If you’re passionate about programming, you know that it can be an incredibly fulfilling profession. However, becoming a programmer doesn’t mean limiting yourself to just software development. Computer science has many different fields, from hardware engineering to data analysis, and all of them play an essential role in computer technology as a whole. This post about the different fields of computer science will give you an overview of what’s out there to help you choose the one that suits your personality best.
Introduction to Computer Science
Taking a Computer Science major in college means you’ll need to learn how to build a computer from scratch. If you’re lucky, you can even get to code. At any rate, learning about different fields within CS (Computer Science) is one way to keep you engaged as an undergraduate student.
Most universities will have an intro-level course for those interested in majoring in CS. Still, you can see how other disciplines branch out into computer science by exploring beyond that. If nothing else, it will give you great conversation starters during your first few weeks on the campus.
Whenever you graduate and start applying for jobs, having knowledge of multiple areas within CS will make you more valuable as a candidate. This doesn’t mean that you should double major or minor—just know what skills employers are looking for when interviewing candidates.
For example, if you know that certain companies value soft skills over hard skills (e.g., being able to write clean code), then tailor your resume accordingly. Alternatively, if most companies look at job candidates with experience in C++ versus Java (even though both languages are similar), then brush up on C++ before applying.
How Computer Science Relates to Other Disciplines
So, computer science is a massive field encompassing many other disciplines. To gain a more thorough understanding of computer science, let’s look at how it relates to its close neighbors.
Computer Science and Art
Computer scientists and artists have one big thing in common: they both like to push boundaries. For instance, your brain constantly tries to predict what will happen next when you read a sentence or see an image.
That phenomenon is called semantic satiation and can be applied to paint strokes and words, which is why repeating colors will ultimately make them seem different from their originals. The takeaway? Artists and computer scientists alike are interested in pushing forward into new territory, whether it’s by creating new algorithms or breaking down our perception of reality.
Computer Science and Math
Both fields rely on logic and reasoning to solve problems. If something doesn’t add up, neither does your solution (or answer). Both fields require many problem-solving skills since there isn’t always a clear path towards success (even if you’ve got all the facts).
Finally, both fields encourage collaboration among peers—after all, nobody knows everything!
Computer Science and Physics
Loads of things happen behind the scenes on any given webpage. Most people don’t even realize how much work keeps those pages running smoothly. From sending information back and forth between users to storing data in databases, engineers need a firm grasp of physics to build websites effectively.
After all, computers need the power to process information quickly and efficiently. While we don’t recommend studying physics for fun (unless you love roller coasters), learning about these concepts could give you an edge in engineering circles because everyone likes someone who can explain complex topics.
Computer Science and Psychology
When people say computer scientist, most think of a nerd sitting alone coding for hours. But really, computer scientists are just human beings who enjoy solving problems using technology. Since humans are complicated, psychology plays a massive role in developing user interfaces.
Most people don’t want to learn how to use software; they want to learn how to use the software easily. Because of that, computer scientists spend lots of time studying psychology and figuring out ways to get around it.
Different Fields of Computer Science
While cloud computing is still new to most people, it’s already well established in other fields. If you are considering a career in computer science, knowing what it is can help you decide whether it’s something you want to get into. Cloud computing allows companies to store files, documents, programs, and data on servers they don’t own or maintain.
Typically these services are rented on a subscription basis. This means clients use the software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) systems that access shared resources through virtual networks rather than individual computers or hard drives.
An excellent way to learn about programming is by playing with free development tools such as Code Academy. You can build a great portfolio that showcases your skills and potentially land an interview before applying for jobs.
Many companies are actively looking for workers in IT roles. However, be aware that competition will likely be fierce due to high demand from companies trying to stay ahead of technology trends.
The field of computer robotics is a burgeoning one, with advanced technology becoming more and more accessible to those who want to get in on it. It’s expected that robots will become increasingly used in our everyday lives over time, meaning that programmers who have a love for both coding and robotics will be in high demand.
The hardest part is getting your foot in the door; as with most things in life, you can take many different routes when breaking into a growing field.
As always, Google is your friend when researching all kinds of fields within computer science! If you feel like something isn’t covered here or if you’d like more information about any of these areas, we encourage you to use whatever resources are available to help get started.
Security is an integral part of any field; it allows you to breathe easily and know that your work will be protected from outside threats. To become a network security specialist, your schooling will focus on keeping computer networks safe from attacks.
You’ll learn how to keep hackers out, how malware works, why people do stupid things with their computers, and all about digital forensics, the science behind gathering information after a crime has occurred (hacking or otherwise).
No matter what you do in network security (law enforcement or corporate), it will help your career know about these different topics at your fingertips.
Engineering vs. Computer Programming
In today’s digital economy, software engineering is a hot field. It means to be a software engineer varies by company and project, but there are several commonalities. While computer programming is an integral part of what engineers do, they also need to design their own programs and ensure they meet quality standards.
The end product might be as simple as a button on your phone screen or as complex as your car’s operating system. Overall, becoming a software engineer requires more education than computer programming, usually an associate’s degree or two years’ worth of coursework at a community college plus four years at university for a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
If you desire to become a programmer, you can start with just high school algebra and computer languages courses.
Both jobs require strong problem-solving skills and attention to detail. To advance in either career path, knowledge of different programming languages is essential.
Software engineers must know at least one high-level language like C++ or Java. In contrast, programmers often learn one or more low-level languages like C or assembly language to control every aspect of running a program. Both types of programmers must have excellent oral and written communication skills because much of their work involves explaining technical details to non-technical people.
What is Information Technology?
Information technology is a broad term that encompasses several fields, including computer science, software development, hardware engineering, networking, database management, and security.
A professional in information technology may specialize in one or more of these fields; some work with large-scale IT initiatives while others create tools to support individual users’ daily tasks.
Some may even develop games or entertainment software! Whichever field they choose to focus on, it’s worth noting that IT spans many other disciplines beyond computer science. IT professionals know how computers functions both inside and out.
Regardless of what you ultimately do as an IT professional, you’ll need to understand how computers work.
How to Become a Programmer
Becoming a programmer isn’t easy. It’s a skill that develops over time as you explore its many facets. The first thing anyone interested in programming should do is try to learn some coding. Codecademy is an easy way to get started.