You are done with high school and want to progress to campus. You scored good grades or you meet whatever other qualifications your campus of choice dictates as the benchmark.
You know your general area of interest but there are so many fields under it becomes overwhelming to select one. And everyone’s waiting for you to make the big decision. Can be a bit terrifying, I’ll give you that.
But here’s the thing. You should, for starters, be proud of yourself for knowing where to begin. There are more people than one can imagine who actually have no idea what career path they want to follow. Sure, there’s knowing what you cannot possibly do.
I am afraid of blood and cannot to this day bring myself to touch raw meat when I am cooking. So I definitely know I cannot have a successful career in the field of medicine. But why not law? Or Physics? Maybe a Chemistry related course.
Expose yourself in several short courses
This is one of the reasons I advocate for a short stint in several fields before you settle on what course you want to pursue. It could be a short course. A few weeks, maybe months. Not long, though. Just to give you a feel of what you’ll be doing. A short business course. A short IT course. You know, with coding being the new buzz word, you might try to discover whether it’s what you want to major in or you want it to remain an extra.
I am no guru, so I will not quote statistics of my years of research here but I have seen it work with a few people. A few weeks in the service industry and you realize patience is not your forté.
Sit behind a desk somewhere and figure out you are better off interacting with people a lot during your day. Or the converse. You interact with people for a day or two and realize this doesn’t come naturally to you. That you are better off working as a programmer who nobody ever sees, than a marketer who has to sell the program to people.
My area of concentration today though is people who have made up their minds that the field of computing is where they want to be. There are so many jobs related to this that I cannot possibly exhaust them all in one article. But allow me to cover a few.
Now let’s get to the differences
First is Computer Science. Offered in just about every campus. As spelled out by the name, it studies computing as a Science. What this means is, you will do some of that high school science for a while longer.
Not to say you will cover the same concepts, but you will definitely have a lot more science in your coursework. There will be the computing aspect too where you will learn a few programming languages. A little bit of hardware will be thrown in, in the same breath.
Before I explain that further, let me look at Information Technology. Another common course. It comes across as a course meant for people who are starting out in the field of computing. Prior computing experience is not a prerequisite.
That remains the case in most of the other fields too, but it certainly gives you an upper hand in some of the more technical ones. What you need is Mathematics and Physics knowledge. That cuts across the board. And definitely a language. Because, well, how else will the concepts be communicated to you?
Back to Information Technology. This course will cover the basics of computing, say using applications. Those are programs, for those not familiar with computing terms. Microsoft Word is an application. There will be a bit of software too and hardware. But not too much. I will get back to tie up the loose ends with that one.
Let us now examine Computer Technology. Less common than the other two mentioned above. Definitely not any less important, though. This one deals a lot with hardware. Think of it like a mini engineering. You also deal with software: a bit of programming, studying Operating systems. That should be your line of thought.
So what am I saying?
To put these three into perspective, allow me to use an ideal world illustration. The Computer technology major should deal with the hardware bit. Do a little bit of assembly maybe. Or tweak things to match the required specifications.
The Computer Science major makes these devices usable to non-IT people. Identifies the user needs and designs solutions mostly in the name of programs to solve this. Makes everything user-friendly. Gets the right applications running on your system.
The IT major helps a non-IT person understand what to do with these things. Need a program running? Don’t know how to go around an error you are experiencing? This is the person you should be calling. Because they have a surface understanding of everything, from the software to the hardware; allowing them comfortably work with it.
There are related engineering disciplines too. Computer engineering, which mostly comes coupled with an electrical aspect. Electrical and computer engineering. Here you will major in electronics and anything electrical with a bit of a focus on computing. Software engineering.
This one is commonly found reserved for students pursuing a degree at the Masters’ level. It can, however, be found in undergraduate programs in some universities, But don’t expect to be dealing with a lot of hardware if you sign up for this one.
There are plenty of computing courses out there to choose from. You probably still don’t know what your interest is. Software, hardware. But at the very least, you now have an idea what a few of the available options are all about.
You could always pay your institution of interest a visit to acquire further details about what can offer you after expalining what you are looking at. Well, I think that’s all I have for you. All the best.
(This is a guest post but the writer wants discretion. Nevertheless, I would like to thank to her very much. Awesome work !)