What is computer science?

Computer scientists primarily work in the field of computer software and systems and have a deep knowledge of computational theory, design, development and application. The need for computer scientists has grown as technology advances and becomes more integrated into daily life. The study of computer science has many branches, including artificial intelligence, software engineering, programming and computer graphics.

How is computer science different from information technology?

Computer science focuses on the theory and practice of creating computer programs, systems and applications to apply these areas to produce computing-based solutions. Information technology focuses on the selection, application and integration of computer programs and systems to accomplish user goals.

What skills are needed to be successful in this field?

Computer science

  • Problem solving skills
  • Advanced programming skills
  • Understanding of complex mathematics
  • Knowledge of programming languages
  • Knowledge of computer systems
  • Strong math background

Information technology

  • Basic programming skills
  • Knowledge of computer networks and systems
  • Understanding of business processes and structures


What can you do with a degree in this field, and what are the job/salary prospects?

Computer science

  • Software engineering
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cyber security
  • Machine learning
  • Programming
  • Data science
  • Software development
  • Database administration
  • Game design
  • Systems analysis
  • Mobile app development

Information technology

  • Web development
  • Desktop support
  • Network administration
  • Applications analysis
  • Server administration
  • Digital remote support
  • IT help desk
  • Information security auditing
  • Software support
  • Business analysis
  • Security architecture


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer scientists is projected to grow 19% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the national average. Forbes ranked computer science and software engineering as the third- and fourth-most valuable college majors, respectively, in terms of salary and career prospects, with median starting salaries of approximately $56,000 and 70% pay growth potential.

Wayne State offers an innovative education focused on the fundamentals of computer science while emphasizing new technologies so that graduates are ready to step right into careers. A number of global industry leaders — many located right down the street from the university — consistently look to hire Wayne State computer science graduates.