Is computer programming distinct from computer science?

I am reading about computer science, and I keep running into numerous terms -- like computer programming, software engineering, software development, and many others. Are these things distinct from computer science as a field of study, or do they all belong to the same general field of study? If the latter, what is the name of that general field of study?

4 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Although there are various definitions of "programming" and "computer science", generally, I think of computer programming as the prerequisite of computer science, in much the same way that arithmetic is a prerequisite for mathematics. Just like knowing how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide is useful but is only the very beginnings of mathmatics (in which algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, discrete math, etc) all build on top of basic arithmetic, computer science is a discipline that requires, but is a lot bigger than, just programming.

    For instance, in a college setting, almost all upper-level computer science courses are taught in lecture halls, with either just a blackboard or a powerpoint presentation. Only the introductory programming courses take place in a computer cluster.

    Computer science is closely related to programming, but its foundations is more closely aligned with mathematics. For instance, the question of how you would go about sorting a deck of cards is a computer science question. You can prove certain properties, such as how much longer it would take to sort a deck of cards that had twice as many cards (say, if you had two decks of cards for a total of 104 cards, how much longer would it take to sort than just a single deck).

    As far as jobs go, most computer science graduates will likely end up in software engineering or some other form of programming. Graduate school study and academic professors can and do study the theoretical side of computer science though.

    Even though ultimately, lots of computer science majors end up "just" doing programming, I'd say that the code quality and background gained from a comp sci education is far stronger than one could achieve merely by studying programming itself. Computer science includes programming, but is also so much more!

  • 10 years ago

    CIS includes the math, the database specialties. When I was at the university the choice was 2 years of higher math to be a code monkey, or 4 years of math that included statistics and business math to be a Database Administrator. So, our department was CIS and included programming or DBA. The other specialty was Computer Engineering. That was a 5 year degree and was hardware-intensive -- not for the faint of heart.

  • 6 years ago

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  • levis
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    workstation technological information preceded utility Engineering with the help of a pair of many years. immediately, utility Engineers do lots of what CS grads used to do. utility Engineers are first genuine Engineers, then utility experts. They get most of the decrease branch classes "ordinary" engineers get (and CS scholars do no longer), so utility Engineers can develop into authorized expert Engineers.

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