A Resource Guide to Computer Science
By Anna Bauman
Computer science is the theoretical and practical approach to computation and its applications. The systematic study of computer science aims to understand the structure, expression, and mechanization of the underlying processes required to access information. Computer scientists have a deep understanding of the theory of computation and design computational systems based off this knowledge.
Computer science professionals create new computer technologies or implement new, efficient methodologies for older technologies.
The scope of computer science embodies more than programming; it involves a variety of topics, such as the analysis and design of algorithms, programming languages, software engineering, computer organization, artificial intelligence, distributed computing, and mathematics. The majority of technological breakthroughs originate in the field of computer science, making it an essential component for future development.
Understanding Computer Science
Most people confuse computer science with the study of computer programming. According to computer science pioneer Edsger Dijkstra, computers are the byproduct of a broader subject. Computer science encompasses a broad range of disciplines, such as the analysis and design of algorithms, design of programming languages, mathematical analysis, artificial intelligence, distributed computer, software engineering, and more. Computer scientists have a broad understanding of computer organization, storage, and retrieval. They can write efficient programs, design artificial intelligence, and develop new applications that will benefit society. Computer science plays an integral role in how humans interact with machines.
Theoretical Computer Science
Theoretical computer science, a subdivision of computer science, focuses on the abstract and mathematical aspects of computing. Theoretical computer scientists specialize in the theory of computation, a branch that attempts to provide solutions for problems using an algorithm. The theory of computation has three major branches, including automata theory, computability theory, and computation complexity theory. Automata theory involves the study of abstract machines and the computational problems that can be solved using these machines. Computability theory focuses on the extent that an existing problem is solvable on a computer. Lastly, computational complexity theory focuses on how efficiently a problem can be solved. In essence, theoretical computer science involves the abstract aspects of computing outside of the physical application of computer programming.
Applied Computer Science
Applied computer science aims to identify theoretical concepts and apply them directly to solve real world problems. Computer scientists apply their abstract knowledge across a broad range of applications, including artificial intelligence, computer architecture, computer graphics, computer networks, databases, health informatics, and software engineering. Many people associate artificial intelligence with robotics; however, this field of study tends to focus more on the software aspects of artificial intelligence rather than the hardware components. Artificial intelligence aims to impart human-like processes within machines, such as learning, image recognition, pattern recognition, retrieval, and computing to formulate decisions. Artificial intelligence is only one remarkable aspect of applied computer science.
Most occupations require a Ph.D. in computer science to attain and advance further in an establishment. Prospective students will need to complete four or five years of additional study in a related field to earn their Ph.D. In general, prospective students should complete their general educational requirements in a computer-related field. Computer scientists who work in a specialized field will need knowledge of the field they intend to work in after graduation. Some jobs in the federal government only require a bachelor's degree, but it helps to attain a higher degree to earn a higher salary. Prospective students will need to possess adequate analytical, communication, critical-thinking, logical thinking, and mathematical skills. Computer science also requires ingenuity and a razor-sharp attention span to grasp small details.
Resources for Students
Computer science challenges students to analyze and find solutions to problems, a task that requires extensive research and study time. Students need to fully grasp the fundamentals of computer science to graduate. As time progresses, students will face new challenges that will require them to seek help. Use these resources to gain a better understanding of computer science and its many branches.
Computer scientists invent and design new ways for computing technology. They find innovative uses for existing technology and often apply their skills in other fields, such as science, medicine, and business. Computer scientists contribute their talents for the sole purpose of advancing technology in a theoretical sense. Many people with a computer science major work with computer hardware engineers, electrical engineers, and other specialists in a related field. Computer scientists may specialize in data mining, robotics, and programming. Computer scientists who obtain their Ph.D. will have better job prospects than those with a bachelor's degree. The median annual salary for computer scientists was $102,190 in 2012. Employment is projected to grow by fifteen percent over the course of the next ten years.