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IT vs Computer Science. How to Choose the Right Degree?

Updated: November 25, 2022 | Published: March 3, 2019

Updated: November 25, 2022

Published: March 3, 2019

IT vs Computer Science. How to Choose the Right Degree (1)

Between 2021 and 2031, employment in computer and information technology jobs is projected to grow 15%, which is much faster than average compared to all other occupations, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By understanding the similarities and differences between IT vs computer science, you can figure out which degree is more fitting for you as a student who is heading toward achieving your career goals. 

In this article, we’re going to compare an IT vs computer science degree so you’ll have all the information you need to know, starting with the basics.

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What is Computer Science?

Computer science is the study of computers and computation. It is centered around the processes of creating computer programs and applications. The subject also incorporates the theories behind these processes.

When you study computer science, you will learn how to program and make computers work to achieve your intended goals. It calls for problem-solving abilities and methodological thinking.

In many instances, the work of a professional in computer science will be individual in nature.


What is IT?

IT stands for information technology. It is focused on the application of computer programs and networks in an effort to solve business processes. Information technology understands how a computer handles processes, so you’ll basically know how data is transformed into action. 

Many IT professionals will work in teams and alongside professionals within the industry to help resolve technological issues. 

Majoring in Computer Science

For anyone looking to work in the field of computer science, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is likely to be required. When you major in computer science, you can expect your coursework to cover topics like:

  • Mobile application development 
  • Cloud computing 
  • Programming fundamentals and languages
  • Algorithm design 
  • Software development
  • Mathematics 

The subject tends to blend computing technology, mathematics, and business skills. Of course, your classes will vary based on the institution where you earn your degree. 

Majoring in Information Technology

If you choose instead to major in information technology, you’ll learn about computers and computing, plus more. IT encompasses computing as well as networks and data storage devices in business settings. A major in information technology will include classes such as:

  • Cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Database programming
  • System administration and analysis 
  • Communication and technology 

Along with technology-based coursework, you can expect to take classes that cover ethics, business, math, and data science. 

Required Skills: CS vs IT degree 

While both degrees do overlap somewhat, their inherent differences call for a diverse range of skills. 

For example, if you’re going to study information technology, you’ll learn and hone skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Data analysis
  • Computer programming
  • Project management

As a student studying computer science, skills will span:

  • Time management
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Critical thinking
  • Programming 
  • Statistics 
  • Algorithm design 

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Career Options: What Degree is Right For Me?

When looking over IT vs computer science degrees, one of the best ways to pick your path forward is to know what kind of careers each degree can lead to. 

Computer science degree holders can obtain jobs including:

  • Systems software developer
  • Cloud application engineer
  • Mobile software engineer
  • Computer network architect
  • Web developer
  • Digital designer

On the other hand, a degree in information technology can afford you roles like:

  • Database administrator
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Systems administrator
  • IT project manager
  • Network administrator 
  • Computer support specialist

The salaries that stem from either degree tend to be lucrative and depend on education and experience. The averages across each degree do vary in their averages, but not by enough for that to be the sole decision-maker. 

For example, the average salary for computer scientists sits around $82,209 in America. Compare that figure to an average of $73,874 for information technologists. The spread isn’t large and also depends on actual job titles and years in the field. So, you’ll be able to maximize your earnings in either specialized field with dedication and commitment. 

That’s why it’s best to focus on what you are interested in and passionate about when discovering which degree to major in. 

Both of these degrees will undoubtedly open the door to various careers that tend to pay well upon graduation, even in entry-level roles. There is a lot of career growth expected and opportunity in both computer science and information technology, especially since the world continues to rely on and evolve computing and its related technology. 

Essentially, you can’t go wrong in choosing to major in either of these subjects. 

Earning Your Degree Online

Did you know that you can earn your computer science and information technology degrees entirely online? The popularity of online degrees is on the rise and for good reason. 

Online degrees from the University of the People are accredited and tuition-free. That means that you can get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree for a fraction of the cost that you’d otherwise pay at a traditional university. 

We offer an associate’s, bachelor’s, and certificate program in computer science. Alternatively, if you wish to earn your master’s degree in information technology, feel free to learn about our recently released program here

When you earn your degree or enroll in a certificate program at the University of the People, you get to study at your own pace and from anywhere you desire. Plus, you’ll be learning alongside students from all over the world, which means you can broaden your social circle and network globally. 

Wrapping Up 

When comparing IT vs computer science, you’ll come to find that there are many similarities along with their nuanced differences. For both degrees, most employers will expect around 3-5 years of experience for the majority of job postings. Additionally, the bulk of job postings in either realm will prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. 

Ultimately, you’ll want to decide what kind of job you’d rather have and which field is more interesting to you. Both fields are primed for immense growth and will call for jobs that require problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity. 

If you choose to learn online, be sure to consider our programs at University of the People!