Difference Between Computer Engineering and Computer Science – Explained by a Computer Engineer

What is difference between computer engineering and computer science in the Philippines? This question has been asked many times in various platforms. One can be found at Reddit, and some are in Quora. Luckily, question was answered accordingly. However, the answer was vague and unclear.

They quote several links about the difference between the two. Others say that they are the same. So, the student asking the question, and the person reading the answers were much more confused.

We will answer the difference and similarities of the two in this blog. Before we begin, did you know that the CPECB released the 1st Batch of Certified Computer Engineers and Professional Computer Engineers? Yes. They have passed the exam through the implementation of Grandfather’s Rule (GFR).

General Program Differences

Let us see how the Philippines, thru CHED differentiates the two (2) programs.

Computer Engineering student codes for seamless integration of software and hardware.

The computer engineering program embodies the science in the technology of design, development, implementation, maintenance, and integration of software and hardware components in modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment.

Computer Science students code a piece of software.

On the other hand, the computer science program prepares the students to acquire the skills required for designing, writing, and modifying software components, modules, and applications that compromise software solutions.

See? Computer engineering program focuses on the integration of software and hardware components of modern computing systems, while; computer science focuses on designing, writing, and modifying algorithms to solve computing problems.

In short, computer science students focus on coding, while computer engineering students focus on coding so that the hardware component of a system works well.

Does it answers your questions? Hopefully, yes. They both have programming subjects, but CPEs code to integrate hardware component in their system.

Course Outline and Subjects

Aside from program definitions, there are also differences in their curriculum. Let us ask for the assistance of our friends from Holy Angel University. The BSCpE is under the Engineering Department while BSCS is not. Why BSCpE under the engineering department? Because Computer Engineering is a branch of Engineering while BSCS is not.

Additionally here are the snapshot of professional courses of both programs

For BSCpE Curriculum
For BSCS Curriculum

You can view this after downloading the CHED’s memorandum for each program. Let us observe the similarities of each course’s subjects.

Both have Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Operating Systems, Networks Security and Communication, Data Structure and Algorithms, Professional Practice, Thesis Writing for BSCS, CPE Practice and Design for BSCPE.

On the other hand, BSCpE’s Computer Architecture and Organization might be different from Architecture and Organization of BSCS. Same thing with OJT of BSCpE and Practicum of BSCS. Also, Discrete Mathematics and Discrete Structures.

Their differences are the hardware integration subjects such as the Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Embedded Systems, Microprocessors, Feedback and Control Systems, and Logic and Circuits Design. These are composed of hardware components such as breadboard, resistors, sensors, etc. (These are common devices from EEs and ECEs)

While the BSCS are commonly focused on Programming subjects such as Software Engineering, Intermediate Programming, Programming Languages, Formal Languages, Computing and Programming, and Information Management.

CS Thesis Writing and CpE Practice and Design

You are now fully informed between the similarities and differences of BSCpE and BSCS. Let us now proceed on their thesis writing.

Basically, thesis writing are scheduled during the 4th year, 1st and 2nd semesters for BSCS, and 5th year 1st and 2nd semesters for BSCPE. It depends on how the program has been mapped by your university. In my case, we have our Design 1 (Thesis Writing) on the 1st and Design 2 (Project Implementation) on our 2nd Sem of our 5th year.

What could be a BSCS student propose for his Thesis? Honestly, I don’t know. But, what I see in FB groups are different web development projects and systems. Hotel Reservation Systems, School Enrollment System, Mobile Applications, Scheduling and Reservation System for Travel Agencies. Online Stores, POS, Websites, Android Apps, IOS Apps, Mobile Apps. Hospital Records Management Systems, Social Media Apps.

Coding on the left, output on the right.

As you can see, those thesis ideas are usually focused on software engineering, coding and programming. You need a programming language, additional monitor to “save” and “refresh” your design.

The computer engineering students can view the different research papers of certified computer engineers and professional computer engineers to give them ideas. ComSci student can also visit the link.

During my undergraduate schooling, we developed an Online Bulletin Board. Students and instructors can post learning materials and assignments there. Online bulleting board is common nowadays. You can compare it with Edmodo/Canvas.

Additionally, we have published a Research Paper published internationally. Our team was composed of electronics and communications engineers (ECEs) and electrical engineers (EEs). The iMALERT mobile app focuses on the utilization of smartphones, and smartphone users as a triggering device for Emergency Responses.

Career Options and Average Salary

When we say career options, it is the path you will be taking after your graduation. Your possible job in the industry. Computer Engineers and Computer Science graduates can work together in one company. They can be both developers. Also, they can design software and mobile apps as requested by their bosses. 3

They can also work as a network engineer, network administrator, system administrator. web administrator, server administrator. As an entry-level, you can apply for a system analyst, data analyst, data controller, programmer, developer of a certain company.

You can work for a private company in Pampanga, Cebu, or in NCR. Additionally, you can also apply for a job in the Government. But, you have to read this article first before trying.

Let’s talk about salary. There could be a difference between computer engineering and computer science in the Philippines. However, they could also have the same entry-level compensation.

In Accenture, they give ₱23,000 monthly income for BSCS graduates and ₱24,000 for BSCpEs. Basically, it only differs on the company your are applying for. Some companies would give allowances and bonuses. Some might not. It’s just a matter of fate and luck.

I have prepared a comprehensive salary guide for computer engineers. Check it out because BSCS graduates can also use that as a their basis. The difference between computer engineering and computer science salary in the Philippines might be their years of experience and nature of work. Moreover, their qualifications and handheld certificates from various private entities.

Wrapping It Up

The difference today of CpE’s and CS is that, CpEs can take Certifcation exam conducted by the Computer Engineering Certification Board. They recently released the 1st Batch of Passers thru the GFR. I don’t know about the BSCS graduates. Anyways, you can take the Civil Service Exam if you are planning to work in the government. But, I’m warning you, read my article about Why I Hate Working in the Philippine Government.

Aside from certification exams, the ICpEP annually holds a National Convention. The convention promotes the professional ethics of a computer engineer. Moreover, research papers, presentations and networks is manifested in the said general assembly.

I’m sorry, but I do not know about the BSCS whether they have professional organization. If there’s any, please comment down below.

The only thing that they have in common is the love for computers. The love of pc gaming and pc building.

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