When asked what they are good at, most people quickly answer that they are good at math, but few people are actually aware of what computer science is all about. Computers have played a critical role in society and we use them every day. Computers help us organize, communicate, store and retrieve vast amounts of data and operate a great number of processes. We use computers to plan our businesses, make purchases, gather and compare data, check stock and manage our financial portfolio. Most people would agree that computers are an essential part of our lives. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that many computer science classes teach students how to program computers.
Computer science is the study of how algorithmic processes, computations and software themselves work. As a subject, computer science covers a broad range of areas from very theoretical studies of algorithm, combinatorics and information to the more practical matters of implementing algorithms in software and hardware. Unlike many other fields, few colleges offer specialized computer courses. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science need to complete a four-year degree from an accredited university. All students who major in computer engineering must take a course with a programming component.
As one of the few majors that requires no prior background in science, computer science majors typically have a natural interest in math and science. Most computer science courses revolve around problems in those fields. For instance, students in this field to learn the mathematical formulas required to simulate complex algorithms. Those who participate in these courses also gain valuable experience in a programming language, object-oriented programming and numerical methodology.
Computer science programs also usually provide students the opportunity to develop computer programs from scratch. Students have the option of developing small, self-contained programs or larger, integrated systems that integrate hardware and software into an elaborate design. These systems are tested using real-world applications. Those who successfully complete the course work and pass the tests to earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree.
Another popular concentration area within computer science is information technology. The field covers a wide range of technological applications, such as network protocols, desktop machines, desktop software, multimedia systems, web and network security. Those interested in obtaining degrees in this discipline can expect to cover topics such as protocols, security protocols, software verification methods, distributed computing and digital networks. Earning a degree in IT will allow graduates to seek careers in business, government, education and the technology industry.
Science majors that focus on biological science also offer a strong background in biology. Students can specialize in such areas as microbial, neurological, and reproductive biology. Biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of biological science, and many graduate degrees are dedicated to providing students with knowledge and skills to protect the environment.