Why Study Computer Science
Because of the pervasive presence of computers in everyday life - in transportation, communication, entertainment, household appliances, educational institutions, government, and business - the study of computer science, like other subjects in a liberal arts education, will give you a broad and deep understanding of fundamental concepts and principles underlying much of our world.
Aspects of Computer Science
There are several special aspects of computer science that make it an important and useful field of study.
Computer science focuses on the discovery and development of algorithms, or methods of solving problems that can be automated. No matter what field you work in, if you can conceptualize the solution of a problem as an algorithm, that problem can be solved with a computer. Algorithmic thinking that you learn to do in computer science is a systematic and general-purpose approach to problem solving that cuts across all of the disciplines in science, engineering, and the arts.
Designing and Making Things
Computer science has sometimes been called the "science of the artificial". Computer scientists design and construct descriptions (algorithms) of entirely new processes never before encountered in nature. These processes can make or bring into being an entirely artificial world. Unlike the real world of artifacts created by artists, craftsmen, and engineers, the world created by computer scientists can be entirely virtual. By learning how to design and make things in computer science, you will become a better designer and maker of things in any field.
The "things" that the computer scientist makes and manipulates with algorithms are pieces of information. Many of these "bits" are digitized representations of "real things", such as photographs, musical tunes, and movies. The computer scientist focuses on how to organize and control the complexity of this information so that it can better represent reality. The skills of organizing and managing the complexity of information that you acquire in computer science are important in almost any area of work or study.
Computer Science has created a whole set of new professions in the last decades, which far more than 100'000 people earn their living with in Switzerland alone. Together with the technological progress of Computer Science and its application in a broad variety of fields, those professions have kept adjusting and specializing, as the following list illustrates:
- Application developer
- System engineer
- Teacher of Computer Science
To get a brief impression of the variety of IT-professions nowadays just flip open the job advertisment section of a newspaper.