Determining the type of degree to pursue can be challenging. From researching program offerings to career attainability and salary, things can get intimidating. This article focuses on whether you should get a degree in computer networking or computer science. First, let’s define the two.
What Is Computer Networking?
Did you know that the first computer network was developed in the late 1960s? A computer network is two or more computer systems that are linked together. Computer networking is how computers and devices can share resources and exchange data with each other. It is primarily focused on how computing devices communicate with one another.
Computing devices can include but are not limited to tablets, smartphones, laptops, desktops, servers, and new digital devices like doorbells and refrigerators. In a computer network, there is a system that connects individual devices so that data can be shared.
What Is Computer Science?
The study of computers and systems is computer science. Software and software systems are the primary focus of computer science. There is an emphasis placed on design, development, application, and the theory of software systems in computer science. Computer science includes studying the internet, networking, hardware, and software. Another aspect of computer science is looking at how humans interact with technology and the use of algorithms.
What Is the Difference Between Computer Networking and Computer Science?
Now that we have a better understanding of the two terms, let’s look at the difference between computer networking and computer science. Computer science focuses on software and theory. Computer scientists want to determine the things a computing system can accomplish.
If you major in computer science, you will look more at the theoretical side. Computer networking solves problems in hardware at the hardware-software interface. Computer science focuses on the design and development of programs and software systems. Computer networking infuses electrical engineering with computer science.
The job duties of a computer scientist are to help design and implement computer systems. They measure the effectiveness and processes of computer programs. Computer scientists use mathematics and algorithms to design computer programs. Not only do computer scientists solve problems, but they also write and program software. They can develop websites and create software for mobile devices. One of the main jobs of computer scientists is to develop mathematical models that help with human and computer interaction.
A computer networker can be responsible for installing and maintaining computer networks and environments. If you obtain a degree in computer networking, part of your job is to assist with installing computer hardware and software, updating operating systems, and maintaining office computer networks. One of the main roles of someone in computer networking is to support customers who experience computer-related problems. This means troubleshooting both hardware and software issues.
Fields in Computer Science and Networking
There are many opportunities in computer science. With a computer science degree, you can specialize in the following fields:
- Game design
- Programming languages
- Data science
- Web development
- UX design
- Systems architecture
- AI engineering
- Software development
- Computer graphics
There are also several areas that you can focus on within the greater field of computer networking. With a networking degree, you can pursue a career as a/n:
- Network and computer system administrator
- Computer systems analyst
- Computer network architect
- Network solutions architect
- Wireless network engineer
- Information systems manager
Computer Networking or Computer Science?
Do you want to primarily focus on computer software and develop computer programs? Are you interested more in the theory of how computers work? If so, then maybe a computer science degree is what you are looking for. If you want to focus more on the computer hardware side and develop and maintain computer networks, a computer networking degree may be for you. Regardless of what field you pursue, you can have a rewarding career after completing a degree program in one of these areas.
Fort Hays State University