the determining factor when choosing your profession. Both vocations are highly rewarding salary-wise, and rapid developments in the field will further step up the demand. Rather than choosing your future vocation based on median pay, it’s better to focus on your preferences and stay up to date with new technology. This is a certain way to boost your salary.

Another way to boost your salary is by becoming a freelance engineer, explore the opportunities available to you today at Field Engineer.

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