All computing degrees at UNSW have a common core of computing and mathematics. This core provides the fundamentals in good design and techniques that are essential for a deep understanding of the field. It also covers the skills that most employers are looking for, like problem solving skills, in a way that makes our graduates highly flexible and widely sought after. As shown below, the degrees all overlap to an extent and therefore so do job prospects, but each degree also contains unique fields of study.
What differentiates the Degree Programs are the other courses studied beyond this core - in choosing a degree you are choosing a different emphasis in your major but are not locked into a particular type of employment. Transferring between the degrees is also relatively easy.
Bioinformatics, Bioinformatics Engineering and Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary area of study which draws upon both computing and the life sciences. It is concerned with the development of technologies for storing, extracting, organising, analysing, interpreting and utilising biological information.
- storage and retrieval of biological data such as nucleic acid and protein sequence and structure;
- data analysis and mining in areas such as sequence alignment, structural analysis, phylogeny, metabolic pathways and signalling, gene expression;
- graphical representation of complex biological data;
- high performance computing techniques to support the areas above.
Bioinformatics graduates have strengths in computing techniques, life sciences, and biotechnology which equips them for a wide range of careers. Graduates may find employment with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; companies in the information and communications technology sector; and public and private research organisations.
Computer Engineering is the study of hardware and software components for the integrated design of computerised systems; it incorporates electrical engineering with the common computing core. Examples include: super computers; personal computers such as laptops; embedded systems such as smart phones; safety- critical controllers for aircraft and electronic prostheses to improve quality of life. This field teaches the principles and techniques necessary to design these systems with maximal impact.
Computer Science is the most flexible computing degree at UNSW. Students study the common core, but are then free to choose other courses to specialise in their own way. The choices can be within Computing or in fields outside of Computing, like Engineering, Science, Arts or Business. Psychology, Philosophy, Information Systems and Japanese are popular, but there are many more. Even though this is a Science degree, at UNSW it is taught with strong Engineering principles with a focus on design.
Software Engineering combines the common computing core with design and project management skills. Software Engineering goes beyond Programming and a feature of the Program at UNSW is a series of software engineering workshops that give students experience in designing a large system, working in teams and managing projects. The focus is on the design of software systems that have the required functionality and are secure and reliable.