Difference Between Computer Science and Software Engineering

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 09, 2023


Difference Between Computer Science and Software Engineering

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Changes in technology have now become equivalent to changes in the daily temperature. Access to technology and computers is not a luxury anymore but rather a necessity. The opportunities that technology opens for us, be it educational, in the form of a career path, or in the form of a field to explore, are unbeatable.

For the constant upgradation in this field, a lot of studying and research is invested. Two major degrees that lie in the shed of this sector are – Computer Science and Software Engineering. In fact, these two have become prominent names in the educational field. They might seem to be overlapping, but their certain distinct features are what need to be paid attention to.

Computer Science Vs. Software Engineering

Both of these are largely recognized in the academic field, as they are considered as studies in the field of computer systems and backends.

Computer Science is a vast field that comprises studying, developing, and analyzing computer and computing systems. It may sometimes be perceived as more in the theoretical domain. It is inclusive of various algorithms, theories, and calculations regarding the software system. However, calculations are not enough for a system to work. Building, designing, maintaining, etc., holds a major role; this is where Software Engineering jumps in.

Difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering in Tabular Form

Parameters of comparisonComputer ScienceSoftware Engineering
PurposeServes the purpose of using algorithms, calculations, and data to perform analysis of the softwareServes the purpose of designing, forming, and maintaining of these software systems.
Skills/knowledge requiredCommand in mathematical concepts, data structuring, and knowledge of Artificial intelligence to name a few.Prerequisites may include knowledge of coding, developing, programming language, problem-solving, etc.
NeedNeeded to build logic and to research more in the computing field.Needed to build, maintain, and upgrade software.
Further opportunitiesData scientist, web developer, computer programmer, IT Manager, application analyst, etc.Software engineer, IT Consultant, Quality assurance engineer, Data engineer, etc.

What is Computer Science?

With the rising dependency on systems of computing, the study based on it, i.e., ‘Computer Science’ has become a prominent name. Organizations, be they large or not require very specific software to keep their workings organized. Detailed research and logical applications go into the ideation for every new software to be available in the market; calculations and algorithms based on theory and data act as the pillars for the development of software.

This is where Computer Science plays its role. It is a study that dives deep into the theoretical aspects and includes mathematical and statistical methods and data to analyze a software system. Based on certain situations, computer scientists make use of logic to solve problems through the development of a system. One has to be creative enough to apply the concepts correctly for every operating system.

Computer scientists are the ones that make the system work and solve problems efficiently like puppets.

Why do we need Computer Science?

  • One very crucial aspect is solving problems through software systems. Each and every organization these days has its ways of handling and working with data. That is why they require personalized software systems to make their work easier. In this case, Computer Science has to apply the knowledge to make the system personalized. A lot of research, calculations, and different perspectives go behind this.
  • Someone who is thinking of taking on the role of data scientist will find computer science to be useful. Skills developed from pursuing computer science allow us to process, analyze, and conclude great findings from a large amount of data. These findings can be useful for implementing new changes.

When it comes to dealing with data, data security is equally important. Computer science through its branch of ‘Cybersecurity’ aims to keep the data away from cyber frauds and develop authentication systems.

  1. The use of various computing systems is growing day by day in the healthcare sector. Be it be making use of personalised systems for patients, in billing, for accurate laboratory systems to making use of data for medical advancement.

The skills of computer scientists are utilized completely here. An extremely useful task here is medical imaging. Many tests like CT scans, and MRIs are performed daily, and ultimately it’s the computing systems at the backend that make these accurate.

Computer Science as a Degree

This educational degree called Computer Science has become a well-recognized one over the years.

What all is included here has already been talked about above but let's focus on How exactly is Computer Science perceived as an educational degree?

A computer science degree can be pursued at the bachelor’s level as well as at the master’s level. It includes how to use the data structures, mathematical applications, concepts, and theories to use in a system. Helps one develop valuable skills such as of creative thinking, computer ethics, and problem-solving.

The typical duration is four or two years for bachelor's or master’s level respectively.


This degree has a great scope and a wide range of opportunities as the demand for computer scientists will always be an upward graph. Numerous career paths can be pursued further such as in Software Development, AI, Data Science, Data Security, IT industries, and a lot more.


It is always the skills learned, and the salary earned that one looks for while choosing a degree. Luckily, when it comes to Computer Science, this degree is a Win-Win.

It comes under the category of degrees that ultimately pay the highest with increments every year. The salary can easily range up to Rs 6o lakhs per annum.

Learning skills like handling data, working on software, and analyzing is of course a big plus.

However, the thought of solving real-world issues by using the data correctly and coming up with systems or apps that are created single-handedly is what acts as the biggest motivation.

Artificial Intelligence

Recently, the term Artificial Intelligence has really been hyped up. Gradually, everyone is trying to make the most of it due to the accuracy with which it works, and somehow it is becoming an unavoidable part of our lives.

When talking about Computer Science, it becomes essential to bring Artificial Intelligence or AI into the picture.

AI is a significant branch of this broad field. AI concentrates on making machines so smart that they can solve problems just like a human mind. In other words, it is a more advanced way of machine learning. AI software has been developed to reduce the burden on humans and work exactly like them.

If observed, AI surrounds, maybe in the form of Alexa, ChatGPT, Siri, computers playing games, self-driven cars, and whatnot.

What is Software Engineering?

The ideation and creative thinking behind the creation of software is extremely essential. However, till the time, the software is not fully designed, developed, or maintained, it is just half done. Clients/organizations expect their software to be of high quality, well maintained, and one that keeps their work sorted.

In order to bring software to the market, Software Engineers really have to work hard. This field is concerned with jumping out of the theoretical aspects and entering into the practical zone. This engineering branch comprises of technical knowledge, making use of practical aspects, development, testing, and maintenance of a system. For this one may need to focus on ‘Principles of Computing’ and ‘Programming languages.’ Various skills that may come in handy are Coding, programming languages, testing, analyzing, etc.

Software Engineering works on continuous upgradation and betterment of the software keeping the computer and security ethics in mind. This branch also ensures how reliable and secure the software is.

Why do we need Software Engineering?

Software engineering has a very vital role in the growth of industries and rising organizations. Every Multinational Corporation, industry, hospital, and bank requires well-developed and maintained systems that are secure enough.

  1. Software engineering allows to minimize the cost for companies by removing unnecessary aspects by making specific software which are not complex. Allows to take on versatile projects with vast data.
  2. All of us are hooked to some or the other mobile application, website, or web application, but if we think carefully, it’s the software engineers who create these,

Software engineers make use of various languages, such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc. for developing a good website. Other languages, such as Python are useful while designing the framework of a web application. These engineers do backend work for mobile applications using Java, C++, Swift, etc.

The web browsers like Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge are also important creations of software engineering.

  1. Everyone’s support system while traveling is of course the navigation apps and the GPS. Ultimately, it is the application of software engineering that helps develop these to make our lives simpler and much more convenient. All the features that we enjoy are time to time updated to provide a great user experience.
  2. A military is not just for the soldiers, software engineers are also a vital part of it. They utilize their skills to make effective communication systems and make use of intelligence data. Fortunately, many tech startups in India are coming up solely for the defence sector.

Software Engineering as a Degree

Software Engineer is considered to be a great position and has maintained its reputation for many years now. Studies for an upcoming software engineer include from designing to testing to maintaining a software. It is one degree that is recognized to be valuable after acquiring a BCA or BTech degree during graduation.

Entrance examinations such as JEE Advanced, BITSAT, or UGEE need to be cracked at an undergraduate or postgraduate level to pursue this course. Lakhs of students appear every year for these entrances in order to make their career in such a growing sector.


The scope in this field is always rising, especially in India, where the demand for software engineers is never down.

It opens so many doors to a brighter future. One can opt for jobs worldwide like Software Developer, project management, Game Developer, IT consultant, Web developer, and the list goes on. Every sector from Healthcare to IT is gradually depending on such engineers/developers.


A career is not the right one for you till the time it personally makes you grow. Software engineers are have high demand and have even higher salaries as well as opportunities.

Ensures that one thinks creatively, develops their skill set by learning programming languages, enjoys a handsome pay, and grows.

Main Difference Between Computer Science and Software Engineering in Points

  • Computer Science and Software Engineering, both fields are very upcoming and important for all sectors. They both belong under the wide term Technology and computers. However, the way they function and the opportunities are diverse.
  • Computer Science brings more of theoretical and conceptual aspects into the light. On the other hand, Software Engineering is more about the practical use and logistics of a system.
  • Computer Science includes the usage of calculations, statistics, and theories to think creatively about a software to be formed. Software Engineering carries on the creative thinking and works on designing, developing, testing, and maintaining that particular software.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills are really paid off for Computer Scientists. Coding and logical skills hold great importance for software engineers.
  • One can enter many other fields like AI, Data Science, Cybersecurity, etc. In Software Engineering, the field of testing, UI/UX is open apart from studying the entire lifecycle that a software goes through.
  • Computer engineering even though available for both UG and PG levels, is advised to be taken up for graduation to gain the knowledge of fundamentals of computing. Software Engineering is considered to be valuable if taken up for post-graduation.
  • Computer Science has great use in medical imaging and is upcoming in the healthcare field. Whereas, Software engineering surrounds us in the form of websites, apps, GPS, and more.


Computer Science and Software Engineering have turned out to be very significant if considered career-wise or in the academic field. Both of these fields and their branches have varied applications when it comes to the operation of software systems. Acts as essential elements for industries to grow and work properly. Day by day, the importance of these studies increases due to rapid upgradation and reliance on technology.


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"Difference Between Computer Science and Software Engineering." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 10 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-computer-science-and-software-engineering>.

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