Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by David » Sat, 25 Aug 2001 16:50:57



I have noticed some discussion on one of my university's discussion boards
regarding the difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science
degrees.

The university official statement on the matter is as follows:

"The BSc in computing/ information systems is educating students to build
commerce/data based computer/information systems.  The domain of
application is *ly transaction based systems. Examples systems
include information systems, insurance and banking applications, e-commerce.

The BE [Bachelor of Engineering] degrees in computer systems/ software are
educating students to build physics based computer/software  systems.  The
domain of application is *ly realtime, reactive systems.  Example
systems include car, train, aeroplane control systems, power station
control, telephone exchanges, pacemakers."

I would agree with this, exact for adding that engineering degrees are
about applying engineering techniques and methodologies to the building and
maintaining of software systems.

I am posting this message because I am interested in what various people
think on this matter. As well as software/computer engineers and computer
scientists, I would like to see what any other people involved in the
industry think.

I am looking forward to your replies.

 
 
 

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by Phli » Sat, 25 Aug 2001 23:06:38



> "The BSc in computing/ information systems is educating students to build
> commerce/data based computer/information systems.??The?domain?of
> application is *ly transaction based systems. Examples systems
> include information systems, insurance and banking applications,
> e-commerce.

> The BE [Bachelor of Engineering] degrees in computer systems/ software are
> educating students to build physics based computer/software??systems.??The
> domain of application is *ly realtime, reactive systems.??Example
> systems include car, train, aeroplane control systems, power station
> control, telephone exchanges, pacemakers."

Gosh, they sure have their finger on the pulse of the programming industry
at large there, huh?

At all my jobs before the present one, they needed

 - a knack for computers
 - power use
 - the ability to find & plug in libraries & not re-invent wheels
 - you are over the curve on their programming language
 - test-first methodology

Of course they didn't know they needed some of these...

At my present job, ... "We're looking for junior through to senior staff -
will consider any experience so long as it's extraordinary - naturally
prefer a good degree or really strong core development background.
Desirable skills/proclivities include XP, StlStyle C++, Python, VHDL,
ObjectOrientedProgramming, conventional and unconventional databases,
unix-related RTOSes, metro-, national-, and international-scale
telecommunications, scientific visualization, deep hardware synthesis ...
in other words, bleeding edge development technologies. Above all we're
looking for the capacity to embrace and extend shocking, iconoclastic, new
ideas."

I'm not sure, but I suspect that colleges teach test-last solo wheel
reinvention. Of course the mental exercize is good for you, and of course
the brain damage will heal in time. But newbies tend to leap out of the
starting gate running in the wrong direction, and we seniors are always
alert to reign them in and point out where the real track is.

But I can't imagine success putting the average entry-level
university-produced engineer alone with the average entry-level manager.
There are just so many dumb mistakes (like a Code-n-Fix or Waterfall
lifecycle) that they've been taught to do in college and which have no
place in the Real World.

--

========== http://www.veryComputer.com/
  --  The price of eternal vigilance is freedom  --

 
 
 

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by A. Jay Mitchel » Sun, 26 Aug 2001 02:53:41


Quote:> "The BSc in computing/ information systems is educating students to build
> commerce/data based computer/information systems.  The domain of
> application is *ly transaction based systems. Examples systems
> include information systems, insurance and banking applications, e-commerce.

> The BE [Bachelor of Engineering] degrees in computer systems/ software are
> educating students to build physics based computer/software  systems.  The
> domain of application is *ly realtime, reactive systems.  Example
> systems include car, train, aeroplane control systems, power station
> control, telephone exchanges, pacemakers."

Those are the descriptions!?!  They've got to be the worse ones I've seen in
a long while.  There is certainly overlap  in the two fields, and I would
hate to generalize to the extent of making it sound too simple, but...

To me, Computer Science is more the theory behind the decisions.  This can
apply to software, hardware architectures, and many other areas.  It hits on
why things are the way they are.  Software Engineering is more the practice
of the theories with an understanding of the tools and processes available
to make it work.  CS is to the ACM as SE is to the IEEE.  CS is to Knuth, Aho,
and Ullman while SE is to Brooks, Mills, and Fagan.

I considered myself a Computer Scientist for oh, 2 years max after my degrees.
Since then, I've been a Software Engineer.

 
 
 

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by Randall S. Becke » Sun, 26 Aug 2001 09:19:35



Quote:> "The BSc in computing/ information systems is educating students to build
> commerce/data based computer/information systems.  The domain of
> application is *ly transaction based systems. Examples systems
> include information systems, insurance and banking applications,
e-commerce.

> The BE [Bachelor of Engineering] degrees in computer systems/ software are
> educating students to build physics based computer/software  systems.  The
> domain of application is *ly realtime, reactive systems.  Example
> systems include car, train, aeroplane control systems, power station
> control, telephone exchanges, pacemakers."

I tend to agree with A.Jay, that the definition of BSc is the biggest load
of *in computing history. What you're describing is essentially a B.A.
in Information Systems, NOT B.Sc. in Computer Science. It would be find for
someone who has pointy hair and wants to manage a bunch of real software
developers (BSc or BE) I would look at the better definition of:

The BSc in Computer Science involves the theory of computing, algorithms,
data structures, mathematical formalisms, representations, and processes of
computer software systems. The domain of application is the application of
automatic computing techniques to data, information, and knowledge
transformations. Example systems include information systems, online data
stores, telecommunication data routing and switching, computer driven
real-time control systems, natural and artificial language translation,
pattern recognition, decision support systems, discrete systems analysis.

Other than the real-time element and discrete systems analysis (the
overlap), I'd be curious which part of a BE covers the BSc definition.

 
 
 

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by Kristofer Skau » Tue, 04 Sep 2001 01:30:20




Quote:> To me, Computer Science is more the theory behind the decisions.<...>
> Software Engineering is more the practice
> of the theories with an understanding of the tools and processes
available
> to make it work.  CS is to the ACM as SE is to the IEEE....

Agreed. I don't have a degree in either discipline (I have an M.Sc. in
Aerospace Engineering), but this was always my understanding. Compares to
for example difference between Nuclear physics and Nuclear engineering.

Kristofer

 
 
 

Difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees

Post by Stephen Bayne » Sat, 08 Sep 2001 17:06:10



> > "The BSc in computing/ information systems is educating students to build
> > commerce/data based computer/information systems.  The domain of
> > application is *ly transaction based systems. Examples systems
> > include information systems, insurance and banking applications, e-commerce.

At least they got a reasonable definition of information systems.

Quote:

> > The BE [Bachelor of Engineering] degrees in computer systems/ software are
> > educating students to build physics based computer/software  systems.  The
> > domain of application is *ly realtime, reactive systems.  Example
> > systems include car, train, aeroplane control systems, power station
> > control, telephone exchanges, pacemakers."

They seem to think an engineer has to be conected closely to some sort of hardware.

Quote:

> Those are the descriptions!?!  They've got to be the worse ones I've seen in
> a long while.  There is certainly overlap  in the two fields, and I would
> hate to generalize to the extent of making it sound too simple, but...

> To me, Computer Science is more the theory behind the decisions.  This can
> apply to software, hardware architectures, and many other areas.  It hits on
> why things are the way they are.  Software Engineering is more the practice
> of the theories with an understanding of the tools and processes available
> to make it work.  CS is to the ACM as SE is to the IEEE.  CS is to Knuth, Aho,
> and Ullman while SE is to Brooks, Mills, and Fagan.

Agreed. A software engineer understands the whole process. CS is deep into
theoretical aspects of certain sorts of programming.

--

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