IT vs. Computer Science: Which Degree is Right for You? [Infographic]

There’s no doubt in your mind—you want to work in the exciting world of technology! And with the optimistic job growth and exciting earning potential, who could blame you?

The average median salary for professionals in this industry is upwards of $80,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).* These positions are also projected to grow by an average of nearly 12 percent through 2024, which is faster than the national average rate of seven percent. Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see why you’re interested in degrees in technology. But which one is right for you and your career aspirations?

Comparing computer degrees

If you’re looking for a program that will prime you for success in a variety of technology careers, you’re probably considering IT versus computer science.

These two computer degrees may seem similar on the surface, but there are different skills and career opportunities associated with each. We created this infographic to provide you with a visual, side-by-side comparison of these fields of study so you can decide which of these degrees in technology suits you best.

If you decide that an information technology degree is the right choice for you, learn more about careers in IT. Do you think computer science is a better choice? Check out the top jobs for computer science degree holders.

IT vs Computer Science Infographic, described in detail below.

Infographic – “IT vs. Computer Science: What Degree is Right for you?”

The top panel shows a man scratching his head perplexedly. To the right of him asks, “What is IT?” and defines it as the application of computer programs to solve business processes. An employee in this industry will likely interact with others—whether in person or via phone or email—while helping solve technological problems.

To the right of that is the heading, “What is Computer Science?” and defines it as the processes of creating usable computer programs and applications and the theories behind those processes. An employee in this industry will likely be doing a lot of independent work applying complex algorithms and writing code.

Beneath that are pie charts, indicating the amount of experience and education needed in each field. For “What experience do I need?”, the text reads that the majority of job postings for both fields requires 3–5 years of experience. The Experience pie chart is broken as follows:

16.9% require 0–2 years
50.5% require 3–5 years
19.7% require 6–8 years
12.9% require 9+ years

For “What education do I need?”, the text reads that the majority of employers prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. The Education pie chart is broken as follows:

90% of Computer Science employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree
85% of IT employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree

Underneath that section is a graph that reads, “Jobs with an IT or Computer Science Degree”. This graph illustrates the average salaries and job growth for both IT and Computer Science degree holders. There is a male icon standing to the right of the graph.

For IT degrees:

  • Database Administrator salary is $81,710, and job growth is at 11%
  • Computer Support Specialist salary is $51,470, and job growth is at 12%
  • Information Security Specialist salary is $90,120, and job growth is at 18%

For IT/Computer Science degrees:

  • Computer System Analyst salary is $85,800, and job growth is sat 21%
  • Software Applications Developer salary is $98,260, and job growth is at 19%

For Computer Science degrees:

  • Computer Systems Analyst salary is $85,800, and job growth is at 21%
  • Network Systems Administrator salary is $77,810, and job growth is at 8%
  • Web Developer salary is $64,970, and job growth is at 27%
  • Computer Network Architect salary is $100,240, and job growth is at 9%

Underneath that section is a list of skills needed in each field. For Computer Science, the skills needed are Java, software engineering and information systems. In IT, the skills needed are project management, technical support and customer service. Both fields require knowledge of SQL and Linux.

Beneath that is a map of the United States with the heading, “Where can I work?” The text reads that there are job opportunities all across the U.S. There are various “hot spots” for each field, however. Popular job opportunities for IT jobs are in California, Wyoming, Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. Popular job opportunities in Computer Science are in Washington, California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and Florida.

It should be noted that the image was created by Rasmussen College–a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefits Corporation–to promote our education programs and to provide general career-related information covering crime scene careers. Rasmussen College does not offer programs to prepare students for every occupation profiled in this infographic. Please see rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of the programs we offer.

Salary data and employment projections were taken from Burning-Glass.com and the BLS. Salary data represents 2015 national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries, and employment conditions in your area may vary. Job growth is projected from 2014–2024.

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* Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This infographic was originally published in October 2014. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.

Callie Malvik

Callie is the Content Manager at Collegis Education, overseeing blog content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about creating quality resources that empower others to improve their lives through education.

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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

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