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Difference between Computer Engineers

TatterToddTatterTodd Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited February 2011 in Engineering Majors
Hello, I have some questions regarding the field of computer engineering.

1. Do I need to pursuit an area in Computer Engineering like software, hardware, etc or is it overall the same when I receive that degree?

2. What is the different in majoring in Computer Engineering and Computer SCIENCE? Is Comp. Sc. a smaller piece into Comp. Eng.?

3. What classes or knowledge would be necessary for a Computer Engineer? Ex: I am planning on taking AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and AP computer science A in my next school year. Would be the right path or classes to take?

Sorry if these questions don't make sense or extremely dumb, I tried to research it but I can't find a clear answer and I don't know much about College either. Current a Junior in Highschool.

Much is appreciated!
Post edited by TatterTodd on

Replies to: Difference between Computer Engineers

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,073 Senior Member
    TatterTodd wrote:
    2. What is the different in majoring in Computer Engineering and Computer SCIENCE? Is Comp. Sc. a smaller piece into Comp. Eng.?

    It varies by school. Where there is a difference, it may be a greater emphasis on hardware versus software for computer engineering. If computer engineering is under the engineering division, it will likely have engineering requirements like physics and other courses depending on physics. But you have to check each school's curriculum descriptions and course lists.

    At some universities, entrance into one major may be more selective than the other, due to popularity. This can apply to freshman admission, declaring the major when already there as an undeclared student, or transfer admission, or all of these situations.
    TatterTodd wrote:
    3. What classes or knowledge would be necessary for a Computer Engineer? Ex: I am planning on taking AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and AP computer science A in my next school year. Would be the right path or classes to take?

    If the program requires physics, then it will be helpful to take the best physics course you can in high school. However, be aware that many universities do not accept AP physics (even C, especially E&M) for subject credit for engineering majors. Taking the best computer science course in your high school is also the best choice, even though AP computer science A may not be accepted for any usable subject credit (the discontinued AB version was more widely accepted). Obviously, you want to take the best math courses available as well (calculus BC if offered).

    If you run out of courses to take in high school, you may want to consider taking transferable courses in physics and college/university sophomore level math at a local community college. If you go to a community college, discrete math and/or calculus-based statistics, if offered, may also be worth taking there.

    However, it certainly is possible to enter and successfully complete a computer science major at a good university even without any AP credit.
  • TatterToddTatterTodd Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    I will take AP Calculus BC next year also. I forgot to include that in my question. The main school I focus on trying to get into would be Georgia Tech. I just received a letter from the Georgia Tech College of Computing that offer me a Computer Science A too.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,073 Senior Member
    Georgia Tech computer engineering course list

    Georgia Tech computer science threads (options)

    It appears that Georgia Tech computer engineering is primarily focused on computer hardware design, or software topics that closely interact with hardware. Georgia Tech computer science appears more software (and theory) oriented, and you choose (at least?) two threads (subareas) to focus on. Computer engineering requires more physics courses.

    Here is Georgia Tech's AP credit policy. It looks like they do accept AP physics C E&M and AP computer science A for subject credit.
  • TatterToddTatterTodd Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Incredibly helpful. Thank you very much!

    In terms of demands of job and wages, which one would be better off than the other? I know the field doesn't determine the money, it's your own being. But I'm curious to know.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,269 Senior Member
    I believe software (Comp Sci) is outearning hardware (Comp Eng) right now, and likely for the foreseeable future. BTW, Comp Eng does specialize, but not nearly as much as some other fields, at least not in college. Comp Eng is already essentially a specialization of EE, so you won't get much narrower until you are in industry.
  • TatterToddTatterTodd Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Can you explain what you mean by 'much narrower'?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,073 Senior Member
    TatterTodd wrote:
    In terms of demands of job and wages, which one would be better off than the other?

    Georgia Tech's career center has a survey of graduates:

    Georgia Institute of Technology :: Salary Reports

    Be careful about using one year's data. However, note that overall economic and industry cycles have a large effect in different years (e.g. compare civil engineering in 2006 to 2009).
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,269 Senior Member
    By narrower I mean that a computer has numerous subsystems, and Comp Eng students learn them all but rarely in much depth. In practice, however, professional computer engineers focus on individual systems, subsystems, or components - a narrowing and deepening of their field.
This discussion has been closed.