Introduction to a Career in Computer Science and Information Systems

Computer science and information systems is a field that has garnered importance over the years due to its contributions to developing advanced technologies that have propelled mankind’s innovations and unimpeded growth. In this article, we take a look at the top universities in the world to study computer science and information systems.

Here’s what we’ll look at today

  • A Brief Introduction to Computer Science and Information Systems
  • The Need to Study Computer Science and Information Systems.
  • Top Universities in the World that Offer Courses on Computer Science and Information Systems.
  • Career options
A Brief Introduction to Computer Science and Information Systems

Computer Science and Information Systems is the most popular subject chosen by students around the world, according to QS Rankings. There’s a good reason. Today, more than ever, we’re living in a digitally connected world – and the field is growing faster than before.

First, what is it?

Computer science, defined simply, is the study of computers, and the development of supporting theories to implement or improve computing. This includes the study and development of algorithms, hardware and software, storage systems, and data processing operations. The field incorporates concepts from mathematics and engineering. While computer science deals with the theoretical and mathematical concepts that lead to the usage and development of programming languages, computer information systems focus on the practical applications of computing technology. The two are part of a family of interrelated disciplines that also include computer engineering, information technology, and software engineering.

The need to study Computer Science and Information Systems

Computing, to state the obvious, is not limited to computers. Its role is widespread and a study in the field makes you eligible to work in various domains.

When we talk about cryptocurrency, satellites, wireless networks, rocketry, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things among other fields, the role of computing becomes even more evident. The 21st century has been rightly dubbed the “digital era”, as most of our activities and operations can be carried out through the Internet. This not only calls for improvement in the way things work but also brings to the fore, the need for trained individuals who can design, develop and maintain such technology. The jobs created by technology are not only financially rewarding but can also help one in developing their career.

Top universities for Computer Science and Information Systems

The top ten universities in the world to study computer science and information systems from are included in the list below that has been curated by QS rankings. The top five universities and the different courses they offer have been discussed below.

Rank University Location
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) U.S.A
2 Stanford University U.S.A
3 Carnegie Mellon University U.S.A
4 University of California, Berkeley U.S.A
5 University of Oxford U.K
6 University of Cambridge U.K
7 Harvard University U.S.A
8 EPFL Switzerland
9 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland
10 University of Toronto Canada

Source: top universities. 

We look at the top five in more detail.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) tops the list of universities that offer courses in computer science and technology. MIT is a private university in the US and ranks among the most prestigious institutions in the world. Founded in 1861, the university has focused on matters related to science, engineering, technological advancements, and research that improves the quality of life in general.

The institution boasts of a spectacular list of alumni including Nobel laureates, Turing award winners, National Medal of Science recipients, astronauts, and chief scientists among others.

MIT currently offers undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science. The undergraduate courses offered stem from a joint venture between the Schwarmann College of Computing and the School of Engineering, the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science. These programs include majors in Electrical Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Computer Science and Engineering.

Blended majors include Computer Science and Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Economics and Data Science, Computation and Cognition, Urban Science, and Planning with Computer Science. Minor programs include Computer Science, and Statistics and Data Science.

With an acceptance rate of 4%, getting admission into MIT is extremely competitive

Stanford University

Founded in 1885, Stanford is a private research university. Stanford is known for its entrepreneurship and its ability to attract investments for entrepreneurial ventures. The university is known for its coveted alumni list that includes a US president, several Nobel laureates, Turing award winners, Fulbright scholars, billionaires, etc.

Stanford University offers undergraduate and graduate courses for students from all over the world. Major programs are offered in biomedical computation, computer science, and individually designed major in engineering. The CS degree tracks include artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer engineering, etc. Honor programs in computer science are offered to those who are capable of undertaking high-quality research.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University was founded in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools. The Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was founded in 1913 as a research organization. Carnegie Institute of Technology merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to become Carnegie Mellon University in 1967.

The school of computer science offers B.S in artificial intelligence, B.S. in Computer Science, B.S in music and technology, M.S. in Computer Science, M.S. in Computer Science – Foundational Studies, M.S. in Computer Science – Research, B.S. in Computational Biology, M.S. in Machine Learning, M.S. in Computer Vision, and M.S. in Robotics among others.

The college of engineering offers courses such as MS in Energy Science, Technology and Policy, MS in Biomedical Engineering and Integrated Study in Computer Science, M.S. in Chemical Engineering and Integrated Study in Computer Science, B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, M.S. in Software Engineering, M.S. in Information Technology, and M.S. in Information Technology – Software Management among others.

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) was established in 1868. Ranked number one in the world among public universities, UC Berkeley has 184 academic departments and offers more than 350-degree programmes. Berkeley hosts many leading research institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory. It has also produced alumni that have established notable companies such as Apple, Tesla, Intel, and Morgan Stanley. Berkeley has played vital roles in the discoveries of nuclear medicine, CPU design, flu vaccine, and the atomic bomb.

Berkeley offers many undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of computer science. The university also offers a joint major, double major, simultaneous degree, and Management, Entrepreneurship and Technology (M.E.T.) program. Undergraduate degrees are available in multiple disciplines including electrical engineering and computer sciences.

Research areas in electrical engineering and computer science include artificial intelligence, database management systems, scientific computing, human-computer interaction, biosystems, and computational biology, information, data, network and communication sciences, computer vision and artificial intelligence, and signal processing among others.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the second oldest university that still operates. It was established in 1096. The university does not have a central campus but consists of over thirty colleges and halls with multiple departments functioning under these constituent colleges.

The prestigious alumni list of Oxford boasts of several prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Nobel laureates, many heads of state of different countries, and Olympians. Every student belongs to a college, apart from being a member of their course department and the university. That is, all Oxford students have the benefits of belonging to both a large, world-class university and a small and friendly academic community.

The university offers many graduate and undergraduate programs for computer science program (BA and MCompSci),  Mathematics and Computer Science (BA and MMathComSci), MSc in Advanced Computer Science, MSc in Software and Systems Security, MSc in Software Engineering, Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training), Health Data Science (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training).

Highly specialized courses can be found in other institutions across the world. In order to apply to programs at these institutions, one must focus on improving their basics in subjects such as mathematics, statistics, and computer software programming.

Career options

Students who graduate in computer science and information systems can expect to land opportunities in the technology industry in various roles that include jobs such as software developers, system analysts, network architects, technical support engineers, web developers, researchers, cloud engineers, data scientists, cyber-security engineers and many more. A few of the highest-paid jobs among these are discussed below.

Software developers design, develop and maintain software that is either used by the parent company or is sold to other organizations.

Network architects design the layout of the networks that are used within an organisation and are responsible for maintaining the communication links of the company. The architects are also responsible for planning ahead in terms of the hardware and software for the networks used in the organization in order to accommodate additional users in the future.

Cyber-security engineers design and develop measures that can protect the organization from external entities. They develop network solutions to thwart hacking and other cyberattacks. The engineers are also responsible for identifying cyber threats and using their technical expertise to limit their effect on protected data etc.

Researchers strive to develop state-of-the-art technology that adapts to constantly evolving requirements. They create software, invent top-level hardware, improve existing technology, and most importantly, indulge in academics so that there is knowledge permeation.

These are only a few. Watch this space for our next article where we detail the best career options for computer science and information systems graduates.

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