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What is Computer Science? Why Does it Matter?

Computing and computer technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. For instance, we can work, shop, and play at the click of a button, because computer science has made it possible. So what is computer science? Why is it important? And is it a promising career? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow by 15% between 2021 and 2031. That makes it even more important for you to understand ‘what is computer science’ so that you can decide whether you want to pursue a career in that field. 

What is Computer Science?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just about programming. According to Britannica.com, computer science studies computers and computing, including their theoretical and algorithmic foundations, hardware and software, and their uses for processing information, with a particular focus on software and software development.

The primary study areas include network, database, artificial intelligence, software engineering, human-computer interaction, programming, vision and graphics, and computer theory. As a computer scientist, you can pursue a career in various roles, such as software developer, data scientist, computer systems and network manager, systems analyst, and machine learning expert.

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Why is Computer Science Important?

It has played a significant role in today’s digital era. Technology has not only impacted every aspect of personal lives but also revolutionized industries such as communication, scientific research, education, healthcare, commerce, and entertainment, among others. It has brought knowledge to your fingertips and connected you to the world. 

Brief History of Computer Science

People have used mechanical devices for thousands of years. One of the earliest tools for use in computation was the abacus, developed in the period between 2700–2300 BCE. The Antikythera mechanism, which people used to calculate astronomical positions, was created in 1901 and is believed to be the earliest mechanical analog computer. In the 1930s, after the British mathematician Alan Turing’s work on the first abstract digital computer, Turing machines became the foundation of all modern computers. Furthermore, the concept of the stored-program computer is credited to Hungarian American mathematician John von Neumann. 

Computer science emerged as a discipline in the early 1960s. The numerical analyst George Forsythe coined the term. Today, the advances have progressed into machine learning, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality and continue to grow every day. 

Computer Science Disciplines

Programming languages

These are used to develop software programs, scripts, or sets of instructions for a computer to execute. Click here to learn more about coding languages

Artificial Intelligence

This refers to machines programmed to mimic human intelligence to perform tasks efficiently. Artificial intelligence is being applied in almost every industry and seems to have limitless potential. 

Data Structure and Algorithms

Data structuring is a method of storing and organizing data in a virtual system. The algorithm is a collection of steps a computer executes to perform tasks. Collectively, data structure and algorithms help in creating and optimizing computer programs. 

Computer Network

This is a connection of multiple devices using various paths to send and receive data.

Graphics and Visual Computing

This focuses on the creation of pictures with the help of a computer.

Software Engineering

This focuses on the design, development, testing, and maintenance of a software application. 

Is Computer Science a Good Career?

It is a highly lucrative and in-demand field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of a technology professional in the US is $109,020, and the jobs in this field will likely grow by 25% from 2021 to 2031, making it one of the most coveted fields. 

Additionally, according to the NACE salary survey 2021, the average salary projection for graduates was $72,173, a climb of 7.1% in just one year. A career in this field can lead you to a wide range of roles and open doors to some of the highest-paying jobs in the world. 

Do you want to pursue a career in this field but aren’t sure where to begin? Let Emeritus guide you with its range of online computer science courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Computer Science Only Coding?

Although coding is an essential part of computer science study, it is just one part of the diverse field. 

What is The Difference Between Computer Science and Information Technology?

While computer science deals with designing and building computers and software, information technology deals with software applications. 

What are the Important Subjects?

The primary subjects are computer networks, software engineering, data structure, artificial intelligence, mathematics, physics, computer programming, theory of computing, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and database systems. 

Is Computer Science Hard?

It is a demanding discipline, but if you have an aptitude for mathematics, and science, love problem-solving, and technology, along with determination, it is worth a shot. 

What is a Computer Science Degree Worth?

It is a highly coveted field. A degree can lead you to a wide variety of jobs in many industries and is one of the highest-paying jobs in the world. 

Now that you have the answer to the question ‘what is computer science’, you are better placed to know if you want to pursue this field and, importantly if you can stay motivated and passionate about it. If the answer is yes, then start exploring Emeritus’ online computer science courses now.

By Krati Joshi

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

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