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Computer Science? or Engr.? or I.T.?

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April 18, 2009 1:26:25 AM

1. Which has the higher demand/salary?
2. What are the common things about them?
3. What are the different things about them?
4. Where does Comp. Sci/Engr/I.T. focus on?

Thanks in advance!

I'm a graduating computer technician student and I want to pursue more of my career by achieving a degree.

I enjoy programming, networking, desktop support or any troubleshooting as long as I'm working with a computer. I'm more capable on programming and I think I enjoy it more a little. But I'm afraid if I choose Comp. Science, would I be stuck sitting in front of a computer the whole day and only knows about programming? If I.T., some people says that demands for I.T. graduates are becoming less in the near future. If Comp. Engr., would I be stuck in computer repairs? BUT if the comp. engrs. do some programmings/networking, I think that would be my choice.

I want to have a job not focusing on doing only just one thing.

More about : computer science engr

a b L Programming
April 25, 2009 2:02:51 PM

I can answer for here in Quebec (Canada), I'm not sure how things change from place to place.

I think it all depends on what you like the most. On a scale ranging from "hardware" to "software", computer eng. would be mostly on the hardware side, computer science would be mostly on the software side and software eng. would probably be the middle point and IT would sit between computer science and software eng.. They all do a little programming I think, but amount of time they spend on such tasks will vary.

Where I studied for my soft. eng. degree, we also had an IT program, but it isn't what most would call IT (sysadmin and the likes), it was more like an "applied science" branch of computer sciences. Most of the classes were multimedia or e-commerce oriented. The multimedia part isn't the 3D Studio max stuff, it's information gathering, processing, analysis and display in a multimedia context (ex: voice recognition, text to speech, ...).

For most of these jobs you will spend close to all your time behind a desk (the higher the degree, the bigger the desk :p ), but what you do behind it will vary. I personally think software engineering is widest discipline, but you will not be as specialized when you come out of school. However, if you like both hardware and software, you might want to try to find a degree specialized toward embedded software (something between soft. eng. and comp. eng.). I know my university had a post-graduate program like that, but not for under-graduate (maybe the electrical engineering with software specialization ...).

Make a few calls, ask questions, go meet people, some at universities could probably help.
April 26, 2009 1:46:37 AM

Zenthar said:
I can answer for here in Quebec (Canada), I'm not sure how things change from place to place.

I think it all depends on what you like the most. On a scale ranging from "hardware" to "software", computer eng. would be mostly on the hardware side, computer science would be mostly on the software side and software eng. would probably be the middle point and IT would sit between computer science and software eng.. They all do a little programming I think, but amount of time they spend on such tasks will vary.

Where I studied for my soft. eng. degree, we also had an IT program, but it isn't what most would call IT (sysadmin and the likes), it was more like an "applied science" branch of computer sciences. Most of the classes were multimedia or e-commerce oriented. The multimedia part isn't the 3D Studio max stuff, it's information gathering, processing, analysis and display in a multimedia context (ex: voice recognition, text to speech, ...).

For most of these jobs you will spend close to all your time behind a desk (the higher the degree, the bigger the desk :p ), but what you do behind it will vary. I personally think software engineering is widest discipline, but you will not be as specialized when you come out of school. However, if you like both hardware and software, you might want to try to find a degree specialized toward embedded software (something between soft. eng. and comp. eng.). I know my university had a post-graduate program like that, but not for under-graduate (maybe the electrical engineering with software specialization ...).

Make a few calls, ask questions, go meet people, some at universities could probably help.



Software Engineer is exactly the job I want to be prepared to. While there was no people replying to this thread, I also browse universities' websites, asking people in other forums, searching, researching, etc..
And finally realizing which subject I enjoy and excel at. The subject where we make a system via object-oriented programming/something and apply it in a program, I forgot the subject's name though.
That's what software engr.s mostly do right?

And I'm glad, someone reply to this thread and he's a software engr.

Sir, to be a software engr., which course should I take? Comp Sci/IT/Other?
And what specializations are there?

Thanks.
Related resources
a b L Programming
April 26, 2009 3:59:18 AM

Crap, now I get called "sir", how to feel old.

Software engineers can do many things really it is mostly up to you and the experience you get. Many will start as developers, some will stay developers, some will become software architects, some will specialize in QA/QC.

As for which classes you have to take, I'm not sure I can be of much help, here in Quebec (and Canada in general) "Engineer" is a reserved title and your formation has to meet specific criteria some of which has to do with the amount of classes in different fields of science. For example, I had to take classes in physics, electricity, fluid's thermodynamics, economics, ...

I would gladly provide you with my university's website address, but close to all the information there is in french ... However, I found a neighboring anglophone university (20 minutes walk to be exact :p ) which has some descriptions of the program and the classes:
  • http://www.mcgill.ca/engineering/degrees/software/
  • http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/academic/undergrad/programs/se/
  • http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/academic/undergrad/programs/se/...

    If you want, here is the site translated by google translation, you can look at the class titles, they are quite self-explanatory.
    http://translate.google.ca/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=n...

    If you have questions on any specific class, I might be able to answer them.
    April 26, 2009 4:19:26 AM

    zaphate said:
    1. Which has the higher demand/salary?
    2. What are the common things about them?
    3. What are the different things about them?
    4. Where does Comp. Sci/Engr/I.T. focus on?

    Thanks in advance!

    I'm a graduating computer technician student and I want to pursue more of my career by achieving a degree.

    I enjoy programming, networking, desktop support or any troubleshooting as long as I'm working with a computer. I'm more capable on programming and I think I enjoy it more a little. But I'm afraid if I choose Comp. Science, would I be stuck sitting in front of a computer the whole day and only knows about programming? If I.T., some people says that demands for I.T. graduates are becoming less in the near future. If Comp. Engr., would I be stuck in computer repairs? BUT if the comp. engrs. do some programmings/networking, I think that would be my choice.

    I want to have a job not focusing on doing only just one thing.



    If you like programming, join CS. You will do a lot of coding. By the time you get out of school, you should be fluent in at least 4 languages. Again, it depends on the school you go. Different schools have different program. Generally, cs focuses on software programming.
    April 26, 2009 5:46:20 AM

    It all depends on the languages you know and skills you have. Good programming skills and habits work across most languages. Even if you're an awesome programmer, nobody wants to work with the guy who turns out spaghetti code or poorly documented code. As far as web technologies there are alot of jobs for PHP programmers, but the ones that pay better also require you to have additional skills such as database design or using PHP to generate Javascript. AJAX is a buzzword, so what's more important is the AJAX tools you know how to use and what you can do with them. Different skill sets command different pay rates, so it just depends on what you want to do.

    If you're going into CS make sure you do some programming on your own. Being able to pick up and apply skills outside the classroom is important. Depending on what you want to do it's sometimes nice to have a portfolio, so save all you're interesting work (BTW I'm horrible at that since even though I save alot it's so unorganized it can get useless :o  ). Working with open source technologies can help, and so can contributing to them.
    April 26, 2009 1:32:26 PM

    Zenthar, thanks and sorry for making you feel old.

    Thanks for sharing lessons from your experience, megaman.

    Thank you too, htoonthura.


    I've just found the harsh reality, I can't afford the tuition to those courses.

    Shall I look for low quality schools with low tuition fees? or
    Shall I work and save some money for the meantime?
    a b L Programming
    April 26, 2009 2:12:06 PM

    IMO, there is more to gain from experience than from a degree (here in Quebec at least). I got my first software related job 9 years ago after by college degree in CS and since then took about a 2 years break to finish my bachelor degree full-time; some of my college buddies just continued working and, in the end, they are pretty much in the same position I'm in salary wise. Degrees will make a difference mostly over time because of opportunities you will have.
    April 26, 2009 10:19:15 PM

    It also apply here in the Philippines, Knowledge & Experience > Degree

    You and your buddies have the same position? but
    Your salary is bigger than their? Wow!

    With background programming languages like Qbasic, VB, C++,
    What kind of works can I apply for?
    a b L Programming
    April 26, 2009 11:13:55 PM

    We don't have the same kind of positions (I work at a multi-national organization so it takes quite longer to rise), but similar salaries. However, from other people I know, the thing changes over time. In the end, the one with higher education will get paid more and may get better jobs, but in the first 5-10 years it won't change, but you might get an edge at job interviews.
    April 27, 2009 12:36:29 AM

    Just start coding, preferably something you're interested in. Get enough knowledge to get a job as a code monkey at a company that has a college tuition reimbursement program.
    April 27, 2009 12:38:19 AM

    By the way, it the software field your knowledge and skills are alot more important than where you got your degree from. Still, at least having a degree from somewhere, preferably a school with a somewhat known CS program, goes a long way towards negotiating higher pay :) .
    April 27, 2009 1:13:19 PM

    Zenthar and megaman,

    I've learned a lot from you guys. Things I will not learn from any school.

    Any more senior advice? :D 
    a b L Programming
    April 27, 2009 1:43:03 PM

    Even better, now I'm a "senior" :p .

    To be honest, I don't think I'm not THAT experienced, I only have ~7 years experience over the 9 years since I finished college. The few advices I can give you would probably apply to any jobs:
  • Learn to learn (this will make switching from one programming language to another much easier)
  • Learn to adapt
  • There is no such things as magic and/or silver bullets (I find this very useful if you work in web dev. as I think the field is pretty much Buzzword Driven)
  • Always try to find how things work
  • Get familiar with Despair.com's various wisdom perls
  • Anything you will work with is probably a system of infinite complexity, you can never control everything
  • Complexity doesn't have to be complicated
  • Find the right tool for the right job
  • Nothing is independent computers, software and hardware are ALWAYS interconnected
    April 28, 2009 10:25:08 PM

    Thanks thanks thanks!

    Despair.com... It's good. It puts my feet back in the ground and reality.

    But I can't understand the meaning and wisdom behind some posters though.
    Maybe I'm too young for now.

    So, lower expectations = much better achievements huh?
    a b L Programming
    April 28, 2009 11:18:23 PM

    Lower expectation = higher success rate

    Like saying that when you a pessimistic you only have good surprises :p .

    You have to take these things with a grain of salt.
    April 30, 2009 1:59:30 PM

    You have to take these things with a grain of salt? Wow! it's deep.

    What does that mean?

    I could have understand it if it's...
    You have to take these things as a grain of salt.
    a b L Programming
    April 30, 2009 3:19:24 PM

    It means to take something with a certain amount of skepticism, reservation (Wikipedia). This expression might be more commonly used in French than English, I don't know :p .
    May 22, 2009 4:37:40 PM

    If you have what it takes to be an engineering student then I would suggest you look at becoming a petroleum engineer, chemical engineer, or mechanical engineer. The first two get top dollar and jobs coming out of college. The latter is in high-demand with America's infrastructure going to hell in a hand-basket.

    Unfortunately, the computer field has far more people than jobs. There was an intern opening in town and 174 applicants applied for the one position. Given the economy, and cs jobs being outsourced, then you are just going to have a tough time in the USA...which is really too bad and I hate to see it happening.

    Another field would be education. Get your CS degree and you will be math certified and get a job in the schools. Once you are in a computer teaching job, then life is easy street. Not a bad gig.
    May 23, 2009 4:28:26 AM

    Yoder54 said:
    If you have what it takes to be an engineering student then I would suggest you look at becoming a petroleum engineer, chemical engineer, or mechanical engineer. The first two get top dollar and jobs coming out of college. The latter is in high-demand with America's infrastructure going to hell in a hand-basket.

    Unfortunately, the computer field has far more people than jobs. There was an intern opening in town and 174 applicants applied for the one position. Given the economy, and cs jobs being outsourced, then you are just going to have a tough time in the USA...which is really too bad and I hate to see it happening.

    Another field would be education. Get your CS degree and you will be math certified and get a job in the schools. Once you are in a computer teaching job, then life is easy street. Not a bad gig.


    I'm biased, but I agree. Software guys are a dime a dozen now, with the tech boom in the mid 90s to early 00s. I do modeling work at a major oil compnay and I can tell you first hand that if you're good at what you do they'll hire you, even now. There's a huge shortage of everything in the oil industry. Most of the larger companies write their own inhouse software to do ... whatever the inhouse math guys come up with. One of my friends has a PhD in applied math, and he just sits arouns and thinks up ideas all day; he has his own programmer that turns those ideas into code. You would have to get a graduate degree, but it think it's well worth it.

    Just my two cents...
    a b L Programming
    May 23, 2009 8:12:17 PM

    I'd like to point-out that like most "Klondike" jobs (like software was in the 90s), it can be great now and quickly spiral to hell, so make sure you LOVE what you are doing because you might not get paid that well forever.

    I know some people who made ~110K$/year in software (high pay here in Quebec) in the 90s and are now making "only" ~90K$/year (and have 10 years more experience than back then).

    In the end, remember that if you need a therapist to keep going, he'll probably cost you more per hour than you will make :p .
    !