Anyone with even a remote interest in the world of computers and digital technology will have encountered the terms computer science and information technology. These two terms are often used interchangeably. But each discipline is distinct and demands a unique set of skills and aptitude.

Despite educational institutes offering separate degrees in both computer science and IT, there is a great deal of overlap between the two as they share a range of common subjects. Because of this, students may find it difficult to spot the difference.

While one deals with various aspects of computer systems, networks, and databases, the other revolves around mathematics and programming.

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What is Computer Science?

Computer Science is the 3rd most popular course for foreign students in the United States. This is largely due to the excellent job security, outstanding job prospects, and above-average starting salary that Computer Science graduates enjoy.

It is a broad subject based on applying scientific methods to the study of computers. It includes computational theory, hardware design, software design, computer graphics, algorithms, mathematics, and programming.

Unlike IT and Hardware Engineers, Computer Scientists largely work with software and software systems. Their area of specialization lies in the theory, design, development, and application of software.

Computer Science deals with the scientific theory of computation, algorithm development, mathematical problem solving, together with the design of computer hardware and software.

Some of the primary areas of study in Computer Science are artificial intelligence, computer systems, networks, security, database systems, human-computer interaction, and computer graphics. It also covers subjects like numerical analysis, programming languages, software engineering, bioinformatics, and the theory of computing.

A Computer Science degree will teach essential computational skills, critical thinking, and how to develop and use new technology.

What is Information Technology?

Either in the form of software applications, networks, data storage, or communication. In fact, most firms and businesses would be crippled without Information Technology systems. That’s why there’s a growing need for IT professionals, and anyone with a background in computer science.

The term Information Technology refers to anything related to computer technology. It is used as a synonym for computers and their networks. It can also include other information distribution technologies such as smartphones and TVs.

IT employs various types of hardware, software, operating systems, virtualization, and management tools to perform essential functions. Laptops, smartphones as well as other user devices, peripherals, and software are all part of the IT domain.

IT involves the management of data, including text, voice, image, and audio. It also involves the transfer of data, making the Internet part of IT as well.

Information Technology is an indispensable part of modern life and continues to expand into new realms. All of us are pretty much guaranteed to encounter and use Information Technology at some point in our lives.

Applications of Information Technology

Some applications of IT in our everyday lives include:

Careers in Computer Science vs Careers in Information Technology

A career in IT will generally be more specialized, whereas Computer Science graduates have a wider range of job prospects open to them.

On the contrary, Computer Scientists usually work in software firms, universities, the gaming industry, or even as freelancers from their own homes.

How Much Can You Earn?

Roles in both computer science and information technology are flourishing. By 2026, computer science jobs are predicted to grow by almost 22%. The average developer with a computer science background can expect an annual salary of $93,000.

Job prospects in information technology are steadily rising as well, with an expected growth of 15% to 37% in open job roles by 2026. An IT professional can expect to make around $86,000 per year.

How to Get Started

For those looking to specialize in software development or web development, a strong knowledge of programming and plenty of coding experience will set you up for a lasting, rewarding career. One way to learn these skills is to take an online course. This should provide you with everything you need to get hired in a web development role.

The Future is in Your Hands

Whatever route you decide to take, be it Computer Science or Information Technology, the demand for professionals is high. The tech industry is constantly growing and there are no signs of it slowing any time soon.

Bear in mind, you are much more likely to succeed by choosing a career in a field that interests you, rather than choosing a career based solely on job prospects and earning potential.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of Computer Science and IT roles within the industry. If you want to learn more, there are plenty of other related posts on our expert blog. Feel free to check them out. Alternatively, why not kickstart your career and realize your dream today by enrolling in our Web Developer Bootcamp. Get the support you need to become a highly paid full-stack Web Developer.

Which Tech Career is Right for You?

Ready to change your career and join the world’s next workforce? At Thinkful, we’ve got your back with various tech programs to get you equipped with in-demand skills.

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