There are a wide range of computer science and engineering degrees, depending upon the academic institution, subject major and program level. In general, computer science and engineering degrees can be obtained only from accredited colleges or universities. In the United States, a college diploma is often referred to as a degree. In most other nations, these two academic credentials are quite different and are not considered interchangeable.
Computer science and engineering degrees are very technical in nature and are available in specific areas of focus. In most institutes, students are required to declare a major by the end of the first year of studies. First-year courses in both fields are the same for all the majors and provide the basic foundation upon which all further study is built.
Computer science majors include topics such as hardware, software, system design and infrastructure. Engineering degree majors include civil, electrical, mechanical and biomedical, among others. In addition to these core programs, some schools offer additional courses or minors, such as robotics, human integration devises, weaponry and telecommunications.
Computer science and engineering degrees from technical schools or at the community college level typically are two- to three-year programs. The primary focus is on the development of practical skills, the application of knowledge to problem solving and developing a strong basic knowledge of the overall concepts. Upon graduation, students can complete certificate programs to further their knowledge or bridging programs to gain admission into a university.
The computer science and engineering degrees available from a university are four years in length and have a heavy focus on theory. Students are expected to obtain a significant depth of knowledge, in both their subject major and related fields. Upon completion, a graduate can apply to a master's program for further study.
The different levels of computer science and engineering degrees available are based on the size of the school and the local industry. Schools located in industrialized centers typically provide a greater breadth and depth of program than schools that are not primarily engineering focused. The reason for this is based on employment opportunity and demand for skills. If the local employers need staff members with a specific skill set, they can work with the local schools to form programs to meet this need.
People who enjoy the greatest level of success in computer science and engineering degree programs are detail-oriented, are focused and have an excellent ability to work with numbers. The competition to enter these programs is quite fierce because of the high number of well-paid positions available to graduates. A career in either field can be lucrative and mentally stimulating.