What is Computer Science Engineering all about? Discover the scope of Computer Science Engineering

Computer Science is one of the most sought after courses by Indian students, thanks to the software and IT boom of the past two decades. Apart from putting India on the global map, computer science has pretty much changed the whole landscape of how people live. Right from social media to the genomics revolution, computer science has played a central role in many of the greatest technological innovations and developments of the 21st century. Since this field is hugely popular among Indian students, admissions to prestigious universities such as IITs, NITs and IIITs are very competitive. On the other hand, computer science is all set to grow in an unparalleled manner in the coming few years, thereby creating a lot of opportunities for students. Read on to discover more about this field in-depth.

Most students take up computer science as their undergraduate major because of the huge number of job opportunities in India’s software and IT industry. But, there is so much more to computer science than just software and IT. A degree in computer science engineering exposes students to both theoretical as well as practical aspects of computer science. By the time undergraduate studies are over, you would have barely scratched the surface of this vast and burgeoning field. Over the past two decades, computer science has evolved rapidly and has produced remarkable acceleration and innovation not just in the world of internet and artificial intelligence but also in diverse fields such as banking, electronics, biology, chemistry, medicine and healthcare, to name a few. In short, computer science has invaded every other field and good programming and coding skills has become a basic requisite.

Since computer science is based on the fundamentals of mathematics, computer science students develop critical reasoning and complex problem solving abilities that will help them in all walks of life. Some of the sub disciplines of computer science are theoretical computer science, theory of computation, information and coding theory, algorithms and data structures, programming language theory, formal methods, applied computer science etc. and students can specialize in any one (or more) of these areas during their undergraduate or graduate studies. Presently, job opportunities are great for computer science students all over the world. Even during difficult times such as recession, a highly skilled and bright computer science professional will always be in demand.

This question can be very confusing indeed. If you take a look at the various programs offered by the IITs, IIITs, BITs, NITs etc. you will realize that they offer only computer science engineering and no course titled information technology. Yet, there are many other universities, such as Anna University and Mumbai University, that offer information technology along with computer science and other courses. If you take a look at the curriculum for both computer science and information technology in these universities, this is what you will find:

Common courses between CS and IT are as follows: Data structures, database management system and concepts, probability and queuing theory, design and analysis of algorithms, operating systems, software engineering, object oriented analysis and design, computer graphics and multimedia.

Courses in CS: Principles of computer engineering, programming using C++, algebra and number theory, electronic devices and circuits, java and internet programming, computer architecture, electrical engineering and control systems, microprocessors and microcontrollers, systems software internals, theory of computation, communications and computer networks, artificial intelligence, compiler design, programming paradigms, digital signal processing - algorithms and applications, principles of management, mobile and pervasive computing, parallel programming, security in computing.

Courses in IT: Information technology essentials, web technology, discrete mathematics, programming and data structures-II, computer organization, formal languages and automata, distributed system, integrated programming, embedded systems, information management, mobile computing, computer networks, data analytics, principles of human computer interaction.

From the above distribution of courses, IT degree is more inclined towards the applications of computer science such as the design, development and maintenance of computer systems and networks for processing, storing, managing and distributing large amounts of data. CS, on the other hand, gives equal importance to theoretical concepts as well as the practical applications of computer science.

At the end of the day, during placement sessions, most companies do not differentiate between the two fields and the same designation will be offered to both CS and IT students. Also, in most universities, there is not much of a difference in the syllabus of both CS and IT, barring a few courses.

This depends on which area of computer science you are interested in. If you want to specialize in the theoretical aspects of computer science, you have to be extremely good in mathematics as it is the foundation for theoretical computer science (TCS). If you want to do your PhD in computer science or get into research, then you will be expected to have strong quantitative skills. However, if you want to become a programmer or developer in an IT company upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you don’t have to excel in mathematics and sound logical thinking skills will hold you in good stead. All you have to do is write organized and efficient code, which will come with hard work and experience.

B.E/B.Tech: A B.Tech/B.E in computer science engineering is offered by numerous private and government universities across India.

Integrated M.Tech: This is a 5-year dual degree course and offered by the IITs, NITs and a few other universities. At the IITs, along with a B.Tech in computer science engineering, an M.Tech in a specialized field of computer science such as computer and information technology, MBA etc. is offered.

The first year of engineering comprises of subjects that are common with all other engineering disciplines. There will be basic sciences subjects - Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and other engineering subjects - basic mechanical engineering, basic electrical and electronics engineering, basic civil engineering etc.

In the second year, students will be exposed to core computer science subjects such as discrete mathematics, principles of programming languages, numerical computing, data structures, digital computer fundamentals, computer organization and architecture, automata and formal languages, digital system design, logical foundations of computer science, introduction to algorithms, basics of communication engineering, intro to probability theory etc

Third year will introduce further core concepts in computer science such as systems programming, computer networks, microprocessor systems, software engineering, combinatorics and graph theory, principles of operational research, information security, operating systems, database management systems, corporate communication, artificial intelligence and expert systems. Students also get the opportunity to choose from a set of courses in CS for their elective subjects.

Fourth year will cover core subjects as well as subjects related to management and economics as these are important aspects of any software or IT company. Some of the core courses that will be covered are distributed computing, web technology, principles of compiler design, advanced computer architecture, two elective subjects, advanced database management systems, industrial economics, electives and project work. The final year project work will vary from 6 months to one year based on the university’s curriculum.

Considering that there is no proper accredited ranking system for engineering in India, we chose to use a popular world ranking system to find universities in India that are recognised globally for their work in Computer Science Engineering. The QS World University Rankings are annual university rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) which provides overall rankings as well as ranking for individual subjects. The QS World University Rankings is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed international university rankings, along with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The following universities from India appeared in the QS world ranking for top 200 universities in the world for Computer Science Engineering (In no particular order).

  • IISc, Bangalore
  • IIT Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Roorkee

The following universities from India appeared in the QS world ranking for top 200 universities in Asia for Computer Science Engineering. (In no particular order)

  • IISc, Bangalore
  • IIT Delhi,Bombay, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Roorkee
  • Delhi University
  • Mumbai University
  • Pune University
  • Calcutta University

Apart from the above mentioned universities, other prestigious universities in India such as the NITs, BITs Pilani, Anna University etc are all renowned for computer science engineering. If you are unable to get a seat in any one of the above mentioned universities or reputed colleges within your state, try working with professors in reputed universities for internships and final year project. This will give you the much needed practical, quality work experience that will help elevate your academic profile.

  • This field is highly dynamic with new technologies altering the market rapidly with each passing year. Computer science professionals have to be very proactive and keep updating their skills routinely.
  • It is highly competitive, what with most Indian students opting for computer science. If you plan to go abroad, you have to compete with nationals from China and USA as well. Be prepared to work very hard.
  • Good communication skills is imperative for this field.
  • Working hours will be crazy, especially during project deadlines.
  • Indian IT industry is highly vulnerable to recession, since most of their projects are outsourced from the US. However, if you are a talented, hard working and bright software professional, you will be in demand even during difficult times.
  • R&D in computer science is developing rapidly in India with many core products being developed within the country. The coming few years will see a good growth in the development of new and innovative products from India.

PCM-Computer Science will be perfect for students interested in majoring in this field. Also, this field is open to students from Biology stream as well. Since, courses in college start everything from the basics, biology students can catch up very easily.

Upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you have two options ahead of you - find a job or pursue higher studies.

Work: Computer science placements are excellent thanks to large service providers such as TCS, CTS, Wipro and Infosys. They hire students in large numbers not just from computer science department but also from other departments such as chemical, civil, mechanical and electrical. Apart from these service providers, large multinational companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon hire students from reputed institutions such as IITs, BITs, NITs, CEG-Guindy etc. Apart from these service providers and multinational companies, there are tons of smaller IT companies in India. Apart from software, internet and IT industry, there are other sectors such as data analytics, banking, oil and gas, manufacturing etc. that hires a lot of CS students for their IT needs. Also, Indian startup scene is growing rapidly and these companies are in dire need for smart and bright software freshers and professionals. Many computer science students who are interested in quantitative research, banking and finance join such firms. Following are a list of companies that hire students from these sectors and students are usually placed in the following domains: service oriented, product development and testing.

Internet, Software and IT: Wipro, CTS, TCS, Infosys, HCL Tech, E-Bay, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Accenture, IBM, Target, Oracle, Adobe, Yahoo, SAP Labs etc.

Electronics: Cisco, Qualcomm, Siemens, Nokia, Intel, Ericsson,

Others (data analytics, banking, software etc): Mu Sigma, L&T, E&Y, Renault Nissan, Global analytics, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs.

Salary: Computer science professionals are paid very well all over the world, be it in India or abroad. However, salary varies greatly and is highly dependent on students academic profile and university reputation. Students from IITs tend to get a starting pay package that is significantly higher than students from lesser known institutions in India.

Studies: Since computer science is based on the fundamentals of mathematics, computer science students have excellent critical reasoning and quantitative skills, which are of use not just in the software and IT sectors but also in other areas such as banking, management etc. For this reason, many students prefer to do their MS in computer science or an MBA from a reputed institution in India. For masters, specializations in computer science are as follows: artificial intelligence, real world computing, human computer interaction, mobile and internet computing, computer vision etc. Many students even do their higher studies in allied areas of computer science such as bioinformatics, applied mathematics, electronics and computer engineering etc. Some students even do their MS in information systems management or engineering management. Students who are interested in doing their M.Tech in India also have great opportunities as institutions such as the IITs, IISc, CMI, IMSc and TIFR have excellent graduate programs in computer science and professors in these institutes are world renowned for their work in computer science.

2008-2012 recession and India: The 2008 recession of the United States, which lasted well until 2012, affected the global IT and software industry quite badly. Due to the global meltdown, many of India’s outsourcing firms, which accounts for majority of the jobs, were forced to cut back on hiring and laid off thousands of people, Students who had already been placed in software companies such as TCS, CTS, Infosys and Wipro had to wait for 1-2 years to start working in these companies.

Upcoming areas: Around the same time, there were other sectors of computer science that created a lot of jobs, specifically in mobile app development, big data analysis and bioinformatics. There was a lot of demand for people with the required skillsets in these areas and employers found it difficult to fill the large number of job vacancies due to the lack of professionals with the perfect set of skills. It is also speculated that wearable devices and internet of things will create a lot of opportunities in the coming few years.

Present scenario in India and worldwide: Currently, job oppurtunities are looking bright for skilled and talented computer science students worldwide. In the United States, there are plenty of job opportunities in mobile app development, big data analysis and bioinformatics. In India, there has been tremendous growth in the startup sector with many startups mushrooming in mobile technology and big data analysis. Also, many multinational companies have set up core R&D labs in India in order to develop innovative products from India. The outsourcing and service provider sector has also bounced back and has started hiring in large numbers like before, but the joining date is still quite long.