Computer Science vs. Information Technology; What's the Difference?

vBren Triplett, Assistant Professor, Director of CIT, ISM, MGT programs at Colorado Christian University

When you lay awake at night, do you find yourself wondering what is the difference between computer science and information technology? It is like thinking about the difference between green and red leaf lettuce.

How does a computer science major differ from an IT degree?

What is Computer Science?

Computer scientists go deep into computational thinking and how to process information. There is a lot of science and math involved.

Some say that computer science is theoretical, but computer science is actually practical. It requires hands-on development of code by using algorithms that may not appear to be real-world solutions. Computer science is about the mastery of algorithms.

What is Computer Information Technology?

Computer information technology uses computers, networks, and computer languages to solve real-world business problems. This branch of technology is considered more practical than computer science but involves theories around management, leadership, selecting toolsets, and relationships. A computer information technology degree involves programming an equal amount as computer science but in a different vein.

What is the difference between computer science and information technology?

There is a lot of overlap between computer science and information technology but there are some differences.

  • Computer Science is considered theoretical.
  • Information technology deals with the application of higher-level programming languages.

Another difference is customer interactions. Computer Science will not have as many front-facing interactions with customers. Whereas IT professionals have significantly more customer-facing engagements, because of the creation of applications. Regardless of which path you choose, at minimum, a bachelor's degree is recommended.

Computer information systems is another area of study and the key differentiator of computer information systems compared to computer information technology is that information system incorporates the technology, people, and processes involved with information

Common Job Titles for Computer Science vs. Information Technology

Availability and type of career opportunities will influence the decision of which degree would be the best fit for you. According to Onet (an online labor database), the career paths available for each degree are very similar. Take a look at these specializations:

Computer Science Jobs:

  • Computer Programmers
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary
  • Bioinformatics Scientists

Computer Information Technology Jobs:

  • Computer Programmers
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Computer Network Architects
  • Information Security Analysts - Bright Outlook
  • Computer User Support Specialists - Bright Outlook

How do I decide between Computer Information Technology and Computer Science?

This is where you need to look in the mirror and examine yourself.

  • What attributes do you possess that would make one degree stand out from the other? Two attributes that make IT professionals successful above almost anything else are patience and persistence.
  • Do you like using computers and computer-related data, infrastructure, etc? This is required for either degree.
  • Are you relational? If so, a computer information technology degree might be the right fit for you.
  • Do you like learning difficult math and solving problems? A computer science degree may be right for you.

Appearances are Deceiving

The differences between computer science and computer information technology on paper seem vast, but both can be used to solve a myriad of computer problems, and both benefit humankind.

It is up to you to decide which degree can help you make a difference in the world.


Colorado Christian University does not guarantee any job placement as a result of earning this or any other degrees offered by the university.

Explore options for continuing your education online at Colorado Christian University and learning more about a future career in Computer Science or Information Technology.

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