Computer Engineering vs. Software Engineering

Computer and software engineering may sound similar because they work in software development, but there will be many differences.

Basically, we can distinguish computer engineering and software engineering through 3 main factors: Specializations, Scope & Focus, and Career paths.

So what exactly is that? Let’s take a closer look at the following article!

A Quick Overview of These Two Majors

A computer engineer is doing work related to data and math operations on computers. Computer engineering major requires not only flexibility and quick information updates but also a solid mathematical background.

The jobs that computer engineers can do are not just hardware and software development. They can work in various careers related to computers and technology, such as security, surveillance, data analysis, and even artificial intelligence.

If a computer engineer is a person who creates and develops software, then a software engineer can be considered a person who tests and evaluates software quality.

Software engineering requires higher skills and professions. Not only computer programming, but software engineers also have to have design thinking and quality control skills.

We can compare computer engineering and software engineering in many different aspects. However, to help choose a career and better understand the job, we only reach a certain level.

Specifically, the three areas of comparison will be Specializations, Scope and focus, and Career paths.

1. Specializations

a computer engineer

Computer engineering

Computer engineering learners will have to have a precise mathematical and numerical mindset.

The computer engineering course will focus on data processing and management skills. So, you will learn how to extract data from a computer and analyze it for your purposes.

For example, if the software has 20000 downloads, you can analyze the data to get the evaluation results. Those metrics will help computer scientists answer questions like how many new downloads, reloads, and app usage time by users.

Software engineering

After having the results of data analysis from computer engineering, it will help software engineers know what to do next.

The software engineering focuses program will help solve how to increase the time users spend on the app and improve the quality.

Some software engineering methods can improve quality, such as reducing the size or adding features to the product. To summarize, a good application requires a combination of both software engineering and computer engineering.

2. Scope and Focus

Focus and Scope

In the future, computer engineering and software engineering both have strong growth forecasts. Computer engineering can take on highly technical skills such as developing artificial intelligence, cloud computing, etc.

However, software engineering will have to depend quite heavily on the development scope of computer engineering.

If computer engineering has developed strongly, then software engineering can develop from those platforms.

Therefore, we can understand that it is necessary to focus human and technical resources on computer engineering for software engineering to develop.

Because essentially, what software engineering can develop is based on the foundation that computer engineering creates. So you need to have a solid computer engineering knowledge base to do any job regardless of position.

3. Career Paths

multiple career choices

Career paths for those who choose computer engineering or software engineering are full of opportunities.

Basically, the study program is not too different, so no matter what industry you study in. You can choose most positions in software or information technology companies without any hindrance.

The difference is that computer engineering is more about engineering, developing, and creating software. In comparison, software engineering can do all or part of computer engineering and includes system design.

However, if you choose computer engineering, don’t worry because you can completely add knowledge to the process.

Another reason that career opportunities are wide open is that human resources in this industry are not many.

The supply of human resources is much lower than the demand, so the competitive rate is not great. You can rest assured that you will have a stable job and income after graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Software engineering and computer engineering are currently the jobs that many people want. However, this is a new industry, so your questions may not be answered. So we have compiled the most frequently asked questions to answer for you here.

1. CS and CE, which one is better?

There is no basis for asserting that CS is better than CE and vice versa. Each job has its requirements that require an engineer with certain skills. You can only judge yourself based on your ability to see which position is more suitable.

You can re-read the information above to make the best assessment. If you like software development, making applications for your own needs, you can choose computer engineering. If you want to program and do science, then pursue computer science.

2. Can a CE major become a software engineer?

Although the two disciplines have the same starting background, they will still require their specialization.

If you graduated from computer engineering and want to develop into a software engineer, you need to improve your knowledge in this field.

3. Does CS pay more than CE?

It is impossible to answer with certainty that computer science pays more than computer engineering because it depends on many factors such as qualifications, position, and workplace.

However, if the assessment is on the common ground and there are similar factors, the income between the two occupations is not much different.


Two professions that have many harsh requirements but bring you a high level of income. If you’re wondering which career to choose, learn one of the two and hone the other while you work.

Because just mastering the basic knowledge, you will easily learn to absorb the knowledge related to it. Today’s software engineers also always have to update and change to adapt to modern developments.