Computer Science vs. Computer Information Systems: Which major is right for you?

As someone who’s interested in a career within the field of technology, you know pursuing a computer-related degree is the right choice for you. And perhaps you’ve narrowed it down to either computer science or computer information systems, but you may struggle to differentiate between the two.

However, there are some major differences to consider between the two fields – and we’re here to help you determine which path is best for you.

At the highest level, computer science can be viewed as a more theory-approached degree, while a computer information systems degree is more practical and taught in the context of business.

Davenport University offers programs in computer science and computer information systems, both of which are housed in Davenport’s College of Technology, one of only a select number of Michigan schools designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

So, the question becomes, which degree will you pursue? Let’s dive in.

What is computer science?

If you’re interested in creating software or applications – and if you’d describe yourself as math-minded – then computer science is the field for you.

A degree in computer science will give you the skills you need to pursue a career in coding or computer programming, and you’ll also learn the theory behind the processes involved in making computer programs and applications.

Students pursuing Davenport’s bachelor’s degree in computer science study relevant topics including database design, intro to programming, and data communications and networks.

The program also offers three different specialties you can choose from:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Computer theory and algorithms
  • Gaming and simulation

If you choose to study computer science, you can expect to gain a more in-depth view of the design of computers and computational processes. You’ll learn about the algorithms that make codes work, and you’ll also think analytically as you spend time modeling and analyzing problems.

Computer science graduates have a plethora of potential career paths and may go on to become any of the following:

  • Software developer: Designs computer applications or programs.
  • Database administrator: Uses software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records.
  • Computer network architect: Designs and builds data communication networks.
  • Information security analyst: Plans and carries out security measures to protect an organization’s computer network and systems.

What is computer information systems?

If you’re more interested in applying technology to manage the needs of a business, consider a degree in computer information systems. With this degree, you’ll learn how to work with IT systems to solve operational issues.

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems at Davenport can choose from four different specialties to focus on:

  • Database and data analytics
  • Programming
  • Secure software development
  • Web and mobile development

You’ll even get to take a course on object-oriented programming, which is a specialty that makes Davenport’s program a top-ranked computer programming degree. There’s also a mobile course where you’ll design, develop, test, and deploy a mobile application.

For students with a degree in computer information systems, job opportunities are plentiful. Below are some of the common career opportunities that students may want to consider:

  • Programmer analyst: Writes, codes, tests and analyzes software programs and applications.
  • Systems administrator: Organizes, installs and supports an organization’s computer systems.
  • Computer technician: Oversees the operations of an organization’s IT network, operating systems, hardware, and software.
  • Technical support specialist: Installs, modifies and makes minor repairs to computer hardware and software systems.

The Davenport difference

Ultimately, whichever major you choose, you can rest assured knowing you’ll receive a first-class education from Davenport.

Students in either the computer science or computer information systems program have access to scholarships and could be guaranteed jobs through the National Science Foundation or Department of Defense Cybersecurity initiatives, including the Scholarship for Service ProgramCybersecurity Scholarship Program and the S-STEM Scholarship Program.

Students have the flexibility to take courses in-person or online through Davenport’s Global Campus — both of which provide access to state-of-the-art software and equipment.

Graduates of both these programs stand out to future employers as they gain proficiency in high-demand programming languages such as Java, C++ and C#.

Both programs are led by faculty who bring exceptional field expertise to the classroom and enable students to learn through hands-on opportunities, ranging from internships to capstone projects.

As an added bonus, graduates of both Davenport’s computer science and computer information systems programs qualify for the university’s 100% Employment Guarantee, which offers students additional educational benefits if they are unable to obtain employment within six months of graduation.

Next steps

There’s no better time to pursue a career in the growing field of technology than now. Prepare for an in-demand, fast-paced career in technology by applying to Davenport today. 

Click here to learn more about Davenport’s College of Technology.

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