computer science vs information technology

Within the last two decades, the world has seen and experienced an exponential rise in technology. Billions of people find answers to their questions on search engine technology. We rarely send messages these days or greeting cards because of the numerous messaging apps that are available. We can share photos, videos, and voice messages with billions of total strangers worldwide. 

We have gotten so accustomed to the benefits of technology that we take it for granted. We rarely think about computer science professionals, information technology specialists, engineers, and computer system operators responsible for all this goodness. 
Usually, pre-college students have to think about these details if they plan to pursue a degree in a technology-related career. They end up pitching computer science vs information technology. Therefore, they find it hard to choose a specific degree program to pursue. Despite both fields offering flexible work hours and fat paychecks, they have inherent differences. In this article, we will differentiate between computer science and information technology.

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science (Cs) is the study of computers and computing involving practical and theoretical applications. It has roots in physics, mathematics, management of information systems, and engineering. Hence, it applies the principles of these related fields. In this technology-driven age, being computer science-savvy is highly valuable as it cuts across many other sectors. 

Computer scientists perform a variety of functions. These include designing and analyzing algorithms to solve programs and studying the performance of computer hardware and software. Their chief concern is finding efficient ways to improve present technology and make it easier for humans to use. This concept gives rise to another issue between informatics vs computer science.  

Nonetheless, the advantages of computer science are; it paves the way for a world with fewer inequalities, creates a positive impact, and has transformed the world into a global village. 

Its disadvantages are; 

  • Computer science professionals regularly seek new knowledge.
  • Acquiring a college education is expensive.
  • They spend hours focusing on their screens. 

What Is Information Technology?

Information Technology, although often confused with Computer Science, is a different field on its own. IT entails developing, installing, organizing, and maintaining computer systems, software, and networks. The goal is to store, retrieve, and send information. 

This field is heavily reliant on data and the efficient use of technical resources to solve problems. Typically, IT professionals work in the business setting and are mainly concerned with preventing data breaches and maintaining programs. 

Considering how important IT is in today’s world, it’s no wonder it has many advantages. 

Some of which include: 

  • It increases the efficiency of individuals and organizations while saving valuable time. 
  • It protects and stores information that may otherwise have fallen into the wrong hands. 
  • It also improves communication through messages, video calls, and online conferences. Information Technology lets employees work from home and helps bosses assess their work through video conferences, emails, and chats. 

Despite these advantages, IT has some not-so-enticing aspects. 

  • Many workers have lost their careers because IT combines different jobs. 
  • It has also increased the risks of our personal or business information getting hacked by scammers and other such hooligans. 
  • Furthermore, there has been a rise in the risk of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem as individuals are constantly monitoring other people’s lives. 

What Is the Difference Between Computer Science and Information Technology?

While computer science and IT may have numerous similarities, they are unique fields of study. That is why it has become a fairly common practice to see people pitch CS vs IT. Here is the difference between computer science and information technology.  

  • Computer science requires advanced knowledge of programming and theoretical knowledge. Meanwhile, IT focuses on the application and maintenance of programs developed by computer scientists.   
  • While Computer Science requires some IT knowledge to get better jobs, IT isn’t dependent on Computer science for a better career.
  • Information Technology professionals have specified areas of work. They either work for companies or businesses to meet their needs or with individuals on a one-on-one basis. Meanwhile, computer scientists have a range of choices to make. They can work as freelancers, in a business, universities, as part of a research team, or in a video game developing company. 
  • Computer science professionals have higher-paying jobs than IT specialists despite both fields being gold mines. Additionally, computer science graduates have more readily available job opportunities that IT graduates lack. 

Skill Set: Computer Science VS Information Technology

Skill is the ability to do something well. There are certain skills necessary for CS or IT professionals to thrive. To do well as a computer scientist, here are the skills you need in addition to your computer science degree. 

  • Creative thinking ability
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Ability to work efficiently as a team member 
  • A knack for orderliness
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • A sea of experience using in data analysis and mathematics
  • Knowledge of sophisticated programming skill
  • Knowledgeable in a computer programming language such as SQL, Linux, Python, Java

Choosing either IT or CS may be more confusing because they have some general skills in common such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking, they have a few field-specific skills. These are the skills every IT professional who is excelling at work possesses. 

  • Project management 
  • An elementary understanding of programming 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Creative and critical thinking 
  • Technical knowledge of Information Technology 
  • Knowledge of computer programs like SQL and Linux
  • Customer service

Good customer service skills are necessary because IT professionals sometimes work with humans, and nobody likes rude people. Deciding to become either an IT or computer science professional means you’ll take your education a step further by self-learning more skills through extensive research on practice.

Career Outlook: Computer Science And Information Technology

Careers in IT and CS are lucrative, and they have numerous benefits accompanying them. They are competitive, and employers are desperate to hire these professionals. 

According to Money Magazine’s statistics, computer scientists are among the highest-paid employees in the US. With only about 77000 computer science graduates to fill in over 600000 job positions, little wonder employers are scrambling over them. Due to this scramble, computer scientists of juicy starting salaries compared to their mates in other fields. The average computer science vs information technology salary is $120462 and $109986. 

Computer scientists earn an annual average of $12000 more than their IT counterparts. However, the number of new job opportunities is estimated to be 20% for IT-related jobs and 12% for computer science jobs. Therefore, we can declare a tie. Despite the difference in their salaries and job percentages, they are still among the best paying careers. These figures are considerably higher than those stipulated in other professions. Furthermore,  the average computer science vs information technology salary is better than the average national household income of an American household. 

After successfully acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Computer science, there are several careers you can pursue. Although some are more financially rewarding than others, they all offer good salaries and career flexibility. 

Software Engineer

Software engineers develop new software and update existing software to meet up with the present day’s standards.

Database Administrator

Database administrators oversee and maintain a company’s database, keep it safe from threats, and perform necessary updates to keep the company afloat. 

Information Security Analyst 

They detect cyber threats toward the organization’s private information and data. They also protect these organizations from these threats. 

Computer Programmer 

They have an in-depth understanding of computer languages and write the codes necessary for software applications to function. They also test software for government agencies and other organizations. 

Video Game Developer 

Video game developers have top-notch creative thinking skills that let them create fun, appealing, and useful games. They can also build web pages and artwork for television.

Web Designer  

Web designers either update already existing websites or work with new websites. They plan, create, and code web pages and internet sites that they combine with texts, photos, videos. 

With the host of careers available for computer science majors, it’s no surprise more people worldwide are getting into the field. Great opportunities bring numerous responsibilities. Some of them cut across the various career choices available to a computer science major. Below are some of those expectations: great

  • Work as part of a research team consisting of IT professionals, software engineers, electrical engineers, or programmers to create new products and solve computer science problems. 
  • Seek sustainable and more efficient ways to improve computer software.
  • Write and publish articles on well-researched topics. 
  • Generate new computing techniques and hardware.
  • Critically think about math-related problems.

Besides these responsibilities, computer science professionals may find themselves doing some networking or maintenance work now and then. It is normal because computer science requires some IT knowledge.

Like computer science, IT is a vast field with many career options after graduation. Although some higher-paid IT professionals have a master’s degree and above, there are good jobs for IT graduates who have specialized in these careers. 

Information Technology Consultant 

IT consultants help a company’s employees clearly understand how IT can help the business grow. They provide technical advice and bridge the gap between the IT team and the rest of the company.

Technical Support Specialist 

They educate customers on recent technological trends and help them with hardware and software issues. To hold this entry-level position, you ought to have a basic knowledge of technology. 

Network Engineer 

Network engineers are responsible for managing a company’s network and computer infrastructure to guarantee online productivity. 

Computer Network Architect 

Computer network architects are responsible for designing different types of data communication systems. They also build a Local area network (LAN), intranet, and a Wide area network (WAN). 

IT Project Manager

They develop and implement a company’s technological goals. 

IT professionals often work in business settings as a team with different functions. They can also work directly with clients in multiple capacities. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Maintain technical competence 
  • Keep private information safe from threats. 
  • Install and update improvements on network systems 
  • Set up equipment for colleagues and educate them on how to use the equipment 
  • Troubleshoot for system errors  
  • Provide technical support either online, offline, or in-person
  • Optimize systems for all technological resources.
  • Backup data and save all the company’s information.
  • Monitor WAN, LAN, Wi-Fi, and servers to guarantee full coverage 
  • Install and organize (configure) wireless networking equipment 
  • Help with the design and support of new software.
  • Maintain hardware, software, and IT equipment 

Information Technology Vs Computer Science: Which Degree Is Right For You?

Choosing between an IT degree vs computer science is a bit challenging for many reasons. One of which is that most pre-college students cannot distinguish between a bachelor of science in information technology vs computer science. However, the best way to know the most suitable degree for you is to pick the one you find more intriguing. Therefore, you shouldn’t pursue a degree in either IT or Computer Science based on what others have told you, but based on what you are inspired to do. 

If you have a deep love for installing computer systems, maintaining networks and databases, and using software, then a degree in Information Technology is your best bet. However, if mathematics, physics, and software design have held you spellbound, then you should seriously consider a degree in Computer Science.

Aside from your love for IT or computer science, there are a few other points you should consider when deciding which degree is right for you. 

There are various areas of study embedded within computer science. Some of which are: 

  • Computer systems and networks
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Software engineering
  • Numerical analysis
  • Database systems
  • Theory of Computing
  • Programming languages
  • Bioinformatics
  • Vision and graphics
  • Security

Pros of getting a Computer Science degree

  • They Are In High Demand 

The number of computer science professionals in the field is far less than the number needed. Therefore, employers are doing everything they can to find computer science professionals to fill computing positions. 

  • Exposes You To High Paying Jobs 

Studying computer science will give you an advantage over your peers. The jobs in this field are high-paying and highly flexible. Furthermore, computer science offers the flexibility of location, and work hours are feasible. 

  • Equips You With Valuable Skills 

Computer science majors study and learn a wide range of skills while in school. These skills cut across various professions allowing graduates to work in a wide range of occupations. 

  • You’ll Be Part Of The New Era

The world is witnessing a more-than-average rise in the number of computer science jobs with each passing day. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, a computer science degree is still valuable. 

Cons Of Getting A Computer Science Degree  

  • Insufficient Space 

Computer science is becoming more popular, and more students are choosing it as their major. On the one hand, this is good because it’ll increase the number of professionals in the job market. On the other hand, it means less classroom space because they cannot contain the number of students trooping in. Therefore, computer science majors have difficulty finding sitting space in a class. 

  • High Cost To Get The Degree

Getting a computer science degree through the traditional 4-year college program is quite challenging. Most students cannot afford the daunting fees. Some of them study other programs, while others follow online computer science programs like boot camps to succeed. However, some companies and institutions will require a valid bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before giving you a job. Nonetheless, private individuals and some business owners may employ you because of your skills. 

  • Stresses On Theory 

Computer science is rooted in countless concepts and theories. It isn’t favorable for students who prefer abstract thinking over understanding computer science theories. 

  • It Focuses On Maths And Technology

Computer science is deeply rooted in maths and technology. If any of these make you depressed, you shouldn’t pursue computer science because you may eventually quit. It’s better to pursue a degree in a field you love.

  • Work Under Pressure 

Employers are continually expecting new technology or upgrades to already existing technology. You may be under pressure to do work you have no business doing because nobody else can. The pressure to meet up these expectations is high and daunting. 

  • The Need For New Knowledge 

Computer science professionals are always on the lookout for information. They spend time scouring related websites searching for improvements in their sector to stay updated.

The first two years of a bachelor’s degree program in Information Technology are fundamental. Within that time, students learn the basics of IT to prepare them for the last two years of more advanced and intensive aspects of IT. This list comprises some general IT courses. 

  • Operating systems
  • Computer architecture and organization 
  • Object-oriented programming 
  • Java programming and website design
  • Data warehousing and data mining 
  • E-commerce and ERP
  • Software engineering 

Pros Of Getting an IT Degree

  • Multiple Career Choices 

An IT degree provides multiple career choices for graduates who majored in Information technology. They have the opportunity to choose what industry they want to work in and its location. If they aren’t satisfied with a career’s pay package, they can easily switch to the next. 

  • Expands Your Knowledge 

Information technology requires that majors study hard on diverse topics to excel. It keeps your mind active and expands your knowledge. Also, it helps you focus on your studies. 

  • Information Technology Is A Lucrative Sector

After graduation, you can effortlessly get an entry-level job with good pay. You will not face the hassle of the job market or collect peanuts as a starting salary. Employers are willing to pay IT professionals through their noses to work in their companies because they are limited in number. 

  • Improve Your Skills 

IT professionals have to read new information and follow all technological trends to modernize their skills. 

  • Creates A Positive Impact 

There is already so much going wrong in today’s world with narcissists roaming the streets and self-righteous people surfing the internet. You can impact the lives of so many people with your IT degree. Seeking ways to improve communication between humans is one such way. Another way is to assist clients with their worries because one act of kindness sparks another. 

Cons Of Getting An IT Degree

  • Health Problems 

IT specialists suffer from a variety of health problems such as backache, shoulder pain, and headaches. Eye problems are the most ailments IT specialists face. The cause of these eye problems is the blue light that computer screens emit.

  • Long Working Hours 

Despite having the laxity to choose your work hours, you will work longer hours than average workers in other fields. At some point, you will realize that you need to put in long hours of work to get better pay. 

  • Dishonest Clients 

Some people are plain dishonest for the silliest reasons. You will meet this type of people at different times while working as an IT specialist. They will rather lie to you about what happened to their appliance and make you troubleshoot for hours than be honest and save your time. The best way to handle such people is to learn coping techniques. 

Is Information Technology Easier Than Computer Science?

After going through all the literature under the previous sub-headings, you may have realized that pitching computer science vs information technology isn’t a big deal. Both have hectic academic schedules and require that students become “nerds” to acquire a bachelor’s degree. But some people still think Information technology is more effortless than Computer science because it has a lighter course load. Others presume so because computer science requires advanced programming and in-depth knowledge of maths. Both disciplines are tedious and time-consuming.  

Nonetheless, a person can consider one discipline easier than the other based on their level of understanding. For example, a math genius may have difficulties understanding IT but will say computer science is a piece of cake. Similarly, a student who loves maintaining software applications and has no love for math may say computer science is a curse. Neither of them is wrong, but we cannot base our decision on their personal views of CS vs IT.

Final Verdict

Computer Science and Information Technology are excellent fields of study. Both offer graduates a wide range of career choices and the freedom to make distinct choices. Take out time to evaluate your decision on which career path to choose because it is the start of the rest of your life. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses is a good start. 

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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