Software Engineering vs. Computer Science
Software engineering and computer science are closely related, and many software engineers have degrees or certifications in computer science. Both fields include fundamental information on computer science and programming. However, a key difference is that computer science focuses more on theoretical and mathematical aspects related to computing, and software engineering focuses more on practical aspects related to building software systems.
Software engineers apply their knowledge of computer science to address the practical problems related to software development and maintenance. Software engineering also involves implementing some of the many topics which come out of computer science.
Additionally, software engineers must perform other tasks that relate to the software development life cycle. This can include quality assurance, documentation, and working with clients or stakeholders.
Types of Software Engineers
Software engineers are commonly categorized into three types: front-end, back-end, and full-stack.
A back-end engineer creates and manages the server-side components of an application. Many back-end engineers also interact with databases, because servers communicate with databases to manage data processing and storage. Back-end engineers are familiar with languages such as Java, C#, Python, C, C++, and SQL. They also use many databases, frameworks, and environments, such as Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Django, MySQL, and MongoDB.
A full-stack engineer performs front-end and back-end software engineering tasks. They typically work on web applications, although some full-stack engineers work on desktop and mobile applications. Full-stack engineers have the skills to work on the user interface, server, and database components of an application. They are also familiar with an assortment of front-end and back-end languages, tools, and frameworks.
Where Do Software Engineers Work?
Software engineers work in a variety of industries. Although many software engineers work at tech companies, there are other industries that hire software engineers, such as financial institutions, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and education institutions.