Undergraduate and graduate schools typically offer two computing majors: Computer Science and Software Engineering. There is a huge overlap between the coursework offered in these two majors. Even the career paths of these degrees overlap.
Computer Science vs. Software Engineering
Can a computer science graduate become a software engineer?
Companies hire based on skill set. They do not specifically look for degrees in software engineering. Once hired, most companies start with the title of Software Engineer regardless of your major. It is also common place for computer science graduates to move into software engineering roles as they gain experience.
A typical career path of a computer science graduate involves application development and innovation. In the industry, this translates to software product development. For this reason, programming and networking jobs is the domain of computer science graduates. In academia, computer science graduates work on innovations in computer science theory and algorithms. This involves advanced graduate work that typically leads to a Ph.D. degree.
When a position requires development of large software systems, both computer science and software engineering graduates are potential candidates. Skill set and the amount of software engineering coursework undertaken during the program determines the suitability of the candidate. It is interesting to note that most of the software engineers today are computer science graduates and not software engineers. This is partly because software engineering is a relatively new degree compared to the computer science degrees that are available for more than 30 years.
A computer science degree from a respected institution is the most flexible of all computing degrees. With this degree, you can become a computer scientist or a software engineer. Computer science graduates are the candidates of choice for most information technology positions. Software Engineering is but an alternative path to this career.