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This two terms have always confused me. When writing my CV in English I never know how to refer to my academic title. I studied Computer Science or Computer Engineering? As per Wikipedia:

Computer Science is the study of the theory, experimentation, and engineering that form the basis for the design and use of computers

Computer engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer hardware and software.

In my degree I have seen areas of both computer science and computer engineering, like AI (Computer Science) and Cryptography (Computer Engineering).

The only related question I could find was: Informatics vs. Computer Science.

What would be the correct title to use?

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    What was the name of the degree you earned? The one written on th degree? Also I don't see how cryptography is engineering - why do you categorize it that way?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 11:51
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    Well, it is in Spain. Grado en Ingeniería Informática here ingeniería stands for engineering, but I see many people using Computer science and Computer Engineering Interchangeably. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 11:53
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    I'd go with the more direct translation, as it's safer. I tend to think of CS as more theory, and CE as more practice. Scientists describe, engineers build. Computer scientists use computers like astronomers use telescopes: as tools to study a physically inaccessible world. Engineers build telescopes, or rockets, or warp drives. Disclaimer: I started my adult life with a degree in computer science (and math) and became a software engineer.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 11:56
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    For what it's worth, Engineering is related to hardware programming where I studied. Computer Engineering is a separate program next to Computer Science. studienberatung.tu-berlin.de/menu/studiengaenge/master
    – Hector von
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 12:25
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    We usually detail Computer Engineering into Software Engineering or Hardware Engineering. But in your case, your degree translates as Information Technology (IT), which in Europe is often used interchangeably with Computer Science. I would recommend using the Spanish title on your resume, unless you can find the Bologna Process equivalent name. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 3:17

2 Answers 2

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You say you got your degree in Spain, and it specifically reads:

Grado en Ingeniería Informática

and

Here Ingeniería stands for engineering

but

I see many people using Computer Science and Computer Engineering interchangeably

My advice is go with the more direct translation, as it's safer. That is, it will be harder for anyone to challenge you when you say you have a degree in computer engineering.

On a more general level, I tend to think of CS as focused on theory, and CE as focused on practice.

That is, scientists describe, engineers build.

  • Computer scientists use computers like astronomers use telescopes¹: as tools to study a physically inaccessible world.
  • Engineers build telescopes, or rockets, or warp drives.

¹ That link is to the relatively famous Dijkstra quote, but while researching a citation for it, I came across a different, but related one, which is never seen before, and found enlightening:

[Computer science] is not really about computers -- and it's not about computers in the same sense that physics is not really about particle accelerators, and biology is not about microscopes and Petri dishes...and geometry isn't really about using surveying instruments. Now the reason that we think computer science is about computers is pretty much the same reason that the Egyptians thought geometry was about surveying instruments: when some field is just getting started and you don't really understand it very well, it's very easy to confuse the essence of what you're doing with the tools that you use.

-- Hal Abelson (1986) Introduction of video of lectures on the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (source).

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  • Wouldn't "Grado en Ingeniería Informática" be "Engineering Degree in Information Technology" ? "IT" degrees are common at many European universities. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 3:15
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Here, USA, the difference is simply, CS=Software, CE=Hardware. Typically, CE will take traditional EE courses, and have more SW electives. CS is strictly SW, more in-depth than a CE would take. If you want to design ASICs/FPGAs, then CE is the degree, if you want to write SW that runs on ASICs/FPGAs (To be sure, strictly speaking, uProcessors are ASICs too)

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