Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or Information Technology?

Although the differences between a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Bachelor of Science in information technology seem minimal, a computer science bachelor’s degree and an information technology degree are not interchangeable. Computer science deals with the creation of computer programs, while information technology deals with the usage of those programs in business. A computer science major is most suitable for people who want to work as software developers or programmers. Those who want to work as database managers or network administrators may want to pursue a Bachelor of Science in information technology instead.

Curriculum Similarities and Differences

Computer science programs typically focus on the mathematical and theoretical foundations of computing, whereas information technology programs emphasize subjects like software, databases, and networking. A computer science bachelor’s degree is normally a minimum requirement for those who want to work in software development. You can pursue either a BS or BA computer science program.

BA programs require you to take more general education courses than BS programs. In BA programs, you can take classes in a wide range of subjects, including English, psychology, and geography, while BS programs focus more on mathematics and the sciences. Computing is linked with many fields, so it can be helpful for your career to obtain the broad education that a BA program provides, but the BS tends to be the more common computer science degree available. In computer science programs, students may take the following basic courses:

  • Algorithms
  • Data structures
  • Programming principles
  • Logic and computation o
    bject-oriented programming language
  • UNIX or open source systems
  • Computer architecture
  • Calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Probability and statistics

Unlike the computer science curriculum, information technology programs emphasize specific technologies. Graduates of information technology programs are generally equipped to perform technology tasks associated with processing, storing, and transmitting information between computers, mobile phones, and other devices. Courses that you may be required to take in an information technology degree program include the following:

  • IT fundamentals
  • Database management
  • Web systems and technologies
  • Programming
  • Computer networking
  • Systems administration and management
  • Project management
  • IT security
  • Object-oriented design
  • Data mining and warehousing

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology vs Computer Science Careers

Although the curriculum for the two degrees differ, the job opportunities tend to overlap. Bachelors of Science in computer science programs prepare graduates to work as software developers, communications engineers, network architects, programmers, database analysts, and database administrators. Information technology programs prepare graduates for positions as software developers, website developers, systems administrators, database administrators, systems analysts, and information systems managers.

Information technology and computer science graduates may work at high technology companies, such as Microsoft and IBM, or at startups. They also work in a variety of other industries, including healthcare, marketing and sales, pharmaceuticals, finance, and entertainment. Whether you choose to pursue an information technology degree or computer science degree, you will likely have access to high paying jobs.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the median annual wage of network and  computer systems administrators was $70,970 in 2011. Computer systems analysts earned $78,770, applications software developers earned $89,280, and systems software developers earned $96,600. To begin forging a successful career in this lucrative field, select a Bachelor of Science in computer science or information technology program today.