One of the most incredibly interesting and seemingly constantly evolving, improving, and adapting areas of modern technology and innovations is that of computer science.
Computer science sits at the forefront of discovery and development, so whether you are a recent graduate who is interested in entering this field of research, or you already work in information technology and are looking to take your career forward, then continue reading for a thorough guide to computer science and its associated elements.
Computer Science: A Definition
Essentially, although it is an incredibly broad, intricate, and multi-faceted field, computer science deals with the research into and the study of computers—including everything related to both hardware and software systems and packages.
As well as studying computer systems with a view to improving the current programs and the hardware and software that’s in place, computer science also strives to use the data, research, and knowledge gained to further advance, develop, and even invent new computing technologies.
How To Become A Computer Scientist
Unlike other professional careers, the route to becoming a fully qualified computer scientist is relatively clear.
First, it is necessary to enroll on an undergraduate bachelors degree in computing or computer science in order to equip yourself with the foundational knowledge with which to proceed. Next, it is strongly advisable—and for some employers, positively mandatory—to successfully acquire a postgraduate degree in the form of an online masters in computer science, from a reputable and renowned academic institution.
Skills Required To Become A Computer Scientist
As with every other profession which demands a certain level of expertise, knowledge, and experience, a career in computer science has a few mandatory pre-requisites in terms of key skills and personality attributes that will make the successful acquisition of a job as a computer scientist more rewarding and more likely.
Such key skills and other pre-requisites that are advisable for an individual looking to pursue a career in computer science (especially those involved with the running and working of computers themselves) include the following:
- A detailed knowledge of the functions and formulas in Microsoft Excel
- Excellent organizational skills
- Exceedingly strong communication skills
- An ability to prioritize tasks and manage your time accordingly
- Background knowledge in the workings of instant messaging
- A strong knowledge of both the theory and practical application of SEO
- A cool and calm persona when dealing with multiple tasks at the same time
- A detailed knowledge of Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint
- An undergraduate degree and a postgraduate degree in computer science
Practical Vs Theoretical Computer Science
It would be prudent to point out the distinction between practical computer science and the theoretical application of computer science.
The former deals with a focus on creating and improving software systems and packages and more competent and faster computing hardware, whereas the latter concerns itself with the more abstract mathematical theories surrounding computer science. Such mathematical theories include the perfection of specific algorithms, studying and developing the properties of code, and the application of the intrinsic workings of code on specific systems and applications.
Although the practical application of computer science and the theoretical and decidedly more mathematical application of computer science are vastly different, they are both equally as important for the development, improvement, and advancement of the discipline as a whole.
Fields Of Computer Science
Under the proverbial umbrella of computer science (using both theoretical and practical applications of the discipline) there are certain key fields in which qualified computer scientists choose to specialize in, as detailed below:
- Scientific Computing Applications
Essentially, scientific computing applications is the field of computer science concerning the use of modeling capabilities and computing algorithms to successfully—and more importantly, accurately—estimate the outcome of scientific experiments that professional and expert scientists cannot practically and physically feasibly conduct.
Computer scientists who specialize in scientific computing applications can also work directly alongside scientists and scientific researchers to conduct experiments that are often dangerous and involve significant chemical reactions, are expensive and time-consuming, and are rather large in scale.
- Computer Organization And Architecture
A particularly fascinating element within the field of computer science is that of computer architecture and organization.
The basic function of such a discipline is the focus on the operation, design, study, and implementation of a specific computer system, looking into how the hardware operates and what can be done to improve the performance.
Computer architects usually work with network connection components, storage devices, and computers themselves and work to optimize the connections between each and every piece of technology.
- Data Mining And Databases
The computing term “big data” refers to large sets and groups of data and information that are collected and sourced from a specific place.
Computer scientists whose job roles revolve around data mining and databases focus almost solely on the sourcing, storing, and organization of big data, with a relevant example of big data being the browsing habits, app usage, and location data that smartphones utilize to (theoretically) enhance the user-friendly experience of the device.
Data mining involves the creation of effective and efficient database structures that aid the quick, simple, and productively efficient recall of big data and other information to aid businesses and technologies alike.
- Sound And Image Processing
The study of sound and image processing is all about learning, researching, developing, and adapting the forms taken by computer data and information, and the way in which the user can process and interpret said data.
The fundamental purpose of sound and image processing relating to computer science is to accurately and efficiently translate the data and information sourced and to manipulate and adapt these sets of data.
- Human Vs Computer Interaction
One of the more commonly accessible and perhaps more well-known components within the general field of computer science is the study of human vs computer interaction.
Essentially, human vs computer interaction is the study of how well computers are interacted with by the user, and subsequently researching everything related to the user interface that made this interaction possible.
Computer scientists working in the field of human vs computer interaction focus on the creation, construction, and development of software and hardware systems and packages to make the interaction between the user and the computer more effective, manageable, faster, and simpler.
Such a discipline focuses entirely on the correct interpretation of individual (and groups of users’) expectations and instincts, by incorporating the necessary knowledge and experience of engineering, psychology, and anthropology.
- Coding And Information Theory
Information and coding theory is the research into and the study of processing and transmission of all related information and data.
Information theory concentrates on the transmission of the data, whereas coding theory is to do with the translation of said data into code. Computer scientists working with information theory and coding theory use the codes they create to work out how much data they can feasibly compress, transmit, or store at any one time on one particular system.
- Artificial Intelligence
Another incredibly fascinating and exciting field of computing and computer science is that of the design and study of artificial intelligence.
Basically, artificial intelligence is the development of systems and computers that can autonomously function and perform a number of tasks that would normally be performed by humans, and is certainly the basis of a great many science-fiction movies.
Programs that can play chess against a user or select and design entire music playlists purely based upon previously purchased or downloaded tracks are both prime examples of artificial intelligence already embedded in daily life.
Other examples of artificial intelligence include:
- Digital assistants
- Facial recognition and detection software
- Recommendation and search algorithms
- Social media commercials
- Autocorrect and text editors
- Navigation and maps
- Software Engineering
A significantly prominent component of computing and computer science is that of the practice and discipline of software engineering.
Concerning both the practice and theory of the creation, building, and development of both hardware and software systems, software engineers always tend to work alongside other professional computer scientists due to the time and cost that the development of complex and intricate software systems entails.
The basic steps in the process of software engineering involve:
- The development of the specific requirements
- The analysis of each various possibility
- The design of the software program
- The construction of the software program
- The thorough checking to see whether the program meets all necessary requirements
- The official deployment and release of the new software program
- The operation and initial monitoring of the software program
- The regular maintenance of the software program
- Parallel, Distributed, And Concurrent Computing
Within the field of computer science lies the discipline of parallel, distributed, and concurrent computing, which is essentially the thorough and intense research into networks and computers which contain more than several computations occurring simultaneously.
The central aim of parallel and concurrent computing study is to ascertain how software or machines make multiple computations occur with more efficiency, speed, and accuracy.
- Computer Visualization And Graphics
A more visual and perhaps even slightly more creative field within computer science is that of computer visualization and graphics.
Computer scientists who spend their daily professional hours working with computer graphics and visualization deal with researching and endeavoring to improve the display on all computing systems as well as to better control and manipulate the images displayed on the computer screen.
As well as the improvement of and research into the capabilities of the computer’s hardware and software systems and packages, computer visualization and graphic specialists also handle the following:
Rendering: Rendering is when the user generates an incredibly realistic visual representational image from a 2D model using a computer software program.
Animation: Animation is when the computer software program is used to create the effective and realistic visualization of movement, using a large number of still images.
Modeling: Modeling is essentially the generation of realistic images and moving images based on a specific set of restrictions and rules.
Visualization: Visualization is the interpretation of information and data into a wholly graphic and visual form and the interaction with said data to manipulate and develop the graphic.
- Cryptography And Computer Security
The cryptography and computer security field of computer science deals with improving how information and sensitive data are stored and how secure and protected this information is.
Cryptographists can create more accurate (and therefore more secure) hardware systems that are considerably trickier to tamper with or break into; or more simply, they can create software systems, packages, and programs that are simultaneously harder to destroy, destruct, defraud, or be attacked or compromised by an outside intruder.
- Computer Networking
Another prominent aspect of the wider world of computing and computer science is that of the research into and study of computer networks.
Computer scientists who devote their working life to the study of computer networks focus their efforts and expertise on the design, implementation, and analysis of certain networks that link different computers and hardware systems together.
A fascinating part of the work of a computer scientist in terms of studying computer networks is the development of such networked links using different connections, such as radio waves and light signals. Experts in computer networks also strive to create, develop, and monitor new and innovative protocols and policies which establish protections and limitations for said networks.
13. Programming Logic And Languages
An often forgotten but incredibly crucial section within the field of computer science is that of programming logic and languages. This is largely due to the fact that without the consistent and constant development of new and improved programming languages—as well as the monitoring and maintenance of current ones—most other fields of computer science would simply be unable to function.
Essentially, computer scientists who specialize in the study of programming logic and languages work on designing the commands that a user requires into a language that computers—computing networks—can read and understand.