Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science Online DegreesThese days there are almost TOO many choices for online Computer Science and IT degrees. Which tech-savvy degree should you choose? What’s the difference between a Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science major? IS there really any difference? If so, which one is best for which career paths? The question you find yourself most drawn to is a clue to which type of online degree you’d prefer when it comes to Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science. Many of the online IT degrees offered today are related to Computer Science, Information Technology or Computer Information Systems. Each major shares much in common, but each also tends to focus on answering slightly different questions. These approaches translate, in turn, into different career paths.

Computer Science (Why does the technology work?)

The Lowdown: Computer Science focuses on teaching programming and computing. It is meant to give professionals foundational skills that can be applied towards any career in coding. It also provides an in-depth overview of how computer operating systems work. Why You Might Like It: Computer Science is primarily about sharpening your programming abilities. You don’t just learn how to write code, but in the lesson plans for many online IT degrees you also learn why the code works on your computer the way it does. Why You Might Not: A Computer Science major often focuses on programming and the underlying algorithms that make code work. As such, a fair amount of *gasp* math is involved (ex. Calculus, Discrete Mathematics, etc.). This degree major is especially math heavy at the undergraduate level. Some see all that math as a plus, but many do not.  Also, due to the programming focus, other subjects that may be of interest (ex. security, networking, etc.) are often only touched upon lightly in a pure Computer Science degree program.

Information Systems (What technology would work best?)

The Lowdown: Information Systems as a major is tricky. This area is often known as Information Systems (IS), Computer Information Systems (CIS), Business Information Systems (BIS), and Management Information Systems (MIS). These online degrees cover the same topics as “IT” degrees, but each has a more business-related focus. Instead of learning just how technology works, IS students also learn to ask what type of technology should be used to solve a business problem. Why You Might Like It: Where Computer Science goes deep into programming, IS degrees go broad and cover the “big picture”.  Since people are part of many “systems”, these degrees often include business courses like project management or managerial communications.

Handlos, David J. "Computer Information Vs Computer Science." (n.d.): n. pag. 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.