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While they are a bit similar, there is a distinct difference between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree. Both of these degrees are great for people who are tech-savvy and enjoy working with computers, but learning the difference between them will help aspiring students decide which degree is best for their career goals. Read on to find out exactly how these two degrees differ.

Main Areas of Focus

Although subtle, the main difference between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree involves their main areas of focus. Computer science examines how computers and computer systems work. Students who choose to complete a computer science program will focus on computer engineering and design. Computer information systems, on the other hand, examines how computer systems can be used in businesses and at home. Students who choose to complete a computer information systems program will focus on how computers process, store, and transform data.

Topics of Study

Another difference between computer science and computer information systems degrees involves the typical topics of study in each program. Students who enroll in computer science programs will study such topics as computer architecture, database design, coding, computer operating systems, and computer networking. They will also need to complete coursework in physics, electrical engineering, and mathematics.

Students who enroll in computer information systems programs will study a variety of topics including data processing, data management, programming applications, IT project management, web technologies, and web design. Other courses that are often required to complete this degree include business communications, virtualization, coding, language-specific programming, and ethical hacking.

Possible Careers

The possible careers that graduates will be eligible for after graduation is yet another difference between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree. A computer science degree can be applied to many different careers including web developers, computer programmers, cybersecurity professionals, software development experts, computer support specialists, and computer systems analysts.

Students who have earned a computer information systems degree will also qualify for many different occupations. Just a sample of the careers available to these grads include database administrators, IT project managers, computer systems analysts, business application developers, computer interaction specialists, chief information officers, and network administrators.

Expected Salary

The salary that computer science and computer information systems grads can expect after graduation is often another difference between these two degrees. But it is important to note that the salary that grads may receive will depend on many factors including the career path they choose. For example, while the average salary for a computer science grad who chose to obtain a position as a computer programmer was $84,280 in 2018 according to the United States Department of Labor, the average salary of a computer science grad who chose to obtain a position as a web developer was $69,430 during the same year.

The average salary for a computer information systems grad who chose to work as a computer information systems manager was $142,530 in 2018 while those who chose to work as database administrators earned $90,070 during the same year. These are just a few examples of the differences graduates can expect in salaries for computer science and computer information systems careers. Salaries for other careers in these fields can be found on the United States Department of Labor website.

People who are tech-savvy and enjoy working with computers may want to consider a career in computer science or computer information systems. To determine which career would be the best fit, it is important to learn the differences between these two degrees. There are several differences between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree including the main differences discussed above.

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