What is Computer Engineering and How Does it Compare to Software Engineering?

Computer engineering is a field that uses many of the same techniques one uses in computer science or electrical engineering. When compared to software engineering, it tends to take a different set of technical abilities. Still, one cannot talk about computer science or computer engineering without taking software engineering into consideration – there is a distinct bridge in between the concepts.

While computer scientists, the driving forces behind computer engineering, focus on the hardware implementations in computer systems, software engineering focuses on building the actual programming. One cannot truly exist without the other.

Computer engineering has many major technical areas, including automation, machine intelligence, cybersecurity, networking, embedded systems, and of course, software engineering.

Computer Engineering vs. Software Engineering

Software engineering focuses on discovering, creating, and designing a practical solution to a problem with a system. Computer engineering, on the other hand, develops computer systems using computer science and electrical engineering. That is one of the key differences between the two, though they do work together in many, many situations, which is why it is confusing.

Software engineering and computer engineering are both related to computers, which is where the confusion comes into it. The major difference is that software engineering involves more of the design elements, implementation, testing, and maintenance of your software. Computer engineering deals more with the physical or hardware systems.

Software Engineering and Computer Engineering Are Team Efforts

Many of the concepts for computer engineering are similar concepts you will find in software engineering. They both, to differing degrees, require knowledge of software architecture, software testing, and even software deployment. This is sometimes a team activity but can fall on just a few IT leaders or CIOs in a company.

Whenever you have a problem with your system, it is likely something that is a software problem. In software engineering, IT leaders study, devise, and build practical solutions to that problem. This might involve using the existing software and manipulating the code in some way to fix the issue. For larger or more significant problems, it can involve creating a new system from the bottom up. You need software to make your computer function and, in many cases, to make systems operate. As it is so essential, software engineering is typically a team effort – everyone has a specific role that he or she needs to play. In some cases, that team includes computer engineers as well as engineers and programmers. Teamwork is required to know how each system works.

The teams for both computer engineering and software engineering can include leadership, CIOs, communications team, HR, and more – it really depends on what your systems are doing and what you hope they will do. It is up to the computer engineer and software engineer to work together to tackle larger situations. Often, the computer engineer will do much of the initial work and then software engineers will come as things need to change. Codes and requirements of the software change more often than hardware does, but sometimes the hardware will change and the software needs to be updated accordingly.

Computer Aided Software Engineering

Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) is a part of software development that uses computer-assisted methods and tools. Typically, it does not create a software product from scratch to completion, but helps to create software that is almost complete – and even more importantly, high quality and defect free.

Computer Aided Software Engineering ensures that everyone hits their development milestones AND that risks and errors are avoided as much as possible. This is a help to everyone from designers and developers to managers and even customers.

CASE also helps to deliver products that will meet requirements for safety and security – and it is likely to impress customers and keep them part of the development process.

There are many tools used in Computer Aided Software Engineering – and each one has to be properly vetted and tested regularly to ensure that it is living up to the standards set forth by software engineers and computer engineers.

Some of the tools used in CAST include:

  • Analysis Tools: Finds inconsistent or incorrect specifications within the software.
  • Central Repository: Provides a focal point for the storage of all documents and figures related to project management.
  • Code Generators: These help with the creation of code and definition on a regular basis.
  • Computer Display: Helps to understand data requirements.
  • Diagramming Tools: Helps with graphics and diagrams of data and systemic processes.
  • Documentation Generators: Helps generating documentation on technical data and user data.

CASE tools focus on redesign of software as well as testing, improving the overall quality of your product. Typically used in development, this will increase the chance that your products can be used sooner and will go longer without maintenance – in some cases.

CAST Engineering Dashboard

CAST Engineering Dashboard helps delivery organizations that you are living up to your commitment to deliver high-quality products that help your company serve its clients.

Our Engineering Dashboard works to:

  • Quickly identify any multi-component software flaws
  • Validate against industry standard rules for security and risk
  • Identifies specific code location of critical flaws in software
  • Finds architectural flaws inside the riskiest objects and transactions
  • Builds action plans based on an optimized list of high impact issues
  • Gives insight into why specific defects are occurring and guidelines for fast remediation

For more information about CAST Engineering Dashboard or any of our other products, contact us today or schedule a free demo.