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Getting A Computer Science Degree
« on: January 29, 2016, 08:36:17 PM »
What is a computer science degree?

In a nutshell, computer science degrees deal with the theoretical foundations of information and computation, taking a scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications. Computation is defined as any type of calculation or use of computing technology that follows well-defined models (such as algorithms and protocols) in the practice of information processing (which in turn is defined as the use of these models to transform data in computers).

Computer science is considered by many of its practitioners to be a foundational science - one which makes other knowledge and achievements possible. The study of computer science involves systematically studying methodical processes (such as algorithms) in order to aid the acquisition, representation, processing, storage, communication of, and access to information. This is done by analyzing the feasibility, structure, expression and mechanization of these processes and how they relate to this information. In computer science, the term ‘information’ refers usually to information which is encoded in bits and bytes in computer memory.

Some higher education institutions may use computer science (CS) as an umbrella term to cover various specialist and vocational degrees involving computers and technology. You may also find the term computer science being used to refer to information technology (IT) degrees, although many institutions now distinguish between the two (exactly how and where they draw this line varies). Make sure to check your chosen university’s course details closely.

Entry requirements for computer science degrees

Entry requirements for computer science degrees usually emphasize further mathematics, with some institutions asking for a background in physics. A background in psychology or sociology can provide an added dimension to your studies, as you would have gained an understanding of how humans process information, while other natural sciences may also be helpful.

Undergraduate applicants for computer science degrees will not usually be expected to have formally studied computer science before university. However, it is recommended that you pick up a programming language, to gain an understanding of what is involved. While generally accepted beginner languages include Python and C++, Haskell, Java and Pascal are all languages you may come across during your studies. On the other hand, you may find some institutions discourage students from learning programming beforehand to avoid students learning ‘bad’ programming habits early on. Some institutions offer joint courses, in which computer science is studied alongside subjects such as mathematics, engineering and computing.
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