What’s the Difference between Computer Science and Information Technology?

By Lauren Abraham

Student Works at laptop

We live in a world that is greatly dependent on technology, and it is an essential part of any business. For this reason, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions are in extremely high demand.

In order to enter these industries, individuals must have specialized skills in the technology field. Today, a wide variety of STEM degrees are offered, each one specializing in a particular area.

So, how do you know which STEM degree is right for you? It is important to understand the difference between computer science and information technology (IT), which are two majors that provide you with the knowledge and skills to achieve success in the technology field.

Computer Science

Computer science is a broad field that focuses on understanding and using algorithmic and mathematical processes that are applied to computer systems. Artificial intelligence, software engineering, programming language theory, computer engineering, computer security and computer graphics are all subfields within computer science.

Computer science majors may be referred to as software engineers. They play a part in the first phase of computer software development by designing tools like software, operating systems and databases for end users and IT professionals. In addition, they work with computer architectures and operating systems, and are passionate about writing computer programs.

Students earning a computer science degree gain valuable knowledge about the principles of computing, how computers solve problems and how to present problems to computers to solve. In addition, they study the principles of software and hardware behind the emergence of information technology.

Information Technology

Those who earn an IT degree aim to meet the technology needs of organizations. In ways, information technology addresses the business side of computer science. It focuses on computers and software to store, protect, process, transit and retrieve data. In addition, technology infrastructures like networks, servers and databases are also focuses of IT.

Information technology majors learn to use computers to solve human and business problems. For example, they learn to keep a business’ technology up-to-date so they can be efficient in their practice. They also learn to manipulate technical information to meet business requirements.

CS vs. IT

While computer science and information technology majors both possess extensive knowledge about technology, they differ in their career paths. Computer science professionals create computer programs, and IT professionals implement these programs and apply them to businesses. Computer science professionals use skills in mathematics and theories to make information technology possible, and IT professionals use skills to communicate with businesses to meet their needs through technology.

If you are interested in learning the behind-the-scenes of computer software development, consider a degree in computer science. If you enjoy working with others and finding technological solutions to problems, consider a degree in information technology.

The future is promising for both computer science and IT professionals. As technology is continuously becoming more integrated into society, exciting opportunities arise for those who seek a STEM degree.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology inspires creativity and academic excellence. To learn more about GCU’s STEM programs, get in touch with us today!  

Written by Lauren Abraham, a junior majoring in communications at GCU.

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