Computer Science

FAQs

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science is the study of all things related to computation or automated problem-solving, specifically it is concerned with:

  • Understanding what computers can do and what they cannot do
  • Developing algorithms for specific tasks
  • Understanding the properties of algorithms
  • Determining how information is described and manipulated
  • Developing ways that people and computers interact
     

Aren't the Computer Science jobs all going overseas?

Absolutely not!  In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will twice as many new U.S. jobs in software engineering as in the rest of engineering combined.  In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasted that job opportunities for Computer Science professionals will increase 11% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average.

How much do Computer Scientists earn?

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that computer scientists earned a mean annual wage of approximately $115,580.

Doesn't Computer Science just focus on programming?

Although knowing how to program is essential to the study of Computer Science, it is only one element of the field. Computer scientists design and analyze algorithms to solve programs and study the performance of computer hardware and software. The problems that computer scientists encounter range from the abstract-- determining what problems can be solved with computers and the complexity of the algorithms that solve them – to the tangible – designing systems that perform well on handheld devices, that are easy to use, and that uphold security measures.  Aside from programming skills, computer scientists are knowledgeable in:

  • Algorithm analysis
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Computer architecture
  • Computer security
  • Database systems
  • Gaming
  • Graphics
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Information systems
  • Networks
  • Operating systems
  • Robotics
  • Software engineering

Our Computer Science Program offers courses in each of these areas (and more).

What jobs are available for someone with a degree in Computer Science?

Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of a few of the possible careers for Computer Science degree holders (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Position

Projected growth (2012-2022)

Median Salary (2014)

Software Applications Developer

  • Design or computer applications software
  • Modify existing software to optimize operational efficiency or correct errors
  • Evaluate software requirements and user needs to determine software feasibility

 

22 % or higher

 

$95,510

Computer Systems Analyst

  • Analyze data processing problems to improve computer systems
  • Develop and test system design procedures
  • Enhance system compatibility so information can be shared easily

 

22 % or higher

 

$82,710

Computer Systems Engineer

  • Develop solutions to complex applications problems and other network concerns
  • Provide technical guidance for troubleshooting computer systems
  • Confirm stability and security of system architecture

 

3 to 7%

 

$83,410

Network Systems Administrator

  • Install and support an organization’s network system
  • Examine website functions to ensure performance without interruption
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations

 

8 - 14%

 

$75,790

Database administrator

  • Test and administer computer databases
  • Coordinate changes and correct errors to computer databases
  • Apply security measures to safeguard information

 

15 – 21%

 

$80,280

Web Developer

  • Write, design or edit web page content, or direct others producing content
  • Identify and correct problems uncovered by testing or user feedback
  • Back up website files for immediate recovery in case of problems

 

15 – 21%

 

$83,410

 

How is Computer Science different from Computer Engineering?

Computer engineers tend to focus on the hardware aspects of computing---those "below" a computer's operating system, including digital logic, circuits and gates, building the physical devices to perform or support computation, and so on.

Computer scientists tend to focus on software aspects of computing -- the skills, concepts, techniques, and theories used to build computing systems, from the software applications a person uses.

Computer scientists learn just enough about hardware to design software intelligently; computer engineers learn just enough about software to design hardware intelligently.

To make this a bit more concrete, consider a tablet computer like the iPad. The tablet that you hold in your hand was mostly likely designed by computer engineers.  The operating system (iOS) and the multitude of apps that you can download from the App Store were most likely designed by computer scientists.

Does St. Thomas Aquinas College have a program in video game design and development?

Video game design and development is a multi-disciplinary field that includes work in computer science, graphic design, writing and management.  St. Thomas Aquinas doesn't offer a specific "major" in this area, but rather allows you to major in Computer Science and then to collect a set of relevant supporting courses from the other areas.

While we're pleased that so many people have become interested in computing through computer games, we hope that Computer Science students don't narrow their focus too soon. There's a whole range of computing-related vocations out there to be discovered.  We believe that you will be best served with a program that provides you with the broad training you'll need in the long run as opposed to the more narrow courses you want at the moment.