What is the difference between computer engineering and computer science

Computer science and computer engineering are two project based fields of study that are interdisciplinary and interdependent. Perhaps people confuse their differences because of the relationship they share. But for avoidance of doubt they are two varying areas where students are taught to build two varying but interdependent features of a computer system. The research material for students in these two fields is a clear indication of the differences.

Let’s take them one after the other first by establishing the scope of computer science and that of computer engineering. We will go further to point out the relationship they share with each other and perhaps identify  some research project topics of these two fields.

  What about computer science and what area does it cover?

Computer science is the study of how data and instruction is processed, stored, secured and communicated across networking systems. It has to do with the use of instructional computer languages for processing data using mathematical principles to build computer and system softwares. This include the study of techniques for programming softwares, principles for sharing data within and across systems, emulating or perceiving human intelligence and implementing it through statistical principles.

What about computer engineering and what area does it cover?

Computer engineering on the other hand takes a little bit of computer science and electrical engineering. It has to do with the study of building of computer hardwares and general building of computer physical properties. Some of the areas include building micro-processors, motherboards, keyboard, the visual space (monitor), central processing units and the general physical connectivity of computer hardwares.

What is the relationship between computer science and computer engineering?

Computer science and computer engineering however share some very peculiar relationship. While it may not necessarily be termed similarity, the two cannot work without each other. So how does this really happen?

  • The entire computer working system relies on the activity of hardwares and softwares. While the hardwares takes cares of the physical connectivity and houses the entire processing body, the software determines what exactly the computer system does. A simple example is a mobile phone and its applications. The phone itself is the hardware while those applications are the softwares.
  • They both rely on information and communication technology. This simply means that the kind of computer hardwares and software they build depend heavily on the inventions in technology. As new tech ideas emerge, new softwares and hardwares are built to fit the new innovations.


Here are examples of project topics in computer science and computer engineering

I’m going to give one project topic sample each. This is just to differentiate the two fields a little further.

For computer engineering, the project topic sounds like:

Comparative study of the performance of mimo equalizers for wireless communication receivers’.


For computer science, the project topic may sound like:

Design and implementation of online vehicle and plate number registration and identification system’

Haven done justice to the issues raised in the beginning, I hope you can now differentiate between computer science and computer engineering.

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