What is the difference between computer science and computer engineering? Which is the better option?

While often confused as the same stream, computer science and computer engineering are two different specialities. Computer science focuses on the basics of computing, including, algorithms, programming languages, artificial intelligence and hardware design. It involves the study of how data and instructions are processed, communicated and stored.

Computer engineering can be explained as the union of computer science and electrical engineering. Computer engineers can be defined as electrical engineers who specialise in software design, hardware design, or systems design that integrates both. Computer engineering is focused more on the designing and developing of computer systems and how the software interacts with the hardware. So you will be learning about circuits, logic gates, physics and programming. If you want to learn about how computers work and also learn about programming, then take computer engineering.

Pursuing computer science in college would require studying algebra, mathematics and statistics in school while a computer engineering degree would need you to focus on physics and robotics. On completion of your degree in computer science you can apply for a career as a software engineer or developer. Should you choose computer engineering, your options would include working on memory chips, transistors, developing telecommunications, building circuit boards, routers, etc.

That said, computer engineering does include a basic understanding of software development, making a software programming career also accessible to computer engineers. The actual subjects offered in the course depend on the university chosen, but a basic foundation of software programming is generally included in computer engineering to help you understand what you are building.

Both Canada and the UK have not only amazing universities in these fields, but ample employment opportunities as well. In the UK, universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College of London, University of Edinburgh are considered among the best for computer science. In Canada, coveted campuses for computer science include University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and the University of British Columbia.

One of the most popular computer engineering courses in the UK is offered at the Imperial College London. This college offers some of the most innovative modules, which make the course engaging for students due to a lot of hands-on practical exposure. The School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh also offers a B.Eng (Bachelor of Engineering) Software Engineering course.

Across the Atlantic, the University of Waterloo in Canada offers a comprehensive Computer Engineering course. Waterloo is a hub for technology companies such as Google, allowing students both access and exposure to these companies, as well as valuable employment opportunities.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.