If you ever thought about getting a computer-related (graduated) education, you probably came across a variety of similar disciplines, more or less connected to each other, but grouped under two major fields of study: Computer Science (CS)and Information Technology (IT). The latest one sometimes comes in a broader meaning - Information Communications Technology (ICT), and Computer Science, in turn, is highly linked to Electrical Engineering. But what exactly makes them all different?
Briefly, Computer Science creates computer software technologies, Electrical Engineering creates hardware to run this software in an efficient way, while Information Technology uses them later to create Information Systems for storing, processing and transmitting data.
CS is a study of using computation and computer systems for solving real-world problems. Dealing mostly with software, the study includes the theory of computation and computer architecture, design, development, and application of software systems. The most common problems are organized in groups in particular areas, such as Distributed Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Programming Languages and Compilers, Algorithms and Data Structures, etc. Summarizing, CS mainly focuses on finding answers to the following questions (by John DeNero, cs61a):
- which real-world problems can be solved using computation
- how to solve these problems
- how to solve them efficiently
The fact that CS is all about software, makes it tightly coupled to Electrical Engineering that deals with hardware and focuses on designing computer systems and electronic devices for running software in the most efficient way.
Unlike CS, IT is a study of using computers to design, build, and operate Information Systems which are used for storing and processing information (data). ICT extends by applying telecommunications for receiving and transmitting data. It is crucial to notice, that IT apply existing technologies (e.g. hardware, operating systems, systems software, middleware applications, databases, networks) for creating Information Systems. Hence, IT professionals are users of technologies and utilize existing solutions (hardware and software) to create larger systems for solving specific business problems.