Computer Science vs. Information Technology: Which Degree is Right for You?

Posted February 11, 2015 | By csponline

Computer Science vs Information Technology

If you’re looking for a career in a growing industry and with lucrative salaries, working in the technology industry is a good solution. As technology becomes increasingly critical in all aspects of our life, the need for professionals to manage this field is rising. And a degree is becoming required to gain entry into the field. But when choosing a program, understanding the difference between computer science vs. information technology will help you understand which online degree will get you the career you want.

In both computer science and information technology, you’ll work closely with technology and develop solutions for all types of users, but the skills you need on the job are far from interchangeable. Discover what you’ll learn in each type of degree, as well as what kind of career outcomes you can expect. Concordia University, St. Paul offers online degrees in both computer science and information technology, so once you choose your program, you can learn in a flexible, affordable, convenient format.

Computer Science

Concordia’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program will teach you to analyze tech problems and design solutions. In this program, you’ll develop facility with key computer skills, including:

  • Web design
  • User experience
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Security considerations
  • Core web technologies

You will also study topics designed for the modern workplace, including database management, system design and distributed architecture.

Course Highlights

The curriculum for Concordia’s online computer science program includes a core of 55 credit hours. You’ll take courses in many different topic areas, but the following are examples of what you’ll study:

  • Modern Web Design: This course covers the fundamentals of Web design, using current methods of development across platforms. It includes concepts related to user interface and accessibility.
  • Server-Side Development: This course provides an overview of concepts and skills used to maintain a server, including HTTP and database methods. It includes basic database design techniques, with an introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL) and security considerations.
  • Computer Architecture and Operating Systems: This course is designed as an introduction to the functional components of computer systems, including their hardware implementation and management at different levels, and their interaction, characteristics, and performance. The course also covers practical implications for computer programming.
  • Language Design and Implementation: The course provides a comparative survey of programming language paradigms. It includes an overview of the properties, applications, syntax, and semantics of selected object-oriented, functional, comparative, and declarative programming languages.

Career Outcomes

After completing your computer science degree at Concordia, you will be able to analyze problems and identify computing requirement solutions. Using current techniques, skills and tools, you will also have a firm understanding of design decisions and their impact on software development. You’ll understand data structures and use Agile techniques in the software development process.

The online bachelor’s program in computer science will prepare you for a variety of careers in the technology industry, such as:

  • Web designer
  • Software programmer
  • Mobile application developer
  • Database designer

Employment outlook is strong for computer science graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and mathematical occupations is projected to grow 18 percent through the year 2022. The median annual salary for this category is $82,101, making it a great field for prospective students like you.

Information Technology

Another online tech degree option at Concordia is the Bachelor of Arts in Information and Technology Management. It combines technical and business coursework, teaching you to seek tech solutions from a strategic business perspective.

Course Highlights

The IT curriculum includes 42 credit hours and features a combination of business and technical courses. You will complete coursework such as the following:

  • Business Strategy and Tech Innovation: In this course, you’ll examine strategies that businesses use to be competitive in the marketplace. Through a combination of individual and team-based work, you will determine how tactical strategies for technology support business strategy and drive innovation.
  • Business Driven Information Systems and Security: This course teaches you to analyze how information systems are designed to interact with people and carry out business strategy. It includes a study of enterprise-wide applications, coupled with a discussion of the infrastructure necessary to support these applications. Implications for security and privacy are key threads discussed throughout the module. Topics include business continuity and disaster recovery, virtualization, and the effects of compliance on infrastructure development.
  • Data Management for Intelligent Businesses: In this course, you’ll use business strategy and data-based applications as a foundation for making intelligent business decisions. Your study will utilize a database tool to create a prototype for output that meets real-life business outcomes. You’ll work individually and in teams to learn the normalization process, minimizing the potential for losing customers through redundant, inaccurate data. Students also study SQL, data warehouse team building, de-normalization and data mining for faster access to operational and strategic information leading to a potential competitive advantage.

Career Outcomes

After completing the IT program, you will be prepared for careers that blend business strategy with the deployment of technology. You’ll have strong technical and managerial skills that can be applied to career paths such as the following:

  • Operations manager
  • IT strategist
  • Product manager
  • Systems integrator
  • Computer support specialist

As is the case with computer science, the IT industry is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17 percent growth rate through 2022. The median annual salary for IT specialists is about $49,000 per year.

Your Tech Career Starts at Concordia

No matter which degree you choose, you can get on track to the career you want at Concordia. Our online computer science and IT programs are designed for today’s job market. With high starting salaries and plenty of growth potential, either of these tech-based degrees will give you an education you can leverage for success. And because our programs are fully online, you can study when and where you want, without sacrificing work or personal commitments. Learn more about these programs today to get started.