If you are deciding between majoring in statistics or computer engineering, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Ease of finding a job||High||Moderate|
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note|
A very employable
High average pay.
High job satisfaction.
Can qualify you for many
roles as well as engineering
Lower predicted job growth
for computer hardware
engineering when compared
with software engineering roles.
|Very employable if|
you combine it with
a minor in CS.
Also employable if
you combine it with
data analysis skills.
Well above average
Source for computer engineering average pay and jobs
There are important things to consider when choosing between the two degrees since they can take you down very different paths. Also, there are some things to consider if you do choose either of them such as which classes you should take.
Details about the computer engineering major
Below are some of the key details about the computer engineering major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is $87,240. This makes computer engineering one of the best paying majors available and significantly higher than the reported average pay for a statistics major which is $70,050. This could be because a computer engineering major is more applied to jobs in engineering and computer science. Whereas, a statistics major is more general and not as applied to as many high-paying jobs at the entry-level.
According to the BLS, it is predicted that computer hardware engineering will only grow in demand by 2% by 2029.
However, a computer engineering degree involves a lot of computer science. This means that you can qualify for software engineering roles and other computer science-related roles. The predicted growth for software engineering is 22%. This is probably because it is much cheaper to start up a software company as opposed to a hardware company. With that being the case, it would likely help you a lot to make sure to take a number of additional computer science classes in your electives.
Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering includes:
Embedded software engineer
Computer hardware engineer
Something to consider is that the more research-based roles will usually require at least a master’s degree.
Computer engineering includes a number of math classes including linear algebra, calculus, discrete math, and differential equations. Also, many of the electrical engineering classes can be difficult. This means that computer engineering is not an easy degree. Overall, you can expect computer engineering to be similarly difficult to statistics which is also a challenging major.
Examples of the types of classes that you can expect to take can include:
- Calc 1,2, and 3
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Linear algebra
- Circuit analysis
- Introduction to electronics
- Digital electronics
- Signal processing
- Embedded systems
- Algorithms and data structures
However, the classes can differ a lot depending on the university. Some will require you to take more electrical engineering classes while other universities will require more computer science classes.
Usually, data structures and algorithms are required classes in computer engineering but not always. These are important classes for software engineering interviews. If the program you enter does not require these classes, it would help to take them anyway.
Things to consider
On average the required classes will be 50% electrical engineering and 50% CS. However, some universities will be much heavier on electrical engineering while others will be a lot heavier on computer science. It would help to consider what you are more interested in and to take that into consideration when applying to universities if you are not already in university. If you are already in university, you could still take electives from the side that you are more interested in. Alternatively, you could major in CS and minor in electrical engineering or major in electrical engineering and minor in CS.
While computer engineering is a degree that can qualify you for many jobs at just the bachelor’s level, a master’s degree can also help you a lot when getting more research-based engineering roles. If you are interested in the more research-based roles, it would help to consider whether or not a master’s degree would be worth it for you.
Details about a statistics major
Below are some key details about the statistics major.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for statisticians will rise by 33% by 2029. This is mainly due to the surge in data that companies have been receiving in recent years that they need people with mathematical and statistical skills to make sense of.
According to Payscale, the average pay for someone with a bachelor’s in statistics is $70,050.
Something to consider is that many of the more statistical and well-paid jobs, such as a data scientist or machine learning engineer, will often require a master’s degree.
Types of jobs the degree will qualify you for
Since statistics is used in many different fields, a stats degree will open you up to many different job opportunities.
However, many of the jobs that stats majors tend to seek such as a quantitative researcher or machine learning engineer often require a master’s degree (but not always). They can also require more specialized knowledge that you might not get in a statistics degree. This is why it would help to make sure to choose your classes according to the job you are most interested in.
Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a master’s in stats could include:
- Machine learning engineer
- Data scientist
- Quantitative researcher
With that being said, even with just a bachelor’s degree there will be many different jobs that you will qualify for.
Examples of jobs that you could qualify for with a bachelor’s in stats could include:
- Financial analyst
- Insurance underwriter
- Data analyst
- Software engineer
- Market researcher
- Actuary (requires lots of stats classes)
However, statistics is a general degree that is not specific to a certain type of job in the way something things such as computer science is to software engineering and finance is to finance type jobs. This means that you should take courses from the field that you want to enter and do internships and projects in that field as well in order to be competitive when seeking a job.
For example, many stats majors go into software engineering after graduation. If you want to qualify for software engineering jobs then make sure to take a data structures class and an algorithms class and try to get some internships as a software engineer while in college.
Before choosing your electives I would strongly recommend that you consider what you want to do after college and make sure to take classes related to that.
With that being said, there are some people that have gotten data science and machine learning jobs with just a bachelor’s. It would greatly improve your chances if you were to make sure to complete machine learning and data science projects and to do internships in those fields as an undergrad. It would also help to take computer science classes in your electives, especially data structures and algorithms.
Types of classes you will study
As a statistics major you can expect to take the following classes:
- Differential calculus
- Integral calculus
- Multivariate calculus
- Linear algebra
- Discrete math
- Mathematical statistics
- Data analysis
You can also expect to have the option to take other statistics classes and related classes as available.
How difficult it is as a major
The statistics major is generally considered as being a moderately difficult degree by STEM standards. Some of the more advanced classes can be proof-based which tends to be much harder than the more computational classes but you might not have to take those classes depending on your specific program.
Some things to consider about the major
A Statistics degree can open up many different possible avenues for yourself and can be a very good degree when combined with a more applied minor. This is because the statistics taught in a stats major is useful in a wide variety of fields but you will need to supplement it with some field-specific coursework so that you are able to show that you can apply the statistics to those fields.
A very good combination would be to major in statistics and to minor in computer science. Doing this would open you up to job roles such as data science, machine learning engineer, data analysis and software engineering.
Majoring in computer science and minoring in statistics is also a very good combination. If you want to go down the data science route, it would also help to make sure to take some statistics and data analysis classes.
More details about the statistics major
I have written more about how to do well in a stats major here and I have written more about whether or not a stats degree is worth it here.
Reasons to choose a statistics degree
While a statistics degree won’t usually qualify you for as many high paying entry-level jobs as computer engineering, it can still be very employable if you combine it with something such as computer science.
Also, the demand for statistics majors is increasing sharply due to the increasing amounts of data that companies are getting. It is likely that the career paths that statistics can lead you down, such as data science, will continue to be highly in demand for many years.
If you do choose to get a statistics degree, it would help a lot to consider what you would like to do after graduating and to make sure to take classes related to that. It would also help to try to complete projects and to do summer internships related to a job you are interested in to make your job search much easier after graduation. It would also help to make sure to get good at programming, especially in R and Python, since many statistics jobs require programming and data analysis knowledge.
Reasons to choose computer engineering
When compared with a statistics bachelor’s degree by itself, you can expect a computer engineering degree to qualify you for more jobs that are high-paying. This is because the major can qualify you for computer science-related roles and electrical engineering-related roles.
Furthermore, the jobs that a computer engineering degree can qualify you for tend to be very interesting jobs that have high levels of satisfaction. Although, many of the statistics jobs can be very interesting in their own right.
Ultimately, they are both well respected degrees with good job opportunities. It would help to consider what you find most interesting and what sorts of jobs you are most interested in when deciding on which degree would be best for you.