Computer Science vs Computer Information Science



I cannot decide which one to take in college. Help

In: Technology

I believe that the difference is Computer Science is the study of how the individual systems, architectures, and components actually work where as Computer Information Science is your the systems interact with each other to form more complex infrastructures such as networks, server farms, as well as things like network administration and things off that nature.

Additionally, CIS likely has a greater focus on the software side of things. This would get more in depth with things like Database management.

A good ELI5 may be a comparison.

I look at CS like being a Brain Surgeon and CIS like being a Neuro scientist / psychologist.

Edit: After a quick Google, CS is the technical understanding of Computer Systems and CIS is the application of those systems mostly in the case of a business

The ELI5 explination: Think of Information Science individuals as expert tool users. Think of Computer Science majors as expert tool makers.

The longer but still very simplified walkout:

Information science related specialties try to always relate their activities back to some variant of this [pyramid]([email protected]/The-DIKW-pyramid-Source-Soloviev-K-2016.png) in some way shape or form. Almost everything they learn will directly touch at least one tier of the pyramid.

Computer science will touch on most layers of data processing very slightly but dive deeper into building more efficient tools that IT operatives use. It does this through a deeper and thorough understanding of what a program actually is and how it talks to every level under it. There is more math involved. Do not let that deter you.

There is a lot of cross over between both. Personally, I advise people who dont know what they want to aim for the computer science degree for opening doors. If they can’t handle the the math or find its not for them, shifting over to an IS speciality is a bit less jarring than the other way around.

A CS major can just use basic industry certs to move into an IS domain if they wish. It takes a bit more rigerous certs and/or experience for an IS individual to move into CS lanes. Doable, but more rare.

CIS would probably be more about data warehousing and existing/up and coming technology. CS would be more about computer programming, algorithm analysis/creation etc.

If both are separate subjects, more than likely neither will give you a comprehensive view of how computers work and why they work like that.

In practical terms, CS is the more technical version of the degree. It is usually taught through the engineering school and will include a lot of science, math, and electronics requirements. It will have a focus on building programming skills and include a lot of computer theory. Someone with a CS degree will know how a computer works from electrons on up and have the skills to create novel computer components.

A CIS degree is more about how to make computers do things. It is usually taught through the business or arts and sciences schools and will have broader general requirements in those schools at the expense of computer-specific courses. There will be less emphasis on programming and theory, and more on building and managing computer systems build from off the shelf components.

Are you good at math and science? Do CS.

Are you not good at math or science? Do neither.

Is course information not available? Look up what modules are covered.

At a highly abstract level, computer science is about what can be done with computation; information science is about with communication.

Computation consider what types of problems can be solved, and how efficiently you can solve them with algorithmic approaches. Informatics looks at interfaces (with humans/systems), organizations, networks, and making decisions with information.

In practical application, CS degrees i see focus on math & pure programming; whereas CIS degrees I’ve seen have some math/programming/IT and then include stuff like business analysis & health informatics.