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What is Computer Science?

Computer science is the third most popular major amongst international students coming to the United States. Therfe are many reasons that computer science is so popular, including exceptional job security, uncommonly high starting salaries, and diverse job opportunities across industries. However, an international student contemplating studying computer science needs to ask themself, "What is computer science?"

So, what is computer science? Generally speaking, computer science is the study of computer technology, both hardware and software. However, computer science is a diverse field; the required skills are both applicable and in-demand across practically every industry in today's technology-dependent world. As such, the field of computer science is divided amongst a range of sub-disciplines, most of which are full-fledged specialized disciplines in and of themselves. The field of computer science spans several core areas: computer theory, hardware systems, software systems, and scientific computing. Students will choose credits from amongst these sub-disciplines with varying levels of specialization depending on the desired application of the computer science degree. Though most strict specialization occurs at the graduate level, knowing exactly what computer science is (and where a student's interests fall within this vast field) is of paramount importance to knowing how to study computer science.

Computer Science Disciplines

The disciplines encompassed by a computer science degree are incredibly vast, and an international student must know how to study computer science or, in other words, how to effectively navigate amongst this sea of sub-disciplines and specializations. Here are a few possible areas of specialization available to students pursuing computer science degrees:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Digital Image/ Sound
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Microprogramming
  • Bioinformatics
  • Networks And Administration
  • Computer Architecture Networks
  • Cryptography
  • Computer Engineering
  • Operating Systems
  • Computer Game Development
  • Robotics
  • Computer Graphics
  • Simulation And Modeling
  • Computer Programming
  • Software Development
  • Software Systems
  • Data Management
  • Web Development
  • Design Databases
  • Parallel Programming
  • iOS Development
  • Mobile Development
  • Memory Systems
  • Computational Physics

With so many available options, having a specific focus in mind while studying computer science in the United States is the best plan of action for any international student hoping to seriously prepare for their future on the job market. Knowing how to study computer science and effectively planning which type of degree to receive will depend on how well the student understands the discipline of computer science, and deciding which degree is right for a student is a move that will determine what sorts of computer science careers the student is eligible for upon graduating. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to plan a specific computer science degree that will enable you to pursue the career you want.

Despite the seemingly endless variety of applications and sub-disciplines an international student studying computer science in the United States will have to navigate, asking important questions like, "What is computer science?" is a great way to begin a successful education and, ultimately, career. Moreover, there are plenty of free resources available for studying computer science. For instance, a great resource for international students trying to study computer science in the United States can be the websites of specific institutions. These websites will not only convey what sorts of computer science degrees are available at their institution (as well as any specialties), they will also often have pages specifically to assist interested international students. Program course credit breakdowns, scholarship and internship opportunities, ongoing research, all these vital facts about an institution can be found on their computer science program's website.

Another great resource for international students is the Study Computer Science guide. The guide is a wealth of information on topics ranging from questions about where to study computer science, to providing internship and career advice.

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