Electrical Engineering or Computer Science: Choosing a Degree

Woman uses computer to rewire hardware circuit

You know you want to work in a competitive technology industry, but aren't sure what to study. You've heard a lot about electrical engineering and know that a degree in this area can set you up for a great career. You have also heard a lot about computer science and how it applies to just about everything we touch these days.

So, how do you choose between a degree in electrical engineering and computer science? You can start by gaining a basic understanding of both fields of study.

Table of Contents:

Electrical Engineering at a Glance 

Electrical engineers work with electronic components. They make, design, test, build or repair these components. Electrical engineers can work in a variety of settings based on how they interact with electrical components. Graduates with a degree in electrical engineering might work in an office or a design studio. Or they may develop electrical components in a lab or manufacturing plant. They also work in a variety of fields that range from telecommunications and travel to consumer goods and government work.

Computer Science at a Glance

Computer science work focuses more on computer systems than electrical components. A degree in computer science allows a graduate to develop applications and design operating systems. Computer scientists primarily develop applications, study computer systems and study computation. They also work in a variety of other areas such as artificial intelligence, database systems, networking, cryptography, numerical analysis, software development and bioinformatics.

The Similarities

In order to enter the field in electrical engineering or computer science, a bachelor's degree is generally required. Both fields have advanced degrees that graduates can earn in order to increase their knowledge and build their skill-set. Both electrical engineering and computer science rely on computers and require graduates to use logical, critical thinking, math and analytical skills regularly. Both degrees can lead to lucrative jobs with good stability.

The Differences

An electrical engineering degree will require more diverse coursework than a computer science program. Because this area of study can apply to a number of different careers and positions, a student working towards a degree in electrical engineering will take many of the same courses that a computer science degree student will take. In addition, the electrical engineering program will have application-based courses in manufacturing, navigation systems, communication, health care and more.

Additionally, electrical engineering graduates need to focus on communication skills because the field is generally more team-oriented. Computer science professionals also need to be able to communicate with their teams, but their work tends to involve more problem-solving skills.

The greatest difference between a career in electrical engineering and a career in computer science, however, is that the engineer builds solutions by working with electrical components, while computer scientists develop theoretical solutions with logic and computation.

The Decision

To decide what type of degree to earn, you should first consider what you want to do for work. What aspects of the job sound appealing to you? An electrical engineer degree graduate can move on to a variety of positions in a host of different industries. They may work with colleagues on a regular basis or they may work directly with consumers.

Each day for an electrical engineer could be quite different depending on the electrical components they work with and the industry that they are in. If this appeals to you, then earning an electrical engineering degree may make the most sense. However, . However, if you like developing applications, problem solving as a team and studying computation, then computer science may be the better field for you.

If you're ready to get started with your Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering or your Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, then Grand Canyon University has options for both available for you. No matter which career path you choose, you can excel in a technological field and earn your bachelor's or advanced degrees with us.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.