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Education Microsoft Programming

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering 322

theodp writes "Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?"
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Computer Science vs. Software Engineering

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @04:56PM (#42014395)

    Those guys are 50 something. The difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering does not matter 30 years after you graduated. Whether you kept up with progress and what kind of experiences you acquired during that time is what matters. Old guy did not left because of the school he was in and the new guy was not hired because of the school he was. They left / have been hired because of what they did last 7 years.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:58PM (#42014857) Homepage

    Computer Scientists create things like linux.
    Software Engineers create things like Windows 8.

    Not trolling, This is a complete fact. Far more high level CS degrees are working on linux and OSS than Windows 8.

  • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:03PM (#42014911) Homepage

    Eh, most computer scientists are not going to be able to develop a system that meets specifications by a deadline unless they also have software engineering skills. ...which in practice are taught in nearly all computer science undergraduate programs. So anyone currently claiming some superiority of SEers over CSers is likely just trying to prop their own degree.

    I've developed shipping code for companies as well as research projects at university. Research code is write-only since it is not worth architecting properly something that is meant for one time use, not because of some supposed lack of software engineering skills.

    Heck! a good software engineer is equally likely to program a write only perl script to do a one time migration of their system.

  • Personal Experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:21PM (#42015843)
    My personal experience would be that computer engineer is a better place to start a career and then start sprinkling computer science more and more. The CS majors (the worst being the graduate ones) blah blah all the time about big O yet somehow never master the career basics such as SQL or Linux administration. I find that they get bogged down with Big O and other analysis on problems where O^8 will still take nearly zero time and O just doesn't matter.

    Yet on the other end I find that many computer software engineers tend to master something like Java and then just wail away at every problem with their one mastered skill set. Then after a while they get a second skill set such as SQL and as time goes by they end up with a sort of vertical integration of skills. But where they don't usually progress is when you do have to look at a problem as a system and start doing discrete math, working out the nodes, connections, and so on. This is where computer software engineers will implement a cryptographic library but do it really badly leaving elephant sized holes.

    So I would say CS is often too pedantic, CE is too much like a plumber, but a CE with strong math and a good dose of CS can generate art. Sort of like Escher; he could draw quite well and had a good understanding of math, he combined the two into something incredible.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen