• Computer Science vs. Software Engineering: Which Degree is Right for me?

  • Once, the idea of a computer that fits in your palm or a watch that can be used as a phone was better suited for Star Trek and the Jetsons than real life. Today, the rise of “smart” technology (everything from phones and watches to speakers and thermostats) make such devices not only commonplace, but necessary. A smartphone isn’t a luxury anymore; for many, it’s become a necessity for managing their work and life.

    As technology continues to grow and become more and more integrated into everyday life, the job market has taken notice, making computer science jobs the “sexy” career choice for many entering the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in software development are expected to grow 24% by 2024, while computer and information research scientists and database administrators can expect to see job growth of 19% and 11%, respectively. In fact, the US News & World Report 100 Best Jobs list for 2018 listed software developer as its #1 job, with a median salary of $100,080.

    Those are some impressive stats, but how can you take advantage of all of that? A graduate degree in computer science or software engineering is the best way to break into this increasingly lucrative field. However, not all degrees are created equal, and finding the best fit for you comes down to your specific needs and interests, as well as your experience.

    Choosing a computer science vs. a software engineering program can be summed up this way: if you’re looking for a curriculum that takes a broader focus on the theoretical and practical areas of computer science, you’re probably looking for a computer science degree. If you have more of an interest in the design, development and testing of software systems, you should look at a degree in software engineering. And for those of you looking to enter the field without a computer science background, your best bet is to look into earning a post-baccalaureate certificate to make sure you’re caught up to speed before entering the job market or a graduate program.

    Still not sure what program is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of Drexel’s online programs in computer science and software engineering to help you find your perfect fit.

    Computer Science vs Software Engineering


    Computer Science

    Software Engineering


























    So, what program will work best for you? To help you decide, here is a breakdown of the computer science and software engineering programs that Drexel offers.

    MS in Computer Science

    With an equal emphasis on theory and practical skills, you’ll emerge from Drexel’s online MS in Computer Science with the solid foundation needed for all computer science professionals. Expect to gain an in-depth understanding of both core and advanced topics, with an emphasis on learning the latest industry tools to solve real-world problems.

    • Pros: The program combines theory, research and practical skills like software programming and algorithms to prepare you for the next step in your career. And just what might that next step be? Graduates with degrees in computer science can land jobs like computer systems analyst, database administrator and computer and information research scientist. Drexel faculty have expertise in numerous areas, including artificial intelligence, applied algorithms and data structures, networking and security and scientific computation, so no matter what your interests are, you’re likely to find a faculty member who shares your passion. A thesis option is also available.

    MS in Software Engineering

    The best way to describe Drexel’s online MS in Software Engineering is “industry-relevant.” That’s because the program focuses heavily on not only foundational knowledge, but key topics that software engineers need to thrive in a competitive job market. Plus, Drexel professors are professionals in the software engineering field, which means you will have the benefit of industry knowledge from faculty who have excelled in the field.

    • Pros: In addition to theoretical and practical coursework surrounding the world of software engineering, the program will focus on skills like product development and leadership and entrepreneurship. The goal of the program is to create professionals who are able to adapt to and thrive in this rapidly changing field. Graduates from this program will have the skills to command competitive salaries with titles like software developer, systems programmer and computer and information systems manager. A thesis option is available.

    Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science

    If you have no previous experience with programming or computer science and are looking to enter the field, Drexel’s online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science is the perfect path to a new career. The program is designed for professionals from different fields and focuses on the theoretical and technical foundations of computer science, including software programming and algorithms, to prepare you for the next step in your education or job search.

    • Pros: The certificate is designed to help you build foundational knowledge in computer science, making it the perfect entryway into the field for professionals looking to change careers. After completing the certificate with a grade of a B or higher, you can transfer into the online MS in Computer Science, MS in Software Engineering or MS in Cybersecurity.

    Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics offers accredited online degrees in computer science and software engineering. Take the next step in your career with a degree from Drexel University!

    Which one is right for you? Apply Today!