Selecting a Program

Whether your focus is computer engineering or computer science, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences has a program right for you. Our computer engineering and computer science students are equipped with marketable skills right from their very first year. Our graduates are well prepared to take their places as innovators who use engineering and computer sciences to create solutions to problems of critical importance to society. Read more below for some of the nuances between these fields and a list of potential careers.

Are you interested in writing programs and manipulating data? The Department of Computer Science is right for you.

Computer science involves the scientific study of algorithms and the problems they solve. This leads to careers including programmer, systems analyst, network administrator, database developer, security analyst, IT officer, software developer, and more.

Do you enjoy designing, analyzing, and implementing computing technology into devices and systems to solve real-world problems? The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering may be right for you.

Computer engineers embed computers in other machines and systems, build networks to transfer data, and develop ways to make computers faster, smaller and more capable. Graduates of the program acquire requisite skills like computer development, analysis and design that make them employable in multiple job positions throughout the computing industry.

Computer Science

This discipline involves the scientific study of algorithms and the problems they might solve. The Department of Computer Science offers a BA degree, two BS degrees and a combined BA/MS degree. A computer science minor is also offered. Graduate degrees include both the master's degree and the Ph.D.  Our students learn how to design and develop advanced computer and network systems; design, build and test sophisticated software systems, and install them on computer platforms; work with and design software systems involving databases, modeling, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, communication and information retrieval; work with programming languages, data structures and algorithm analysis, and more.

Computer science careers exist within almost every industry, including (but not limited to) manufacturing, finance, service, sales, health care, and retail. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor projects an 11 percent growth in employment of computer science graduates by 2024, the highest rate of all occupations. Computer Science at UAlbany leads to careers including programming, systems analyst, network administrator, cyber security consultant, database developer, security analyst, IT officer, software developer, among others.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

This discipline integrates computer hardware design with software design. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers a BS degree in computer engineering. Graduate degrees are being developed but are not yet available. Our students learn how to design and develop advanced computer systems, networks and embedded systems; design, build and embed sophisticated hardware and software systems; work with robotics, optical communications, intelligent lighting, computer vision and more.

Computer engineers command the highest starting salaries for any B.S. degree, and are highly sought after for careers in industry, government and academia. You will be prepared for a variety of positions in aerospace, the automobile industry, electronics, defense, information technology, networking, telecommunications and so much more.

Still not sure which one is right for you?

No worries! Many of our early computer science and engineering courses are closely aligned, making it easy for students to choose whether they should major in engineering (working with hardware, designing, and building) or in computer science (working with software programming and development) early in their program. Feel free to contact our departments, faculty, or even our academic advisors. Our friendly and helpful faculty and staff will be happy to answer your questions.

Next Steps

Begin your application process for undergraduate admission or for graduate study at the University at Albany today.