There is a wide selection of majors that a student could choose from for their computer degree, and there are computer degrees available at all levels of upper education from associate’s to doctoral degrees. Often there are further specializations within each major that allow students to prepare for a specific career path. Some of the most common majors within the field of computer science are Computer Science, Information Technology, Information Systems, Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering.
Students will also be able to choose the format of their degree, as many institutions offer computer degrees with classes on campus, online, or a hybrid of both. Online options are typically suited for working professionals who are looking to obtain a computer-based job, or already one and are looking to increase their credentials for career promotion. Graduates with computer degrees are some of the most sought after employees, as there is a large skills gap between the number of computer jobs and qualified applicants. Therefore, some people may find that an affordable computer degree will get their foot in the same door as a degree from a prestigious Ivy League school, at a heavily discounted rate. For reference to some of the most affordable computer science degrees, check out our list of the Top 10 Cheapest Online Bachelors of Computer Science Degrees.
Let’s take a closer look at what differentiates the different computer degree majors from each other.
Computer Science is the most common major for computer degrees. The field of computer science can encompass a wide range of subjects, giving students a broad background and basis from which to later choose a specialization. In general, the field of computer science teaches the underlying scientific theories and reasoning that go into the building blocks of computing. Majoring in computer science is the most versatile computer degree, as it will not pigeonhole you to any particular specialization.
Information Technology is the second most common major for computer degrees, and focuses on data archive, retrieval, and transmission. Information Technology places an emphasis on learning how computers connect to each other through Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), and ethernets. Areas of specialization within the field of Information Technology include but are not limited to Information Assurance and Security, Network Administration, and Software Analysis and Development. The specialization of students within the field of Information Technology will qualify them for particular careers like Information Security Analyst, Systems Administrator, and Software Developer.
Information Systems is a very similar major as Information Technology, with the slight difference being that Information Systems majors will focus on the business applications of IT principles. Information Systems will teach students how to analyze companies, corporations, governments, and other institutions to define and achieve specific goals.
Computer Engineering majors deal with computer hardware, learning how to construct and program motherboards, and design the different devices that these motherboards operate. Computer Engineers also focus on the interface of personal computing, designing seamless interactions between humans and technology.
Software Engineering majors create the operating systems and applications that utilize what Computer Engineers have created. Software engineers will learn how to write code, and will usually specialize in one of the major computer languages like Java, Python, and C+, among many others.