Computer Science vs Mechanical Engineering: Salary, Similarities, Differences & Job Outlook


Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering are two very important branches of science.

However, how would they fare in a computer science vs. mechanical engineering contest? This is part of what we will find out here.

Generally, while the computer scientist focuses on the study of computer and computational systems, the mechanical engineer designs and produces machines that make work easy.

According to Times Higher Education, Computer scientists understand the underlying principles of programming and algorithms and use them to design software, systems, and networks to meet the needs of clients and the public.

On the flip side, mechanical engineers design systems that house the software these computer engineers design.

So, in this article, we will identify computer science vs mechanical engineering looking at it from all borders of similarities, duties and differences.

The table of content clearly outlines all you’ll learn from this article.

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science is basically the study of computers and computational systems. Far from electrical and computer engineers, computer scientists work on software and software systems. This precisely includes the theory, design, development, and application.

Computers are an integral part of modern life. Whether you want to shop, play games, or exercise, there is now an app for pretty much everything, and computer science graduates produced every system.

So, whether you choose to serve a big corporation managing network and designing software or become the next billionaire tech entrepreneur, a computer science degree will expose you to many possibilities.

Certain principal areas of study within computer science include artificial intelligence, computer systems and networks, security, database systems, human-computer interaction, vision and graphics, numerical analysis, programming languages, software engineering, bioinformatics, and the theory of computing.

Possessing knowledge of programming is essential to the study of computer science because it is only one element of the field. Computer scientists actually design and analyze algorithms to solve programs and study the performance of computer hardware and software.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is the application of simple principles and problem-solving strategies in engineering, from design to manufacturing to the marketplace for any object.

Therefore, mechanical engineers supervise duties leveraging the principles of energy, motion, and force. Amazingly, they do everything, ensuring that designs function safely, efficiently, and reliably, all at an inexpensive cost.

Mechanical engineers have pioneered growth in the field of engineering. And it’s simply because mechanical engineering careers focus on creating technologies to meet the pressing needs of every human. Indeed, every product or service in modern life has mildly or greatly had the influence of a mechanical engineer.

As the world faces many challenges and innovations across many fields, the versatility of mechanical engineering is called in. To meet this broad demand, mechanical engineers have to create a component, a machine, a system, or a process.

This ranges from the macro to the micro, from the largest systems like cars and satellites to the smallest components like sensors and switches. Anything with moving parts that need to be created needs the influence of a mechanical engineer.

What Are The Differences Between A Computer Scientist And A Mechanical Engineer?

When you make strong comparisons between these two professionals, you’ll find a lot of revealing facts. Although they possess similarities, their differences basically set them apart.

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So, in this section, we will clearly differentiate between these two experts in different sections of their expertise.

#1 Computer Science vs. Mechanical Engineering– Duties

On every job, your core responsibilities separate you from your counterparts or, better yet, your fellow professionals. Hence, you know the role you have to play in every project and the stipulated timing as well.

So, let’s look at the core responsibilities of the computer scientist and the mechanical engineer too.

Duties Of A Computer Scientist

Computer scientists create structures that enable our technological devices to function appropriately. From our laptops, and smartphones down to our medical equipment, they all need computer scientists to function properly. So, they play a vital and uncontestable role in ensuring technological advancements happen.

However, according to targetjobs, computer scientists perform core duties such as;

  • Conceptualizing computational and maths-related problems and challenges
  • Developing new products or solving practical computing problems
  • Conducting research involving experimentation and modeling
  • Working as part of a research team with programmers, IT professionals, and mechanical, electrical, or software engineers to solve problems and create new products
  • Studying, experimenting and investigating technological fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality
  • Seeking to improve the performance of existing computer systems and software
  • Developing new hardware or computing techniques and materials

Duties Of A Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers create specifications for the development, design, production and installation of new or modified mechanical components or systems.

Hence, they’re technically-minded experts with strong scientific, numerical, and problem-solving skills.

  • Assessing project requirements
  • Measuring the performance of mechanical components, devices, and engines
  • Agreeing on budgets, timescales, and specifications with clients and managers
  • Maintaining and modifying equipment to ensure that it is safe, reliable, and efficient
  • Utilizing computer-aided design/modeling software
  • liaising with suppliers
  • Producing and implementing designs and test procedures
  • Testing, evaluating, modifying, and re-testing products

#2. Computer Science vs. Mechanical Engineering – Education

If you want to become a computer scientist, you must fulfill all the necessary educational requirements. From this point, you then scale to higher opportunities in your career path.

However, before you access any level, you must complete a basic bachelor’s degree program in computer science.

Although there’s an associate degree program, a bachelor’s degree program helps you access entry positions for computer scientists. However, if you can’t afford tuition, you can access some computer science undergraduate scholarships.

On the other hand, becoming a mechanical engineer is not a day’s job as well. There’s an intense amount of numerical ability you must possess in order to thrive in this industry. However, you only need to fulfill certain requirements for this program.

In a nutshell, you need to possess a high school degree and then register at any of the best mechanical engineering schools in the world.

#3. Computer Science vs. Mechanical Engineering – Certification

In computer science, your bachelor’s degree is the degree that makes it possible for you to accept certain positions.

However, if you want to advance very fast, you need to add at least a master’s degree. A master’s degree will expose you to more different insight into the degree program. So, you can actually get as many certifications as even those organized by private organizations.

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In the same vein, your first certificate as a mechanical engineer would be your prestigious bachelor’s degree.

You can attain this degree at almost any university in the world. These universities are actually science inclined and perform at the top level. So, the more degrees you have, the more you scale.

#4. Computer Science vs. Mechanical Engineering– Job Opportunities

As a computer scientist, your work is highly theoretical, as your computer engineering colleagues basically focus on hardware. So, your knowledge of mathematics is very imperative. Conclusively, as a computer scientist you can work with IT service providers, IT consultants and departments as well.

On the other side, mechanical engineers have a wider scope of employment. They can decide to serve in the automotive industry, designing wheelsets, combustion systems, and bodyshells.

Biomedical companies hire mechanical engineers to create life-saving devices such as pacemakers, artificial valves, and robotic surgical assistants.

Furthermore, they can serve in the aerospace industry, building satellites, constructing fuel-efficient tanks, and designing planes, missiles, and rockets for private aeronautics companies and even NASA.

In summary, you can find mechanical engineers in building construction and power plants, as they also assist with railroad design and implementation.

#5. Computer Science vs. Mechanical Engineering – Job Outlook & Salary

As the world moves closer to becoming a global village with technology at the forefront, it’s safe to say that both Computer Scientists and mechanical engineers have a place in the future.

According to BLS, the employment of mechanical engineers will grow by 4% from now till 2028, while that of computer scientists will be 16%. Hence, there are so many job opportunities in these career paths.

Today, a computer scientist’s salary is $118,370, while that of mechanical engineers is $90,138. Of course, it’s not really a big surprise because of how computer scientists have found larger market spaces.

What Are The Similarities Between Computer Science And Mechanical Engineering?

Computer Science and Mechanical science have very few similarities. However, one obvious subject area they possess accurate knowledge is Mathematics.

Generally, computer scientists and mechanical engineers design, develop, and test equipment that will be publicly used. They identify and solve problems using systems, modeling and mathematics.

What Are The Best Schools For Computer Science?

Most times, the length to which you can go in any career path is influenced by your choice of school. When choosing a school to go to and study computer science, you can’t just make an abstract choice. You must be calm, do your complete research, and then make a choice.

On the other hand, what if I could make your choice easier by highlighting the best schools wherein you can study computer science? I believe that would be fascinating and also save you a lot of time and energy.

So, the best schools to study computer science include;

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University. Stanford, California
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • Harvard University
  • University of Cambridge
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Which Schools Are The Best For Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is very popular, hence, a lot of schools offer a mechanical engineering degree program.

Due to a large number of offerings, you might be confused when it comes to taking a decision that will ultimately affect your career in the long run. A good number of them offer scholarships to help you with your tuition.

The list of schools below is some of the best schools where you can get a mechanical engineering degree. Hence, these schools include;

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)
  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Virginia
  • Imperial College of London

Which Is the Best Between Computer Science And Mechanical Engineering?

Both the computer science and mechanical engineering professions require you to possess complex problem-solving skills and involves the design, building, and testing of products, programs, or processes.

Computer scientists are creative, logical, and highly resourceful. They love to work independently but need mechanical engineers’ collaboration to solve digital problems using computer programs.

On the other hand, mechanical engineers focus on solving the problems posed by physical structures, engines, and machines.

Both computer scientists and mechanical engineers leverage technology to advance the limits of what’s possible digitally and physically, and each career path offers opportunities for innovation.

So, when you want to choose a better career path, you’ll really be in a fix. However, your choice will be influenced wholly by your interests and slightly by your qualifications.

Indeed, the best idea is to focus on the path with greater possibilities. After you’ve done this research according to yourself, you can make your decision.

FAQs On Computer Science

What do computer scientists do?

Computer scientists create structures that enable our technological devices to function appropriately. From our laptops, and smartphones down to our medical equipment, they all need computer scientists to function properly.

Do I need algorithm skills to be a computer scientist?

You need algorithm skills in addition to computational and maths-related problems and challenges.

Is computer science a difficult degree to pursue?

No. Computer science is not a very difficult degree at all.

Are computer scientists in demand?

Yes. As long as IT firms keep rising, getting a job as a computer scientist won’t be a big deal.

Is mathematics compulsory to study computer science?

Yes, mathematics is very compulsory in order to study computer science. You need to have at least 60% knowledge of mathematics for a computer science degree.


There’s a high degree of effort needed to do well in any subject area. No matter your profession, you must be ready to really work hard to soar.

As a computer scientist, your understanding of mathematical problems, in addition to algorithm, can set you apart. You must be able to make concrete and precise calculations in an excellent fashion.

In the same vein, mechanical engineers need to push their creativity levels to astounding heights. Essentially, they must be able to create designs that are simple, solve problems and have beauty as well.


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