How Hard is Computer Engineering | learn Why Computer Science Is Hard
People often ask how hard is computer engineering? A computer engineering degree is more difficult to obtain than a computer science degree, as it requires additional courses in mathematics, electrical engineering subjects, and numerous hands-on lab sessions. Thus, it is a field of engineering, which combines several computer sciences and electrical engineering subjects.
Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on the practical applications of electricity, electromagnetism, and electronics. Computer science is the study of algorithmic processes and computational devices, with a concentration on the software side of the field.
Computer engineering combines the two disciplines with theory classes, data structures, and many lab courses. Thus, it is less difficult than electrical engineering but more difficult than computer engineering.
Computer engineering requires numerous demanding mathematics courses and the integration of various ideas from computer science and electrical engineering. However, computer engineering is not the most demanding engineering career compared to others.
How Hard is Computer Engineering?
In this article, I will argue why Computer Science is harder than the average person thinks it is. Throughout my academic school career, I have heard many things said by either teachers or peers that made me think they were wrong or didn’t know what they were talking about.
A quote from a peer during a discussion on how hard computer science classes are: “I kinda dropped out of programming because it’s too much work and there are only so many computers you can fix.” This statement makes me assume that he was taking an AP computer science class at his school, which now, as a high school graduate, I believe those classes are equivalent to junior-level classes. Knowing this now, I would have to disagree with his statement.
This is not the first time I’ve heard someone say that computer science classes are hard but still think they’re easy. One teacher even told our Algebra II class that it would be as hard as taking advanced math if we took a programming course. As an AP Computer Science student himself, this is simply untrue.
In my experience of being a student who has taken both AP Computer Science and Algebra II/Trig, I can tell you from first-hand experience that computer science is not only harder than what some people make it sound like but also makes your brain hurt in ways other subjects don’t. The main reasons why computer science is just plain harder than most subject areas.
Why is Computer Science Hard?
Python is not a good programming language to learn.
Python was the first programming language I learned, and it is far from the best. Not only does it lack in some very important instruction sets (such as file input and output), but it’s also not an object-oriented language like Java, C++, etc. It also has very little documentation for learning purposes.
That last point was something that even one of my AP Computer Science teachers mentioned; we didn’t want to use Python because there wasn’t much out there for learning purposes (or at least easily accessible material.) For people taking their first computer science class without any prior experience, the internet can be both useful and harmful. You can get started quickly with tutorials like http://python.gamedev.ninja/ , but it can be a pain to find what you’re looking for if you don’t know where to look or have no prior experience in finding resources on your own.
This is one of the reasons why AP Computer Science was harder than any other AP classes I’ve taken: In those other classes, there were plenty of resources out there because everyone learns the same thing as everyone else. In computer science class, we were learning something that not many people knew about, and not many resources existed for us to learn from.
Different types of problems require different solutions
For almost every problem I’ve solved in an algorithm-based class throughout my academic career (and still do solve to this day), there are multiple ways I can solve that problem. The solution you choose will be based on your preference, the time you have to complete it, and how good a programmer you are (basically).
For example, suppose I’m given an array of numbers and told to find the largest number in it. In that case, I could either go through each number in the array or create two variables: one for all the numbers currently checked against the max value and another for the max value found so far.
Using this system, I would only need to enter each element once instead of twice. It’s just a matter of what way you prefer doing things or which method is more efficient/easier, depending on much time you have before your deadline.
You have to know both what you’re doing and why you’re doing it
When I’m working on a project the teacher gave me, I think about using certain functions/struts/classes as soon as I look at the problem. These thoughts come from having taken programming courses before and knowing what’s possible or how to do something.
For example, my teacher asked me to make a program that gave an array of numbers from 1-999 and then made the user guess which one was the largest. I would automatically think of sorting algorithms and use those appropriately because finding out which number is largest is essentially just finding which number comes first in order.
You also need to know things like math: if you’re given the task of finding out how many times you need to check an array of numbers if you want to find the largest number, you’ll need knowledge on how long it takes for an average computer (or your own) to process each instruction.
This is why I believe math-inclined people make better programmers because there’s more than just knowing something; you have to know WHY things work and not just rely on information someone else has told you.
You don’t learn everything at once (or quickly)
Computer science may seem like a bunch of separate skills that can be learned on their own. People say this because they haven’t taken Intro To Computer Science yet. Think about all of the classes in high school you’ve taken that consisted of different subjects.
For example, in Algebra 2, you learned how to graph functions and solve x while also learning about quadratic and exponential equations. You’ll need to know things like the Fibonacci sequence and Big O notation if you want to get anywhere in computer science classes.
A computer program is not just a bunch of numbers put into an algorithm and made into a project. It’s also the small details such as making sure your console window has input-output options or limiting the amount of time a user can type something in before their submission times out (that last one was from our AP Language class).
I’m not saying all this information needs to be known at once, or you won’t get a good grade, but they’re things that come in handy.
You have to learn a lot of things you won’t use later on in life.
As I mentioned before, computer science is not just programming classes. You have to take theory courses and college-level math classes if you want to do anything more than the bare minimum with computers. In high school, I never used trigonometry or geometry outside of proofs for my Computer Science class.
Even though we learned our timetables and what degrees look like, we only really used it when we had to graph something (and even then, we could always use Desmos instead).
You end up learning more rather than less as time goes on.
A lot of the time, when you’re learning something new, it’s confusing and complicated. Some parts seem like they will never make sense, and it may put you off from trying again in the future. This is probably how my teacher felt when he was trying to learn trigonometry in college or how my friend feels when she tries to understand proofs for her university math class; it’s a roadblock, and they aren’t sure what they’re doing is worth it all.
But with enough patience and perseverance, computer science is one subject I think most people forget about the more they learn about it. For me, whenever I try working on a new algorithm or project that requires me to do some outside research, I find myself reading more about what I need to know rather than less.
For example, I’ve been trying to make a program that tells if a number is prime or not, and it’s been difficult for me because the only way I can think of checking if something is prime or not is time-consuming. Still, after some research on other methods, I found out how to do it much faster.
It’s not just math
In high school, you probably have one or two classes where you learn algebra, and then your teacher moves on to geometry without really touching anything else in between. Well, in computer science, there are a lot of different skills involved, so you’ll be learning a lot of different things at once.
In Intro to Computer Science, we learned how to use the command line, Python (3), SQL, HTML/CSS, and more. It’s not like all of these things are required for every class; it’s just that since you’re learning more than one thing at once, you don’t necessarily need to know what everyone else is doing.
There are tons of jobs in computer science.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected more job openings for people with Computer Science degrees than any other STEM field by 2020. According to Indeed, with this demand comes better pay; software engineers make an average salary of $102,280.
They also put the median base salary of Software Engineers at $64K (with experience). Some universities even offer students scholarships to major in computer science and test preparation classes to improve their chances of getting into good schools.
Jobs are everywhere – if you want one, Google it!
Is Computer Engineering Stressful?
As you approach a milestone in computer engineering, you may encounter challenging conditions and long periods of work. The continuous need to acquire new technologies, skills, frameworks, and programming languages; can be stressful for others.
Deadlines, demanding clients, and sophisticated software can be challenging at times. The work is often rewarding. Computer engineers have the opportunity to work on unique projects while overseeing various elements from start to finish.
It’s a well-paying job; there are fantastic employment opportunities available to professionals who know how to execute their tasks correctly; it may not be available in other professions. However, when considering whether software engineering is the right career for you, it is natural to be concerned about the job’s stress level.
The job requires a wide range of skills; it requires the professional to create and build applications and computer systems software.
Is Computer Engineering a Good Career?
Although several careers are available in computer engineering, certain similarities make it a great choice for the right person. The advantages of a computer engineering career include a high income, job stability, and a dynamic and innovative workplace.
Computer science and information technology positions pay exceptionally well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a median salary of $84,580 for these occupations. Network architects, programmers, systems analysts, software developers, and hardware engineers earned a bachelor’s degree between $82,000 and $104,000. The median salary for computer engineers was $115,120, with the top 10% earning more than $176,900.
Compared to other occupations, most computer engineers have excellent job security. These occupations have been in high demand for more than 20 years and show no signs of slowing down shortly.
Freedom to travel
Within certain restrictions, anyone with a background as a computer engineer can virtually choose to reside wherever they want. However, computer engineers are in high demand in almost every major city in the world.
If you like to travel, you can think about becoming a consultant with a particular specialty, such as information security. These experts help companies secure their data against cyber-attacks. You can fly in, work for a company for a few months and then fly out when the job is done.
Because computers and technology are continually evolving and standards are always updated, most people need to keep studying to ensure their skills don’t become obsolete.
It’s not for everyone.
Computer engineering, like other careers, is not for everyone and has its drawbacks.
- If you don’t like to learn and keep your skills up to date, for example, working in an environment where continuous innovation is the norm would be a waste of your time.
- Sedentary occupations that require sitting at a desk for many hours at a time are common.
- When you become an expert in your field, it can be difficult to take direction from supervisors. Who are not as knowledgeable as you are. However, if you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages; this is a fantastic career for you.
What is the Field of Computer Engineering?
Computer engineering professionals can pursue careers in various fields. For example, artificial intelligence, wireless networking, computer manufacturing, systems, databases. Also, web applications, animation, computer graphics, scientific modeling, computational biology, and video games.
Computer engineering is an engineering discipline that involves the design, development, and management of software and hardware operations. A computer engineer is someone who specializes in the theory of computation and the design of computer systems. It is a combination of information technology, electrical and electronic engineering, hardware, and software design. Thus, they play an important role in the creation of software and hardware systems.
Purpose of Computer Engineering
Computer science is a very broad subject. It covers the fundamentals of computer systems, computer architecture, and organization, networking, theory of computation, database systems. Moreover, electronics, operating systems, web programming, and design, e-commerce, multimedia applications, principles of programming languages, software engineering, hardware engineering, etc.
Computer engineers can also get numerous jobs in private companies and major companies. For example, TCS, Wipro, Microsoft, Google, Infosys, Accenture, HCL, Facebook, Cognizant, Adobe, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Flipkart, IBM, etc.
Areas of expertise in Computer Engineering:
- Hardware systems.
- Cyber-physical systems.
- Fundamentals and theory.
- Trust, reliability, and security.
- Networks, mobile, and distributed computing.
- Big Data analysis and systems.
- Artificial intelligence, robotics, and cybernetics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is computer engineering easy?
Computer engineering is difficult because it requires numerous demanding math courses. The integration of various ideas from computer science and electrical engineering. However, computer engineering is not the most demanding engineering career compared to others.
Is computer engineering a good career?
Although several careers are available in computer engineering, certain similarities make it a great choice for the right person. The advantages of a computer engineering career include high income, job stability, and a dynamic and innovative workplace.
Is it difficult for computer engineers to find jobs?
If you demonstrate that you can perform the necessary jobs. It will be very easy to get a job in this area.
Is it difficult to be a computer engineer?
No, it is a great profession. It would help if you had the dedication and a taste for the variety of operations. That a computer engineer performs.
Is computer engineering more difficult than computer science?
A computer engineering degree is more difficult than a computer science degree. Because it requires additional math courses, electrical engineering courses, and numerous hands-on lab classes. Therefore, it is an engineering field that combines several topics from computer science and electrical engineering.
At this point, we have all the necessary information to decipher; how difficult computer engineering is. In this way, you have explicit material, clarifying the doubts and refreshing your fundamentals, providing alternatives to fulfill your purposes.
Computer engineering is considered one of the most difficult university careers. Students can usually overcome the challenge with persistent practice, perseverance, dedication, and regular review. Jobs in information technology are in high demand, and they are expected to grow steadily over the next decade.
If you enjoy disassembling things, understanding how they work, improving them. And creating better models with each iteration, you should pursue a degree in information engineering.
Anthony A. Pittman is a Tech expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Masters from Brigham Young University. His work includes providing information about software, computers, the internet, and other related topics for many websites including Tech Info City where he is the author.
He has been working as an ICT company since 2009 and has gained valuable knowledge on how to make technology work for people who need it most.