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#1 AndreeU17  Icon User is offline

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Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:07 PM

Hi im currently attending a community college for my general education classes. My plan is to finish all my general education classes then transfer immediately over to a 4 year university in my local city for my Bachelor of Science in either Computer Engineering or Computer science. Now this is my doubt and concern. I have always wanted to become a Computer Engineer because of its status. What i mean by that, is i adore computer and the way they work. However, you would see me focusing more on languages rather than actual computing hardware. I find creating application using algorithmic and intense language a joy. Thats when i realize that the job of a Computer Scientist is to simply program with languages. SO my question is this, what career title would be best for me? A computer engineer does a few language but mainly core languages and hardware engineering unlike a computer scientist who delves into mathematics/algorithmic solution and computer languages. Remember im great in mathematics hence why i pursue this career.

My question is this: (I searched but i want to hear personal opinions from this site)

Who makes more for a starting year?
Which career has a higher employment rate?
What possible jobs are there for me (Government security, software security company, dell, etc.)

Anything else i should know?

I would love to hear opinions of Computer Scientist majors and Computer Engineering majors.

So far my current career choice is Computer Science because of my joy in creating application and software and math, but i do love building pc and learning how they operate :D

Thank You
-Jonathan

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Replies To: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:01 PM

View PostAndreeU17, on 29 July 2013 - 05:07 PM, said:

Thats when i realize that the job of a Computer Scientist is to simply program with languages.



This is incorrect. A computer scientist is someone who discovers new things about computers and how they work - not just someone who writes programs, although obviously they should be able to do that as well.

A CS degree is often a qualification for a programming job, but a programming job is not doing "computer science" any more than a doctor is doing biology or an engineer is doing physics.

As for your course of action - I would honestly suggest that whatever else you do you should take some time to read good writing and learn to express yourself better. There is no area that you're considering where your current level of writing will not hurt you.
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#3 AndreeU17  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:07 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 29 July 2013 - 06:01 PM, said:

View PostAndreeU17, on 29 July 2013 - 05:07 PM, said:

Thats when i realize that the job of a Computer Scientist is to simply program with languages.



This is incorrect. A computer scientist is someone who discovers new things about computers and how they work - not just someone who writes programs, although obviously they should be able to do that as well.

A CS degree is often a qualification for a programming job, but a programming job is not doing "computer science" any more than a doctor is doing biology or an engineer is doing physics.

As for your course of action - I would honestly suggest that whatever else you do you should take some time to read good writing and learn to express yourself better. There is no area that you're considering where your current level of writing will not hurt you.


oh okay well i apologies for the misunderstanding i showed. However, i seek guidance in a career. I appreciate the criticism and i'll surely look into my writing or whatever you mention above regarding my intelligence. Thank you for your fast response .

-Jonathan
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:11 PM

Please be clear on this: I said nothing about your intelligence. I'm sure you're plenty smart, but no matter how smart you are, if you can't express yourself effectively it'll be hard for others to benefit from your smartness (and therefore it'll be hard for you to get anything from being smart, either). Writing clearly and well is critical in an information-oriented career, whether it's programming for industry or developing and reasoning about algorithms in academia.
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#5 AndreeU17  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:14 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 29 July 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:

Please be clear on this: I said nothing about your intelligence. I'm sure you're plenty smart, but no matter how smart you are, if you can't express yourself effectively it'll be hard for others to benefit from your smartness (and therefore it'll be hard for you to get anything from being smart, either). Writing clearly and well is critical in an information-oriented career, whether it's programming for industry or developing and reasoning about algorithms in academia.


Oh i see! Well i understand you and i believe your right. I apologies for my unclear thread. I will dig into both fields and find out what they really are and how i can benefit in life. I thank you for your time and hopefully i choose something that i enjoy. Thank You :D

-Jonathan
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:19 PM

View PostAndreeU17, on 29 July 2013 - 07:14 PM, said:

I thank you for your time and hopefully i choose something that i enjoy. Thank You :D/>


I hope so too. Let us know how it turns out. (and you might as well take a turn through the programming forums while you're here, maybe there's a question waiting for you to answer it!)
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#7 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 05:49 PM

Quote

Hi im currently attending a community college for my general education classes. My plan is to finish all my general education classes then transfer immediately over to a 4 year university in my local city for my Bachelor of Science in either Computer Engineering or Computer science. Now this is my doubt and concern. I have always wanted to become a Computer Engineer because of its status. What i mean by that, is i adore computer and the way they work.


Never choose a job because of status. Preferably, do what you love to do, while you still have the ability to make it happen.

Quote

However, you would see me focusing more on languages rather than actual computing hardware.


Actually, a good portion of COEs (Computer Engineers) graduate and go into programming (application programming). There are so many options. One advantage of doing COE is that you'll have a good knowledge of hardware, and that will open more doors for you. But if you decide to, for instance, become a business programmer, half the COE stuff won't be utilized. An advantage of CS is that you'll get to do more programming stuff like learning about compilers, artificial intelligence, functional programming, etc., whereas the COE will get the basics (and maybe a little more). Remember they have to do the basic engineering courses, the basic EE (Electrical Engineering) courses, and a few COE specific courses, in addition to the basic CS courses. Every program is different, but it should be similar to what I said.

Quote

I find creating application using algorithmic and intense language a joy.


In CS you'll be doing a lot of algorithmic thinking and a lot of programming. If you really enjoy math, philosophy, and theory, then your program may have some classes for that. (e.g Computation Theory, (Hardcore) Analysis of Algorithms). You could probably even take graduate-level courses, which may have more theoretical stuff. Perhaps you should dual-major in Math/CS or do a Math minor along with CS. The nice thing about CS is that your entire college career isn't laid out for you like COE. A lot of COE courses are predetermined, since there are so many disciplines you have to learn about. A CS major might be 40 credits, which leaves room for another major. A COE program might lay out the entire 120 credits, where you can fill in maybe 10 of those classes with whatever you want to take. Again, it depends on the school. Also, many CS programs have specialties. My school for instance has Scientific Computing (Math/CS) and Bioinformatics (Biology/CS). You can get the best of both worlds.

Quote

Thats when i realize that the job of a Computer Scientist is to simply program with languages.


Not necessarily. Some graduates go into research and stay there. Those are your computer scientists. Most others go into programming, design, administration, management, etc.

Quote

SO my question is this, what career title would be best for me? A computer engineer does a few language but mainly core languages and hardware engineering unlike a computer scientist who delves into mathematics/algorithmic solution and computer languages. Remember im great in mathematics hence why i pursue this career.


That's up to you. Perhaps talking to advisers in each department would do you some good. You're going to need to have a solid foundation in Math no matter what major you choose, but COE requires a much stronger ability, for the EE stuff. I'd imagine that EEs probably don't even use Math that much at all when they graduate. There are tools for that. The majority of programmers don't use complex math at all. Also, check out Youtube. They have tons of videos interviewing undergraduates and graduates working in various fields.

Quote

Who makes more for a starting year?


COEs typically make a few thousand more a year. The degree is generally regarded as tougher to get as well. Starting salaries of graduates in both disciplines are among the highest of any, so salary shouldn't be a factor really. Do what interests you.

Quote

Which career has a higher employment rate?
What possible jobs are there for me (Government security, software security company, dell, etc.)


There are plenty of career statistics websites out there. Check one out. I recommend the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 29 July 2013 - 05:55 PM

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#8 AndreeU17  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

View Postblackcompe, on 29 July 2013 - 06:49 PM, said:

Quote

Hi im currently attending a community college for my general education classes. My plan is to finish all my general education classes then transfer immediately over to a 4 year university in my local city for my Bachelor of Science in either Computer Engineering or Computer science. Now this is my doubt and concern. I have always wanted to become a Computer Engineer because of its status. What i mean by that, is i adore computer and the way they work.


Never choose a job because of status. Preferably, do what you love to do, while you still have the ability to make it happen.

Quote

However, you would see me focusing more on languages rather than actual computing hardware.


Actually, a good portion of COEs (Computer Engineers) graduate and go into programming (application programming). There are so many options. One advantage of doing COE is that you'll have a good knowledge of hardware, and that will open more doors for you. But if you decide to, for instance, become a business programmer, half the COE stuff won't be utilized. An advantage of CS is that you'll get to do more programming stuff like learning about compilers, artificial intelligence, functional programming, etc., whereas the COE will get the basics (and maybe a little more). Remember they have to do the basic engineering courses, the basic EE (Electrical Engineering) courses, and a few COE specific courses, in addition to the basic CS courses. Every program is different, but it should be similar to what I said.

Quote

I find creating application using algorithmic and intense language a joy.


In CS you'll be doing a lot of algorithmic thinking and a lot of programming. If you really enjoy math, philosophy, and theory, then your program may have some classes for that. (e.g Computation Theory, (Hardcore) Analysis of Algorithms). You could probably even take graduate-level courses, which may have more theoretical stuff. Perhaps you should dual-major in Math/CS or do a Math minor along with CS. The nice thing about CS is that your entire college career isn't laid out for you like COE. A lot of COE courses are predetermined, since there are so many disciplines you have to learn about. A CS major might be 40 credits, which leaves room for another major. A COE program might lay out the entire 120 credits, where you can fill in maybe 10 of those classes with whatever you want to take. Again, it depends on the school. Also, many CS programs have specialties. My school for instance has Scientific Computing (Math/CS) and Bioinformatics (Biology/CS). You can get the best of both worlds.

Quote

Thats when i realize that the job of a Computer Scientist is to simply program with languages.


Not necessarily. Some graduates go into research and stay there. Those are your computer scientists. Most others go into programming, design, administration, management, etc.

Quote

SO my question is this, what career title would be best for me? A computer engineer does a few language but mainly core languages and hardware engineering unlike a computer scientist who delves into mathematics/algorithmic solution and computer languages. Remember im great in mathematics hence why i pursue this career.


That's up to you. Perhaps talking to advisers in each department would do you some good. You're going to need to have a solid foundation in Math no matter what major you choose, but COE requires a much stronger ability, for the EE stuff. I'd imagine that EEs probably don't even use Math that much at all when they graduate. There are tools for that. The majority of programmers don't use complex math at all. Also, check out Youtube. They have tons of videos interviewing undergraduates and graduates working in various fields.

Quote

Who makes more for a starting year?


COEs typically make a few thousand more a year. The degree is generally regarded as tougher to get as well. Starting salaries of graduates in both disciplines are among the highest of any, so salary shouldn't be a factor really. Do what interests you.

Quote

Which career has a higher employment rate?
What possible jobs are there for me (Government security, software security company, dell, etc.)


There are plenty of career statistics websites out there. Check one out. I recommend the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Thank You :D I will surely keep focusing on my achieving my Computer Science degree, maybe even move up to a master if possible. My plan is to officially work for the military as an officer (hence why im taking a AFROTC Officer program). Once i graduate i will have a job already as an officer, the only issue is whether i will be placed in the career i studied for. However, if i do get placed in a section well i delve in programming and mathematics then i will complete the amount of years i need to achieve veterans benefit (I currently have veterans benefit from my father) and seek a company based job. However, if my position in the military goes great and better within 5-10 years then i will surely keep working there but my life has been to work in an office of a huge company (Gaming company or anything software based). Thats my plan that i want to achieve. The money well we all have to admit we need some cash here and there but the major reason why i seek programming is because of the outrageously comfort i get when i solve an algorithmic problem using java (What i know so far). Anyways thank you for your descriptive answer

-Jonathan
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#9 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:12 PM

Quote

Thank You :D I will surely keep focusing on my achieving my Computer Science degree, maybe even move up to a master if possible. My plan is to officially work for the military as an officer (hence why im taking a AFROTC Officer program). Once i graduate i will have a job already as an officer, the only issue is whether i will be placed in the career i studied for. However, if i do get placed in a section well i delve in programming and mathematics then i will complete the amount of years i need to achieve veterans benefit (I currently have veterans benefit from my father) and seek a company based job. However, if my position in the military goes great and better within 5-10 years then i will surely keep working there but my life has been to work in an office of a huge company (Gaming company or anything software based). Thats my plan that i want to achieve. The money well we all have to admit we need some cash here and there but the major reason why i seek programming is because of the outrageously comfort i get when i solve an algorithmic problem using java (What i know so far). Anyways thank you for your descriptive answer

-Jonathan


Good luck Jonathan :^:
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#10 jjl  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:55 PM

I did my degree in Computer Engineering (CPE or COE or CE or whatever ....). If you enjoy the hardware and archtecture of computers/embedded systems/FPGAs, then CPE is the degree you should pursue. CS students see little to zero hardware courses (at least at the university I attended). If you enjoy algorithm analysis, compilers, operatings systems, etc..

Heres a venn diagram I made, maybe it will help you make your decision

Posted Image
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#11 Ryano121  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:07 PM

I think this just highlights how the same content of the same two courses at two different places can vary really quite a lot.

For example in my Computer Science degree we did quite a lot on computer architecture and design. I do however know someone else who did a Computer Science course at another university who did very little on architecture but had a heavy focus on lower level programming and operating systems (I did them as well but not in the depth that he did) and this benefited me a lot.

It's always helpful to check the actual contents of a course before you sign up. Just because it has a particular name doesn't necessarily mean it will cover a lot of what you think it will.
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#12 Dogstopper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:53 PM

At my university, the CS degrees are as varied as the majors. Nobody is "just a programmer" though. The point of CS is to solve problems, just like any other engineering or science. Theoreticians do things with discrete math that will help in the computation, but then there are lower level guys like me who blur the lines a bit between Computer Engineering and CS. I have noticed that there are institutions who give degrees in "Computer Science" that really should be Computer Programming or Software Engineering. Especially when I see courses like "C++ II" or "Advanced Java". The way that you can find a good program for CS (as opposed to just Programming) is to look for courses that teach theory and application of computers, not just programming languages.

Here's an example of our CS curriculum:
http://www.cc.gatech...es/bscs/threads

Notice the number of choices? A Major is the selection of TWO of those. CS is so very broad, and that's what makes it interesting.
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#13 Prim3  Icon User is offline

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Re: Undecided student between Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:50 AM

Im in CE. A lot of Electrical work but I prefer that over all programming which is CS I believe
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