What is Computer Science?

what is computer science

Computer science is a discipline that takes a scientific approach to computational systems. Students think about computer systems and how humans interact with computers from a scientific perspective. Unlike similar fields such as computer engineering and electrical engineering, computer science focuses largely on various aspects of software and systems. Some common areas of study within the field of computer science include database systems, security, artificial intelligence, programming and software engineering.

Factors for Success

Highly analytical individuals fare best in a computer science degree program or career. The ideal candidates will be good at logic, problem solving and reasoning, and will be comfortable working with math. To succeed in this discipline, students must be able to think like a machine as well as a human. Students need to spend multiple hours a week working at a computer, so an ability to focus on a problem or project for long periods is critical. This field of study rewards individuals who are highly motivated and can work independently.

Degree Programs

Degree programs in computer science are offered at a variety of levels. Associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctorates are available. These programs vary in their approach to the discipline: Some focus more on the theoretical aspects of it, while others provide a more practical foundation in programming, networking and database management skills. Computer science degrees are not only offered at traditional colleges and universities, but are also made available through many online learning programs. The nature of the work makes it ideally suited for online study. Although a doctorate is usually reserved for those individuals seeking to work in research or academia, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is typically required for most corporate jobs.


There are many careers in which it is either preferable or required to have a degree in computer science. Computer programmers, software engineers, database administrators, and network engineers are all positions that require at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Landing a short-term contract is an excellent way for new graduates to get their foot in the door and gain valuable experience. Information security is a growing field that is also attracting many qualified candidates with a computing background, and the world of “big data” analytics is poised for enormous growth. Some computer science graduates combine their analytical skills with a flair for creativity, trying their hand at video-game design or web development.

It’s clear that a wide range of opportunities are available in the world of computing. Whether a student wishes to head directly into a computer programming position or pursue high-level academic research, a degree program in computer science provides the ideal starting point. A computer science background offers attractive job prospects to qualified candidates: Graduates in the field earn some of the highest starting salaries among holders of bachelor’s degrees. Even in the toughest of job markets, demand for computer science graduates is strong, and is expected to keep growing and expanding in the years to come.

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