IT vs computer science – these fields are often confused for each other, but have much less overlap than you might think! Educate yourself on the differences.
You’ve probably heard that the computer and information technology fields are growing exponentially.
In fact, jobs in these fields are expected to grow much faster than the average for all other fields. They pay much more than other fields too.
What most people don’t know is that there is a big difference between information technology and computer science.
When earning a degree in one of these fields, it’s important to understand the differences in order to choose the right one. There isn’t much overlap between the fields.
It’s important that you choose a degree that is oriented towards your career goals. Keep reading for our breakdown of IT vs computer science to help you make the right choice.
IT vs Computer Science: What is the Difference?
To determine which degree is right for you, you must first understand the fundamental differences between the degrees.
While both degrees are pretty much guaranteed to land you a good job, the type of work you will be doing with the degree differs. Each of the degrees is better suited to certain individuals.
Do you love math? If so, computer science might be the right degree for you.
Getting a degree in computer science is all about learning the design of computer systems and the theory of computation. Computer science tends to have more focus on the theoretical than IT.
Computer science is similar to mathematics. You will learn about things like the limits of computation, which involves a lot of math.
On the other hand, there will also be lessons in practicalities that will teach you how to put your degree to work. Understanding the principles of computer science is important but you will also learn how to implement computing systems with hardware and software.
There are a few different ways to use your computer science degree. First, you could work on designing and implementing new software. You could also study and devise new ways to use computers to improve our efficiency.
Finally, if you are a problem solver, you could work on developing ways to solve problems with computing.
Information Technology, or IT for short, is quite different from computer science.
IT is all about the practical needs of computing. Those with IT degrees will be tasked with hands-on work that helps meet the needs of those in many different fields.
With the importance of computers and technology and their use on a daily basis, IT professionals are in high demand. Working as an IT professional might mean working with hospitals, private sector businesses, healthcare organizations, and even schools.
There are many different environments to choose from. You’ll be tasked with helping your employer choose and work with hardware and software products based on their business needs.
You’ll also work with their IT systems and infrastructure to ensure proper function and keep their data safe. Click here to learn more about working in IT.
What Type of Courses Will You Need to Take?
Earning a degree in either of these fields will be challenging, but rewarding. Choosing a degree based on the types of courses you will be expected to take will help ensure you perform well in school.
Let’s look at the types of courses you can expect to take with each degree. If you are torn between degrees, consider which classes sound more interesting to you or more inline with your skill set.
Keep in mind that these are core classes and you will have more unique opportunities to specialize in a subfield when you get to your upper-level classes.
- Computer Networking
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Software Engineering
- Programming Languages
- Computer Networking
- Database Design
- Web Systems and Media
- Computer and Network Hardware
- Operating Systems
- Programming and Logic
- Network Infrastructure
- IT Security
- Human/Computer Interface and Interactions
Choosing a Degree
No matter which of these two fields you choose, you are going to have a great career.
There is a constant increase in demand for positions in both sectors thanks to advances in technology. The advent of cloud computing has increased the demand for IT and computing professionals who can work with businesses to make the switch to the cloud.
Data collection and storage needs have also increased recently. As a result of an increase in data and security breaches by hackers and cybercriminals, businesses are looking for industry professionals to help them store and secure their data.
Choosing which field to pursue comes down to personal preferences.
Are you more intrigued by the theoretical aspects of computer science or are you more of a hands-on problem solver?
Do you like working with people and helping them with their technology needs or would you rather work alone coming up with new ways to solve problems?
Think about which career path appeals to you more. Now that you know about the differences between computer science and IT, you should have a better idea of which is right for you.
While it is possible to become prepared to work in both fields while in school for one of them, many employers are looking to fill specific spots with one degree or the other.
Here are some of the top jobs based on the degree required.
- Database Administrator
- Web Developer
- Computer Programmer
- Software Developer
- Computer Network Architect
- Systems Analyst
Now that you know a little more about IT vs Computer Science, it’s time to choose a degree.
If you still aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to reach out to the schools you are considering. An academic adviser or career counselor can help identify your strengths to determine which degree and career path is best for you.
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