What is computer science

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What is Computer Science?[1]

Computer science is about understanding the depth of a computer system, we care about how a computer system really works. We use our understanding, skill and knowledge to create programs to solve real problems.

Computer science requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate. - From the IB [2]

Computer science (CS) is the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, and their impact on society.” - From the CSTA [3]

Computer science is the scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications. - From wikipedia [4]

What is Computer Science?[edit]

The video below is embedded from youtube. It may take a moment to load. If on the off-chance it does not load, try clicking this link.

Why Computer Science ?[edit]

A 21st Century Skill

Computer science is...

  1. a theory and practice that allows you to program a computer to do what you want it to
  2. a tool that helps you tell a story or make something happen with technology
  3. a discipline that emphasizes persistence in problem solving — a skill that is applicable across disciplines, driving job growth and innovation across all sectors of the workforce
  4. a skill that teaches students how to use computers to create, not just consume

Computer science is not...[5]

  1. learning how to type
  2. learning to use word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software
  3. learning how to build or repair computers
  4. playing video games

Disciplines within computing[edit]

I discovered this excellent treatment of disciplines within computing from the ACM[6].

Within the broad scope of computing there are five disciplines:

  • Computer Engineering (CE)
  • Computer Science (CS)
  • Information Systems (IS)
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Software Engineering (SE)

These disciplines share characteristics in the following lanes:

  • Organizational System Issues
  • Application Technologies
  • Software Development
  • Systems Infrastructure
  • Computer Hardware and and Architecture

It is a mistake to use the term "computer science" when you in fact mean "software engineering". They are different! There is not universal agreement about these disciplines.

A note about these files: they are fairly dense, and you may need to zoom in to read the characteristics of the different disciplines within computing.