Difference Between Computer Science and Information Technology

5 votes


The difference between Computer Science and Information Technology explained: Jobs, salaries, courses, and more.

Ever wondered what the difference is between computer science and information technology? Let’s get it all straight!



What is the difference between Computer Science and Information Technology?



Computer Science

Computer Science is the study of software and computer systems and includes networks, software engineering, programming languages, artificial intelligence, databases, security, human computer interaction and theory.


If you want to work in the computer science field, you will need to have an analytical mind, enjoy problem solving, have excellent attention to detail and great communication skills.



What Do You Learn During a Computer Science Degree?


On a Computer Science degree, you will gain a comprehensive education in computer fundamentals, design, development, testing, documentation, database management and programming languages.


If this is your area of interest but you are you unable to commit to full-time on-campus learning due to financial, personal or geographic constraints, UoPeople provides an online, accredited tuition-free Associate and BSc in Computer Science which will enable you to keep your day job and study flexibly. If you are interested in comparing all your options, there are a selection of online learning options to choose from.



What Job Opportunities Do You Have With a Computer Science Degree?


Computer Science is one of the most lucrative degrees and one which will give you a wide variety of career options within the field. You can become a front-end or back-end web developer, a cyber-security analyst, a UX/UI designer, an algorithm engineer/developer, a data scientist, a games developer, a computer programmer, and more, depending on what you’d like to specialize in.



Salaries for Computer Science Jobs


According to Payscale, average annual alaries in the USA for January 2019 are:


In Canada, a data scientist earns an average annual salary of $55,480 and in the UK $45,578.


In the UK, a user experience designer earns an average salary of $39,298 and a front-end developer earns $37,333.



Source: Unsplash


The USA Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the highest growth areas will be data science and cyber (information) security. Data scientists analyse big data and companies are increasingly discovering the importance of collecting, storing and analysing customer data in order to build, develop and expand their businesses. Cyber security is growing as a result of the increasing need to protect inter-connected systems, including hardware, software and data from cyber-attack and breaches of security.



What Skills Are Needed for Computer Science Jobs?


There are plenty of opportunities and choices upon completion of your degree, each with its own specialized requirements and sub-skills.



Back-end developer


Ruby on Rails, Python, SQL, PHP, Java, and .Net


Front-end developer


HTML, CSS, JavaScript (JQuery), and JavaScript Frameworks, WordPress


UX designer


Research, wireframing, prototyping, analysis, design, Figma, Sketch, and Balsamiq


Data scientist


R, Python, SQL, C+/C++, Java, and Matlab


Software engineer


CASE (Computer aided software engineering tools), programming languages


Mobile applications developer


UI design, Android and iOS development, back-end computing, C#, Java, HTML, CSS, API




Source: Unsplash



Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology refers to the installation and maintenance of networks and databases and involves supporting business operations through the management of information systems. IT professionals have more interaction with users therefore need to have good interpersonal, communication and listening skills. They may need to help users with technology issues or work with heads of departments to plan technological solutions to the needs of their department.



What Do You Learn on an Information Technology Degree?


On an Information Technology degree, you will learn information systems, problem solving and troubleshooting, computer fundamentals, database management, computer networks and mathematics.



What Job Opportunities Do You Have With an Information Technology Degree?


Some of the employment options include IT consultant, database administrator, technical support manager, cybersecurity analyst, network architect, systems analyst and mobile applications developer, amongst others.


An IT Consultant provides organizations with best practices for information technology solutions and services in order to help best meet the company’s business objectives. A database administrator is responsible for managing a database including planning, development, troubleshooting and security.


According to Payscale the average database administrator in the USA earns $71,775 and a senior database administrator earns $104.921. According to the Herjavec cybersecurity jobs report, it is predicted that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021 and that cybercrime will more than triple the number of job openings in this field within the next 5 years.



What Skills Are Needed for Information Technology Jobs?


Operating systems and server software including: Apache,Linux, OpenSSL, Windows Server, Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server. You will need to keep abreast of all new and developing technologies and have great communication and team-working skills.



Salaries for IT Jobs


CNN together with Payscale produced a report on the 100 best jobs in the USA based on growth of profession, pay and job satisfaction. Information Technology Director is No. 13 on this list with a growth of 15% and a median annual salary of $128,000.



How to Get Started

If you want to start off with a taster before you dive in and commit to a degree, there are plenty of free or low-cost learning opportunities online.


Alison is a great resource which provides over 1,000 courses in 9 distinct subject categories, all totally free. There are courses in software tools, mobile application design, network and security, software engineering, hardware, data science and software development.


W3Schools provides tutorials and references on web development languages including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Python, JQuery and Bootstrap.


Lynda is an online learning platform that provides courses in business, software, technology and creative skills for both personal and professional learning and self-improvement. There is a charge of $32 per month.


Codecademy offers free coding courses in 12 different programming languages.



Khan Academy


Khan Academy offers free online learning in the form of instructional videos and practices exercises in a variety of subjects including computer programming.





Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with 80,000 courses available for purchase. The courses are mostly taught by experienced professionals in their field.



According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to increase by a faster than average growth of 13% from 2016 to 2026. These professions are projected to add 557,100 new jobs to the economy. The area that is predicted to have the highest growth is the area of cloud computing, data storage/analysis and cyber (information) security.


The difference between Information Technology and Computer Science has some overlap and they are not totally separate and distinct from each other. Whichever area you choose to learn, the skills and knowledge gained will open up lucrative, fulfilling and exciting career opportunities.