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#1 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:48 PM

I'm currently a high school junior soon looking for colleges to attend. And I am in a conflict. First of all: I want to get into the gaming industry. I love games, and also learning how to make them. Starting small from SDL into now starting to get into OpenGL. I want to start off my own little, to hopefully big, gaming studio after some years. So now I'm in a conflict. I'm not sure whether Computer Science or Software Engineering will help me learn more about programming, designing interfaces, and of course, give me an edge when going for jobs.

What do you suggest and why?

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Replies To: CS vs. SE

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:50 PM

Game Programming is pretty intensive for Math, Physics, Algorithms, and Data Structures, so I'd say CS. Software Engineering sometimes falls under the name of Information Systems, and is in the business department at some schools. As such, you'll get less math and computing theory with SE than with CS. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, and you could pretty easily dual major.
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#3 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

CS - 1
SE - 0

This post has been edited by heyoman1: 07 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

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#4 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:13 PM

I've never understood the argument between CS and SE. I hear the whole "SE prepares you with 'hands on' applications' ", but I didn't have that issue or lack in my CS curriculum.


I would argue that a foundation in CS would make you a better programmer/engineer as opposed to the inverse. CS can be utilized to make your SE "better", the same can not be said in reverse.
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#5 Dogstopper  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:16 PM

The gaming industry is not the software industry. The software industry generally focuses on creating the best possible software to the client through good coding practices, extendable code, and generally High-Level Languages.

Gaming is definitely more math, algorithm, and graphics oriented and generally needs to run more fine-tuned than general software does, because if you are off by a single frame, that could be the end of the game. For that reason, I'd look into CS as well. I'm by no means saying that Software Engineering is a bad thing, in fact, it is a good program, but for your intentions, CS will be a better option.
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#6 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:17 PM

CS - 3
SE - 0

Thank you for all the great responses! As we speak,I'm looking into local/out of state colleges for CS. ^_^

This post has been edited by heyoman1: 07 December 2010 - 07:18 PM

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#7 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:23 PM

Base location for your search?
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#8 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:38 PM

Around the NYC area. But I'm looking to get out of NY :P
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#9 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:59 PM

I agree with KYA - Computer Science is more likely to give you the skills/knowledge required for Computer Science and Software Engineering. A degree in Software Engineering doesn't necessitate the mathematics and high-level theory courses that a good Computer Science curriculum would. Plus, AI (one component of games) is most definitely Computer Science, not SE.
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#10 DaneAU  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:55 AM

Here in my country Computer Science degree's tend to focus on the Science aspects, subsequently they are loaded with Maths and Physics, when you graduate you come out as a Scientist as such. Software Engineering on the other hand focuses on the design, the structure of development, sometimes the law and business behind it with a tad of philosophy so you understand or have a basis of how software impacts on peoples lives. Subsequently it focuses a lot more on delivery and design; preparing you to work in development environments.

The thing is there is of course a large overlap between the two streams, they both teach you programming as such, however the background of how to approach programming is different. So if you wish to direct yourself into the game industry then you must decided do you want to be in the hardware level of things, interfacing with new devices and designing that level. If not then the other side (engineering) focuses on developing on top things the scientists do, although often the roles are interchangeable. You deal more with the end user in a way that as a Software Engineer you take into account the end user, manage ongoing software updates which are already accounted for during the design and planning phases of development. So depending on what your interests are you would need to make a decision based on where you exceed and what area you think will be best.

In the end a degree provides you with a certification for entry into the workforce, once you enter it you will use your experience more than the degree. In saying that, i know being recognised by a body such as Engineers Australia, which is ascertained through completion of an Engineering degree can be valuable and enable employment in more area's, the legislation in your country may be different subsequently the best thing at the moment for you is to search for jobs and look at what they ask for as certification to fulfill the roles required. That way you can make a decision on what to do :)

View Postxclite, on 08 December 2010 - 02:59 PM, said:

I agree with KYA - Computer Science is more likely to give you the skills/knowledge required for Computer Science and Software Engineering. A degree in Software Engineering doesn't necessitate the mathematics and high-level theory courses that a good Computer Science curriculum would. Plus, AI (one component of games) is most definitely Computer Science, not SE.



Ah not true, my engineering course is jam packed with Mathematics - electives allow you to complete various AI related directives. In fact the reason i chose this course was as a result of the available traditionally computer science areas.
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#11 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:53 AM

I've chosen Computer Science. :)
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#12 DaneAU  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:37 PM

Congratulations, best of luck with it :)
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#13 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:30 AM

There would hopefully be a difference in SE to CS degrees. SE is a whole different thing from a process perspective. CS programs often provide a great foundation, lots of theory, lots of thought expanding stuff. SE in a course or 2 in a typical CS program is not enough to genuinely prepare a developer for the work force. That is a reality. Software engineering is about the engineering process.

It's all a balancing act. That theory background provides a great amount of room to grow. It just requires someone that is willing to tease that knowledge and harvest the fruits a while down the road of the matured developer.
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#14 heyoman1  Icon User is offline

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Re: CS vs. SE

Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:30 PM

Thank you all for your great posts. I appreciate them :)
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