North Carolina Central University Blog

Trending Topics at NCCU Online

Computer Science vs. Information Technology

Written by: North Carolina Central University   •  Jun 10, 2024

Technology Professionals Sit at Desks in an Office.

Computer Science vs. Information Technology

While computer science and information technology (IT) are sometimes conflated, they are distinct fields with notable differences. 

One key similarity these fields share: employment in both is expected to grow at a much faster rate than the average for all occupations over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Demand for these professionals will grow tremendously as the economy increasingly relies on technology for a variety of needs. 

Those who aspire to enter a career in computer science or information technology should understand the distinctions between the fields, including what kind of education they should pursue and the types of jobs they can expect to get.

What Is Computer Science? 

Computer science is the study and development of computers and computer programs, applications, and operating systems. It also entails the exploration of the architecture and design of computers and computer networks.

Drawing on the field’s foundations in mathematics and engineering, computer scientists design and use algorithms to resolve issues and improve processes involving computers. They are proficient in various programming languages, using them to develop computer programs and software for computers, smartphones, and a host of other devices. They may also apply their skills to web design.

Computer science encompasses several specializations, such as cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. 

Computer science is considered part of a family of interrelated disciplines, which also includes computer engineering, information systems, software engineering, and information technology. It is sometimes referred to as a foundational science, meaning it paves the way for innovations and advancements in other areas, such as IT. 

What Is Information Technology?

While computer science is more closely associated with theoretical concepts, information technology involves the practical application of computers, networks, systems, and communication technology. Mobile phone, laptop, and tablet applications, as well as data storage and security applications, all fall under the umbrella of information technology. Some common types of IT include:

  • Internet technologies
  • Cloud computing
  • Data analytics and business intelligence
  • Cybersecurity
  • Internet of Things

IT is used to some degree by virtually every entity in both the private and public sectors, from small businesses to government agencies. Individuals use information technology in their daily lives as well. Anytime someone sends an email or uses a spreadsheet to catalog their finances, they’re using IT. 

Computer Science vs. Information Technology: Similarities and Differences 

Computer science and information technology are distinct yet inextricably linked fields, representing two sides of the same coin. Computer science lays the theoretical groundwork for information technology, making IT innovations possible. 

Understanding the differences between these fields — along with how they overlap — can help aspiring computer scientists or IT professionals determine their ideal career path as well as the type of education they should pursue to achieve their goals. 


Computer science and information technology share common foundations in computing and programming. Where they differ is in how these concepts are applied. 

Computer science is in many ways a theoretical discipline, primarily involving the study, design, and development of computers and computer programs, systems, and applications. Computer science contributes to various forms of hardware and software.

Information technology is the practical application and management of the tech that emerges from computer science for a variety of purposes, including communication, cybersecurity, and website development, among others.


Both computer science and information technology contain numerous subfields and specializations, with some overlap between them. Computer scientists and IT professionals can specialize in cybersecurity, software development, and web development. 

However, computer science also includes subfields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, network architecture, and data science that generally don’t correlate to IT. Information technology contains its own unique subfields, including system/network administration and data analytics.


The curricula for computer science and information technology programs share some similarities. Students in either program typically learn about programming languages. IT programs may also cover foundational computer science concepts.

However, computer science programs generally have a greater focus on mathematics and computer/system architecture and design. IT programs, meanwhile, usually place a larger emphasis on subjects such as cybersecurity, data analytics, and business.

One common trait these fields share: individuals can qualify for many computer science and IT jobs with a bachelor’s degree. 


Computer science and IT professionals hold an array of jobs across various specializations. Some of these roles have similar functions and responsibilities. Common computer science professions include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Computer and information research scientist
  • Computer network architect

Examples of jobs in IT include:

  • Software developer
  • Computer support specialist
  • Network/computer systems administrator

Compared to their computer science counterparts, IT professionals typically work more closely with businesses and organizations to provide tech support, help them manage data, and assist customers. 

Employment in both fields is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade, according to the BLS. Computer science and information technology occupations tracked by the BLS are projected to grow by approximately 14% between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the national average for all occupations (3%). About 377,500 annual job openings are projected over the decade. Software developers (26%) and information security analysts (32%), both IT specializations, will experience the strongest job growth. 

Become an IT Expert

Information technology is integral to today’s economy, and skilled IT professionals are needed across a wide range of roles and sectors. With robust employment growth and job availability projected for the foreseeable future, the time may be right to consider an education in IT.  

North Carolina Central University’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BS in IT) program can help prepare you for a rewarding career in tech. Our career-focused curriculum, personalized attention, and immersive coursework are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed. And with three distinct concentrations — Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Information and Communications Technology — you can tailor your academic journey to your professional goals. 

Explore the online BS in IT program and discover the value of an NCCU Online education.  

Recommended Readings

What’s Information and Communications Technology?

How Technology Builds Resilience in Critical Infrastructure Security

Software Developer vs. Software Engineer: Similarities and Differences


Britannica, Computer Science

CompTIA, What Is Information Technology?

Indeed, “Computer Science vs. Information Technology: What to Know”

Indeed, “A Guide to Computer Science vs. Information Technology”

Indeed, “Information Technology vs. Computer Science: The Differences Between IT and CS”

TechTarget, Information Technology

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Technology Occupations

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

Request Info