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Computer Science or Software Engineer?

Last response: in Work & Education
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July 18, 2013 7:28:22 AM

I'm about to start my sophmore year in college, and have decided to make a humongous switch in my projected degree path. I'm going from a Fine arts Major with a focus in Illustration with a graphic design background, to either a computer science or software engineering major. My issue is I have no idea which to choose.

From what I can tell they are both relatively the same major, the little exception is that Software engineering is more specialized. So I'm asking the people here on Tom's their opinion on the two.

Like most 19 year old males in todays society who look at degrees in computers I would love to go into gaming development and design, but the way I look at that, it's like saying I want to go to Hollywood to try and become a successful actor(get a job here and there but nothing really substantial). Mainly anytype of software development is what I want to do, but honestly I'm willing to try and get a feel for anything that might be of interest.

Anyways, whatever advice, input, or thoughts you might have feel free to give them because I will read and take in anything that seems remotely helpful. Thanks!

-Frederd4
July 18, 2013 8:01:02 AM

I would find an credit/class audit sheet for each major, and compare. From there, talk to the professors; they are going to know better than anyone else.

If that still leaves you on the fence, take some classes from both, see if it is something tickles you.
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July 18, 2013 8:37:10 AM

I have been involved with IT for more than 40 years (seriously) and am involved in hiring of IT professionals and software developers now. If 2 otherwise identical resumes/applications crossed my desk for consideration, the nod would likely go to the software engineer for most of my requirements (even if those reqts were more "computer science oriented").

Software engineers really need a solid foundation of computer science knowledge to be successful, the converse is not necessarily true.

Just my $0.02.
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Best solution

July 18, 2013 9:33:45 AM

@Frederer, before you "switch", try to answer to yourself following questions:
- how many credits from your current program you can carry over?
- how you will finance this additional one (two) years of college?
- have you checked open positions at game development companies - there's a chance they a looking for an artist, not a software guy (these days, CS majors are graduating left and right from colleges)

As for which one to choose: I would also recommend going to software engineering, not computer sciences. As a parent of two graduates: These two majors are usually taught at different schools, and engineering get broader coverage of the field. If you can get a minor in arts / design / illustration, this will be a major point in quest of a game studios.
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