CS to Computer engineering

Hello guys,
Does anyone have experience with computer engineering? I am in a computer science program at a community college and I find myself wanting to build things with my hands and work with hardware. When I am done with 2 years at CC would anyone recommend getting CS or CE degree. How is the job market for Computer Engineering? I know there are a lot more software jobs out there. I would like to work with automotive systems, maybe build things like drones and use embedded systems. If there are any CE on this thread could you tell me about what your job is like? I really just want a job I enjoy doing. Is it hard to get a hardware/computer engineering job with a CS degree?


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Hello, I’m a CS grad, and knew a few CE grads at the time.

There isn’t really a definitive line between the two degree’s, and there may even be some overlap with the classes you take. The degree’s focus is on two different studies, as you might know, but its worth going over just incase.

Computer Engineering usually is focused more on the “low level” technical aspects of the where computations are ran. (IE the computer hardware) There usually is some overview of general programming principles, and how such programs are ran on the machine hardware.

Computer Science usually focuses more on the theoretical aspect of computing itself. With some focus on how computers are ran, and some focus on practical aspects of computing (like programming languages).

So really the two degrees are distinct but share some overlap due to the nature of how things work, where programs are ran on computers.

I think there are more software engineer/developer jobs out there than computer engineers due to the nature that there usually is more demand for software than hardware to run software on.

However, it is also true that a number of developer jobs have a large amount of competition, which is also expanded upon with an increase in remote jobs. (I would assume Computer Engineering jobs have less ability to work remotely, but this may not always be true)

This is actually much more specific as your effectively trying to work in a specific domain/industry. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean your focusing your choices right out of the gate. This will mean your job prospects are focused on a few jobs in these industries and are more location oriented, as if there are no companies in these industries in your area, your automatically out of luck.

Again its not bad to aim for a computer engineering type job as a CS degree, but it will become a little more interesting in finding and getting the job, especially if you have a CS degree rather than an engineering degree, which puts you at a slight disadvantage when applying for engineering jobs.

I don’t see it as impossible, especially if you have functional knowledge of important concepts and a background in “engineering” things. Usually most CS degrees go into “software engineering” of some kind so you at least get some relevant experience working on engineering projects. Even if the product ends up being software rather than hardware.

I wanted to leave this one for last, as I’m not a Computer Engineer, but I am a Software Engineer. I personally like the idea of building systems to build systems. Or I personally like to focus on streamlining building applications, to build faster, them better, more stable, more secure.

The general idea of engineering something is the same regardless if your building something physical or immaterial. You need to specify the requirements from those involved, build it, test it, release it, get feedback, learn from said feedback and repeat.

Regardless of which engineer you are, you probably have to deal with this process at some capacity. So if anything its worth at least learning. For example one of the most “prominent engineers” of our time actually comes a background in software. Its Elon Musk and he’s built every single of his companies using the same engineering philosophies as he did with is first software startups. Now he builds spaceships that are suppose to get us to Mars, using the same processes he learned and leveraged with his software companies.

So there is some overlap in both fields. Maybe you want to get into computer engineering for another reason, and thats totally cool! Just wanted to bring out this 1 thing that makes a CS and CE person basically handle and do the same thing :slight_smile:

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The distinction between CS and CE will depend on the school you go to. There is usually a fair amount of overlap in the coursework, especially for the first couple years. CE tends to borrow a bit from the Electrical Engineering curriculum and also to spend more time on assembly code and computer architecture and less time on software.

It sounds like CE is more of what you are interested in, but it will depend on the program.


Thank you so much, this was very helpful and thorough.