Software Engineering vs Systems Engineering
Engineering is the discipline that deals with the application of science, mathematics and other types of knowledge to design and develop products and services that improve the quality of life. Engineering can be broken down in to many sub disciplines, which specialize on many domains using different types of technologies. Software Engineering and Systems Engineering are two such sub disciplines. Software Engineering deals with designing and developing software of the highest quality, while Systems Engineering is the sub discipline of engineering, which deals with the overall management of engineering projects during their life cycle.
What is Software Engineering?
Software engineering deals with designing and developing software of the highest quality. A software engineer does analyzing, designing, developing and testing software. Software engineers carry out software engineering projects, which usually have a standard software life cycle. For example, the Water Fall Software Life cycle will include an analysis phase, design phase, development phase, testing and verification phase and finally the implementation phase. Analysis phase looks at the problem to be solved or the opportunities to be seized by developing the software. Sometimes, a separate business analyst carries out this phase. However, in small companies, software engineers may do this task. Design phase involves producing the design documents such as UML diagrams and ER diagrams depicting the overall structure of the software to be developed and its components. Development phase involves programming or coding using a certain programming environment. Testing phase deals with verifying that software is bug free and also satisfies all the customer requirements. Finally, the completed software is implemented at the customer site (some times by a separate implementation engineer). In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of other software development methodologies in order to further improve the efficiency of the software engineering process. For example, Agile methods focus on incremental development with very short development cycles. Software Engineering profession is a highly rated job because of its very high salary range.
What is Systems Engineering?
System Engineering is the sub discipline of engineering which deals with the overall management of engineering projects during their life cycle (focusing more on physical aspects). It deals with logistics, team coordination, automatic machinery control, work processes and similar tools. Most of the times, System Engineering overlaps with the concepts of industrial engineering, control engineering, organizational and project management and even software engineering. System Engineering is identified as an interdisciplinary engineering field due to this reason. System Engineer may carry out system designing, developing requirements, verifying requirements, system testing and other engineering studies.
What is the difference between Software Engineering and Systems Engineering?
The difference between System Engineering and Software Engineering is not very clear. However, it can be said that the System Engineers focus more on users and domains, while Software Engineering focus more on n implementing quality software. System Engineer may deal with a substantial amount of hardware engineering, but typically software engineers will focus solely on software components. System Engineers may have a broader education (including Engineering, Mathematics and Computer science), while Software Engineers will come from a Computer Science or Computer Engineering background.