Choosing a Career: Computer Science vs. Information Technology
So you are interested in a career in computers and technology. While there are many different fields
that you could go into the two most well-known are Computer Science and Information Technology.
While the two career options are both great choices and have many similarities there are some key
differences between the two. Let’s go over some of these differences.
Computer science is the study of computers. More specifically it is the study of their programming and
design both in hardware and software (although hardware is more the realm of electrical engineering).
Computer science is really about creating the processes for computer applications and programs and
making them work.
Employees can expect to spend a lot of time writing
complex algorithms in a number of different coding
languages. Computer scientists need to have a good
understanding of mathematical algorithms and then be
able to logically and meticulously implement the
algorithms in code.
If you are leaning toward a career in Computer Science
the skills that you need to acquire in order of
importance are Java, software engineering, oracle,
Systems, OOAD, .NET, Operating Systems, and Software Development. If you are looking at different
programs make sure that their curriculum covers these skills.
Computer Science jobs you can look for and their accompanying salaries include Computer Research
Scientist ($100,660), Hardware Engineer ($98,810), Software Engineer ($96,000), Software Developer
($90,530), Systems Analyst ($78,770), Web Developer ($74,660), Database Administrator ($73, 490).
Your interaction with people really is up to you and the job type that you choose. Some jobs will have
you speak with people individually and in meetings while others can have behind the computer all day
with minimal contact. It really is up to you and what style of job you like.
IT professionals deal with the application of computer programs within businesses. Rather than writing
the programs like CS Professionals, IT individuals are in charge of the installation, development, and
maintenance of computer systems, software, and networks within a business. Information Technology
is focused on assisting other in implementing computer based solutions to practical business issues.
Information Technology professionals need a mix of computing and administrative skills. The skills that
are most important are SQL, Operating Systems, Oracle, UNIX, Information Systems, Business Process,
Linux, Java, Database Administration, System and
Network Configuration, Technical Support, Systems
Analysis, Systems Administration, Help Desk
Support, and Cisco. Again, make sure to find a
program that teaches you these different skills.
Computer Science jobs you can look for and their
accompanying salaries include Systems Analyst
($78,770), Web Developer ($74,660), Database
Administrator ($73, 490), Computer Programmer
($71,380), Network Systems Administrator
($69,160), Technical Support Specialist ($46,260).
There is usually heavy interaction with people as
opposed to computer science. IT professionals are
constantly in contact with the users of present
systems in order to correct issues.
The two different career paths do have a number of things in common and both of them offer great
career prospects. Which job is best is really up to you. Do you want limited contact with people or to
talk to them every day? Are you interested in writing the programs or practically using them in a
business setting? Write down your preferences to make the best decision. To get started find a good
program that includes the skillset you need whether it is at Salt Lake City college or at a New York
University, good luck!
Photo Credit: Johan Larsson, R. Fenner