Exploring Pros and Cons of Alternative Branches to Computer Science (CSE) in Engineering

We all know that recently there has been a huge surge in CS admissions in college in the past 10 years. So the topic of the moment is, whether it is worth having a CS degree over non-CSE branches. Being an Electronics undergrad myself, along with ample enthusiasm in most of the CS fields, I am suitable for commenting on the pros and cons of choosing alternative branches to CSE.

Every Jee aspirant has a constant doubt, i.e., which engineering branch to choose. They’re required to make a trade of either a good college but decent branch(core engineering branches), or a decent college and computer science. Such a dilemma is faced by engineering aspirants throughout India. Unfortunately, I must admit that the majority of students end up taking CS over core engineering subjects.

This practice is fatal in the long run for any nation, According to this article in the USA, the recession has caused unrest among CS graduates. Current layoffs are the best examples of the repercussions for a vast number of CS employees.

CSE admissions surpassing core branches.
Image credit – The Print

Every coin has two faces. So, let’s talk about the first face of it. “Perks of a CS degree over its Alternate branches”.

Why CSE has still got it!

I would begin by pondering upon the question, of why CSE has such a massive influence on current engineering students.

IT Revolution of this century:

Undoubtedly the world is still in a computer science boom. We can say that because most current advancements in science are in this industry. Be it OpenAi’s GPT, or Apple’s Virtual Reality gadget Vision Pro. It’s undeniable, that this field is going through vast developments, which provides huge opportunities as well. Non-CSE graduates may face tough times when seeking employment opportunities, due to slower advancements in most core engineering fields. For instance, civil, metallurgy has reached a phase where the growth rate is quite linear. The lack of revolutionary ideas in these core fields has led to their stalemate.

The challenge of being relevant

Some of the non-CSE branches like chemical and textile may face challenges in keeping up with the rapid technological advancements. Evolving alongside AI, data science and Web3 could come as a huge challenge, to stay relevant in times of advanced automated tech. These branches must adapt their curriculum to incorporate these emerging technologies.

Computer Engineering Sub Fields entry and mid level salaries
Image credit – exambuddy4study

A large number of sub-fields

CS is an umbrella term, that encompasses domains like artificial intelligence, which in itself has machine learning, NLP, deep learning, etc., blockchain, cloud computing, cyber security, web and app development, etc. These sub-branches have individual job potential. Hence, getting jobs of your interest in CSE is quite possible. CSE students just need to master one of their subdomains to get a well-paying job. This is not the case for core engineering branches, as we need knowledge of all the core principles and fundamentals to build something of practical use.

Role of Startups

India’s tech startup boom with 90,000 estimated startups listed by DPIIT. This boom serves as a solution to the employment problem of India, and it has been possible only due to CS engineers. The modern world requires every entrepreneur to have, if not a degree then skills in computer science.

Competition in core jobs

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, knowledge of computer programming and software development tools has become increasingly important. Non-CSE graduates may need additional skills in these areas to compete with CSE graduates in certain job roles. Need for Software-aided tools, for instance, virtual simulators, are a necessity for every engineering stream. Hence, CSE graduates have become capable of competing with non-CSE in core jobs as well.

On a concluding note, I would say that It’s unfortunate but one of the major cons of non-branches is employment ease. Most startups are IT-based and require CS skills. Most core branches do not facilitate remote work, which IT companies do with ease.

Now, flip the coin to the pros of non-cse branches:

Are non-CSE branches becoming popular?

Leveraging CSE boom

The idea that I advocate is leveraging the CSE boom. Most computer processing requires newer innovative hardware to execute it, and when hardware manufacturing is on the plate core engineering skills are required. Electronics, Electrical, and will receive a simultaneous boom with the surge of AI, Blockchain, and Cloud Computing.

Practical Applications

Non-CSE branches often have more hands-on applications. For instance, mechanical engineers design and build physical systems, electrical engineering deals with electrical circuits and systems, and civil engineering focuses on constructing physical infrastructure. These branches provide a visible physical impact on the real world.

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Non-CSE branches have interdisciplinary aspects. The need for core knowledge in specific fields along with other domains of engineering for the implementation of their ideas allows students to collaborate with professionals from other fields. For instance, Electronics engineering may involve working with mechanical professionals, and ML engineers to develop automated systems like self-driven cars. This interdisciplinary exposure will enhance problem-solving abilities and broaden the skill set of non-CSE graduates.

stats of patents published in each branch in Chandigarh university
image credit – Quora

Passion for core engineering

Non-CSE branches offer a strong foundation in core engineering principles. Students in these branches learn fundamental concepts of engineering, theories, principles, and practices related to their specific field of study. This knowledge can be valuable for pursuing specialized careers and contributing to research and innovation in their respective fields. Students pursuing non-CSE branches have the opportunity to engage in research projects,

So, now you know about the pros and cons of taking CSE and non-CSE branches. I hope you can now solve the dilemma that most Indian engineering students face during their admissions.


On a concluding note, I would like to share my views on this. I am an Electronics Undergrad, so I can give a non-CSE point of view. In my observations the only thing matters is, what orientation you have in your career. If the sole intention is earning money with ease then CSE has got your back, These immensely funded startups will offer enough for your needs, else if the focus is solely on research and innovation work,  then this boundary between non-CSE and CSE vanishes. You must choose the branch that sparks that passion in you.

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