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28 August 2023

Navigating Tech Careers: Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science

As per recent survey reports, the tech industry is expected to have a massive growth of 15% in the coming years. Another research predicts that there will be over 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices by 2025 that will drive our homes, cities, and workplaces.

When we come across these astounding figures, we realise that we are soon transforming into a society that will be driven by technology. With that being said, the demand for skilled tech professionals will also increase rapidly. Now that we know that the demand will surge, it brings us to another question: Which one is a better tech career - Computer Engineering or Computer Science? Which course offers better career opportunities and how should one align their interests accordingly?

Today, we shall dive into the nuances of both fields, exploring the educational paths, curriculum, and career trajectories that set Computer Engineering and Computer Science apart. So, whether one is drawn to constructing hardware or possesses a knack for coding, let's navigate the crossroads of tech careers together!

Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science: Course Duration

A Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Computer Engineering typically is of 4 years. The programme includes both theoretical coursework and practical hands-on experience through laboratory work, projects, and internships. Furthermore, one can also pursue a Master's degree in the same field, which is again a 2-year degree programme.

A B.Tech in Computer Science is a 4-year undergraduate programme across most of the engineering colleges in India. Along with theoretical coursework, the curriculum also exposes the students to practical projects, onsite visits, and internships. After completing their undergraduate programme, students can apply for a two-year postgraduate degree in Master of Technology (M. Tech) in Computer Science.

Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science: Course Eligibility

For an undergraduate degree in both fields, the candidate must have studied their 10+2 with PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Maths) background and must bear a minimum percentage between 50 and 60 in their 12th examinations. They must also clear entrance exams, such as JEE Main (Joint Entrance Examination-Main), State-Level Engineering Entrance Exams, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSA), and other university-specific entrance exams.

Similarly, for the postgraduate degree in both fields, the minimum percentage requirement is around 50% to 60% aggregate in the undergraduate degree. Additionally, some institutions may require a valid Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) score or equivalent entrance exam score for an M.Tech degree.

Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science: Course Curriculum

The course curriculum for B.Tech and M.Tech in Computer Science and Computer Engineering can be different across various institutions of the country. However, let’s see a general overview of the subjects and topics that are commonly covered in each of the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes.

Core Subjects in B.Tech in Computer Science Core Subjects in B.Tech in Computer Engineering
Data Structures Data Structures
Computer Organisation and Architecture Digital Logic Design
Digital Logic Design Computer Organisation and Architecture
Object-Oriented Programming Object-Oriented Programming
Microprocessors and Microcontrollers Microprocessors and Microcontrollers
Database Management Systems Database Management Systems
Operating Systems Operating Systems
Algorithms Algorithms
Computer Networks Computer Networks
Software Engineering Software Engineering
Web Technologies Web Technologies
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence


Core Subjects in M.Tech in Computer Science Core Subjects in M.Tech in Computer Engineering
Advanced Algorithms Advanced Computer Architecture
Machine Learning VLSI Design and Testing
Artificial Intelligence Advanced Digital Signal Processing
Data Mining and Warehousing Embedded Systems
Advanced Computer Networks High-Performance Computing
Distributed Systems Network Protocols and Security
Advanced Operating Systems Advanced Algorithms
Software Engineering Cloud Computing and Virtualisation
Cloud Computing Internet of Things (IoT)
Natural Language Processing Cybersecurity and Privacy
Cryptography and Network Security Internet of Things (IoT)
Advanced Database Management Systems Advanced Artificial Intelligence

Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science: Career Opportunities

There are ample opportunities in both the fields of computer science and computer engineering. One can utilise the knowledge and skills gained during undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to navigate career opportunities across various industries and sectors. Let’s observe some of the potential career paths one can pursue after completing a degree in computer science or computer engineering!

Career Prospects after Computer Engineering
Machine Learning Engineers use their strong programming skills and knowledge of data science to design and develop machine learning systems, implement appropriate ML algorithms, and conduct experiments. An artificial intelligence engineer creates algorithms that are capable of learning, assessing, and forecasting future events. Network engineers are expert professionals who establish and maintain networks within an organisation or between organisations. Mobile app developers build applications for mobile devices, working on platforms like iOS and Android, using programming languages and tools. UI/UX designers create user interfaces and experiences that enhance the usability and visual appeal of software applications and websites.

Career Prospects after Computer Science
Software Developers build and design computer programmes that power desktop computers, smartphones, and even cars. Web developers create and maintain websites, and web applications with the help of programming languages, and design tools. Data analysts analyse and interpret complex data to extract important information. Database Administrators manage and maintain databases, ensuring efficient storage, retrieval, and security of data for organisations. Cybersecurity Analysts protect computer systems and networks from cyber threats by implementing security measures and monitoring for vulnerabilities.

Way Forward

Both computer science and computer engineering are technology-driven domains centred around computer and information systems. While we learn about the development of computer systems in computer engineering, on the other hand, we build innovative solutions with the help of computer science. For individuals who like delving into hardware intricacies or envisioning user interfaces, computer engineering might resonate more deeply. However, if an individual likes data analysis and computer networks, computer science might hold greater appeal.