What is Computer Science?

Delve into the expansive field of computer science which focuses on the development and implementation of complex tools, software systems, and platforms. Learn about top roles in the field, from Web Developer to IT Project Manager, and the promising job outlook projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key Insights

  • Computer science is an expansive field, concentrating on creating and executing intricate tools, platforms, and software systems.
  • Top roles for computer science professionals include Web Developer, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, and IT Project Manager.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21% growth rate in the computer science field from 2021 to 2031, indicating a bright job outlook.
  • Essential tools for computer science professionals include HTML, CSS, Git, and programming languages like Python, along with frameworks like React and Django.
  • Learning computer science can lead to a wide range of career paths, including data science, web development, and machine learning.
  • Data science and artificial intelligence are fields closely related to computer science, often considered as subsets of the larger computer science category.

Computer science is among the broadest fields, predating narrower fields like data science and artificial intelligence. Computer science focuses on developing and implementing complex tools, platforms, and software systems. While the main themes of data science are statistics, algorithms, and analysis, the main themes of computer science are more likely to be software engineering, development, and administration.

In addition to the traditional Computer Scientist position, top roles for computer science professionals include:

  • Web Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Network Architect
  • Security Architect
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • IT Project Manager

In this overview, you’ll learn more about what computer science is, what it can do, who uses it, and how to learn it, so you can determine how to add this skill to your professional toolbox.

What Can You Do with Computer Science?

Computer science classes cover a wide range of subjects, encompassing anything from web development and software engineering to data science. Tools like Python and Java are popular among numerous career paths in this growing field, and as far as computer science applications go, the sky’s the limit.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Computer and Information Research Scientist job outlook is especially bright: they estimate a 21% growth rate between 2021-2031, well above the average growth rate of five percent. Top positions for computer science professionals include Software Developers, IT Security Analysts, Data Scientists, and Product Managers.

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Areas of specialization for computer science professionals include programming languages like Java, the development and application of robotics, and the development of new systems, tools, and programming languages. In our ever-more connected digital world, computer science generalists and specialists can thrive both now and in the future.

How Do You Learn Computer Science?

How you learn computer science and how much it will cost depends on how you plan to use the knowledge you gain. In such a broad field, you can apply coding and data science skills to many careers—from Python programming to software engineering.

If you go into computer science to learn web development, you’ll need many skills like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Git. Fortunately, most programming languages like JavaScript and Python are open-source. That means they are available to the public at no cost, along with their libraries and frameworks. These include tools like React.js, Matplotlib, and Django.

Again depending on your goals and budget, you may need to purchase hardware or software. Minimum hardware requirements for a language like Python typically require an operating system like Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, four GB of RAM, and five GB of free disk space. You may be ready to start without making changes or additions to your desktop.

Many computer science tools offer free trials. Anaconda for Python users is free, as are Jupyter Notebook and Google Colab. It’s also important to note that open-source tools like Python and Java are accessible to learn from anywhere, with massive worldwide support communities that can offer support and guidance to new users. And while you’ll benefit most from paid training, you can begin learning computer science tools and techniques through free online resources like seminars and tutorials.

What Are the Benefits of Learning Computer Science?

Learning a field like computer science can take many forms, from Python programming to software engineering. With the urgent demand for computer science professionals in numerous sectors, there’s never been a better time to study this exciting field. Machine learning, web development, and application development all fall under the computer science category.

Want to learn more? If you’re interested in a computer science career, consider enrolling in a comprehensive bootcamp or certificate program. These immersive courses can prepare computer science beginners for entry-level positions in web development, data science, or software engineering.

Read more about why you should learn computer science.

Computer Science Careers

Computer science is a broad field, so it’s essential to understand how different professions use it in various ways.

Full Stack Web Developers use computer science skills to design and build out the layout of a website. Their skill set typically includes HTML and CSS, JavaScript, or other programming languages. They may also need familiarity with graphic design tools and databases. An immersive web development certificate program can provide multiple skills to get you started.

Data science pros take a different approach to their computer science training. They may learn tools ranging from Python programming to machine learning models and data visualization. Popular tools among Data Scientists include SQL, Matplotlib, NumPy, and Pandas. Many data science pros also prepare for entry-level roles through comprehensive certificate programs.

Cybersecurity professionals also learn computer science skills, though with a unique emphasis. An Information Security Analyst or Cybersecurity Analyst may begin their computer science training by learning everything from Python to digital forensics, Linux, and cloud computing. Here again, immersive training in computer science tools and skills can launch a successful career.

How to Learn Computer Science

To master computer science for your career, you’ll want to learn different tools and skills. Live online or in-person classes are among the best learning options for computer science students.

Live computer science courses offer a variety of benefits. Students can get real-time answers to their questions, and live courses are both hands-on and interactive in most cases. For those who cannot commute to an in-person computer science class, live online computer science courses can be just as beneficial. Noble Desktop’s Full Stack Web Development Certificate is an example of one such program, available both in-person and online.

Another attractive option for computer science beginners is the on-demand or self-paced training model. On-demand computer science courses typically require a small fee or subscription to a particular platform, though some are available free of charge. Featured computer science topics range from building Android apps to JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. 

While they may not offer the same level of engagement as live or on-demand classes, free seminars, tutorials, and blog posts can also benefit students beginning a computer science education. Computer science trainees can find free seminars like Intro to Front End Web Development, the Intro to Node.js seminar (appropriate for web development students), and Intro to SQL, a perfect choice for data science and Python programming students.

For additional tutorials, check out Noble Desktop’s YouTube channel, where you’ll find playlists like Front End Web Development and Python, Data Science & SQL.

Read the full guide on how to learn computer science.

A Brief History of Computer Science

The history of computer science goes back to before the time computers themselves existed. English mathematician George Boole developed Boolean algebra, the basis for both computer science and digital logic, in the 1850s. Additional foundations of computer science can be traced to hypertext pioneer Vannevar Bush, computer scientist Alan Turing, and physicist John Atanasoff, though there are countless others.

Modern contributors to the field vary more, thanks to the development of areas like artificial intelligence, including machine learning and deep learning. Supercomputer architect Seymour Cray, AI developer Edward Feigenbaum, and blockchain pioneer Satoshi Nakamoto are just a handful of the many contributors to the massive computer science field.

Many full-length books on the subject exist, and an in-depth review of computer science goes far beyond the confines of these pages. Today’s computer science beginners typically study concepts unheard of only a few years ago, including open-source software, artificial neural networks, and natural language processing (NLP). If you want to start a career in a field with endless possibilities, it’s hard to imagine one more dynamic than computer science.

Comparable Fields

Data science is the field most often compared to computer science, but the basis of data science is widely acknowledged to be computer science. These fields overlap in many ways, and though data science has emerged as a discrete discipline, it’s often considered a subset of the larger computer science category. Top positions that can require a data science or computer science background include:

  • AI Research Scientist
  • Cloud Engineer
  • Computer Scientist
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Product Manager
  • Software Developer
  • Software Engineer

While there are typically many similarities in the educational backgrounds of these tech professionals, the paths for computer science pros and data science pros often diverge. Computer science careers make good choices for those with physics, math, or engineering backgrounds. Data science pros often focus on specific areas within these disciplines, like probability and statistics, and particular programming languages, such as Python. Both may focus on big data, but their emphases may be different.

If you’re considering a career in data science, you might want to start with some coursework that can apply to either data science or general computer science. Depending on your educational background and existing skill set, you may find that you can apply your knowledge to the broader computer science field or the somewhat narrower data science world. The right computer science training can prepare you for an entry-level position in either field.

Learn Computer Science with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you want comprehensive computer science training in an interactive environment, check out the Full Stack Web Development Certificate from Noble Desktop. This in-depth program gives participants all the tools they need to build webpages and apps, plus training in hosting, server, and network environments. Featured topics include HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and MongoDB, to name a few.

Is software engineering your main goal? Consider enrolling in Noble’s Software Engineering Certificate program. Here you’ll learn front end development with JavaScript and React along with back end development using Django (Python), all taught by instructors with expertise in the field. Small class sizes and 1-on-1 mentoring mean you always get individual attention and gain essential skills in Flexbox, Grid, and Bootstrap.

If you focus your computer science training on the subcategory of data science, Noble Desktop’s Data Science Certificate gives you the skills you need for an entry-level position. This immersive program provides training in essential tools from Python programming to machine learning fundamentals. It’s a great way to prepare to work as a Data Scientist, Data Analyst, or Machine Learning Engineer.

High school students preparing for the AP Computer Science exam can benefit from Noble’s live online computer science NextGen Bootcamps. These summer classes offer an ideal way to learn disciplines like web development, Python programming, or data science in a beginner-friendly environment.

Key Insights

  • Computer science is a broad field that focuses on developing and implementing complex tools, platforms, and software systems.
  •  Top roles for computer science professionals include:
  • Web Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • IT Project Manager
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21% growth rate in the computer science field between 2021 and 2031.
  • Additional tools for computer science professionals can include HTML, CSS, Git, React, and Django.
  • The study of data science can prepare you for a career in numerous specialties, including data science, machine learning, and web development.
  • Methods of learning computer science include live classes (either live online or in-person), self-paced classes, or free seminars and tutorials.
  • Comparable fields include data science and artificial intelligence.
  • You can get comprehensive computer science training through an in-person or live online course from Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Computer Science

Master computer science with hands-on training. Learning how to code in JavaScript, Python, and other popular languages can pave the way to a job in tech, such as web development, data science & analytics, or software engineering.

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