What’s the Difference? Information Technology, Computer Science, and Cybersecurity With University of Phoenix

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2019 and 2029, “employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11%.” This makes information technology (IT), computer science and cybersecurity a few of the fastest growing jobs available.

If you are thinking about pursuing a degree in a technology-related field, then you have probably come across these topics. However, even though some people use these terms interchangeably, each focuses on a completely distinct area of study with its own unique requirements, applications and duties.

What is true for all of these technology specializations is that they can typically find jobs in a wide range of businesses and industries, not just tech companies. This can include government, healthcare, education, manufacturing and financial institutions, just to name a few. In this guide, we will break down how each field differs, which careers in these fields cover and what skills you will need to thrive.

What Is Information Technology?

Information technology, or IT, focuses on managing technology and processing information in a business or institution. This is a lot more than just fixing computers and providing tech support. IT personnel oversee a lot of diverse resources including hardware, software, internet, databases, storage, servers and security. For example, IT professionals employed at a university may manage servers and processes involved with student and faculty email accounts, login workflows and other services critical to communication and online program access.

When it comes to implementing security procedures in companies, there may appear to be an overlap between IT and cybersecurity. However, IT cybersecurity duties are far less granular than those of a cybersecurity specialist.

Pursuing a Career in IT

With an information technology bachelor’s degree program, you can learn to be a competitive candidate in a quickly growing industry. The median annual wage for computer and information technology jobs was, according to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, $91,250 in 2020. A few career options include computing services director, information systems director, information systems manager, information systems supervisor, information technology director and information technology manager.

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science also involves an interaction with hardware and software. However, it focuses less on managing technology and more on the processes, engineering and technical aspects that make them work. While someone in IT may help a company roll out devices for employees, someone in computer science plays a role in developing the architecture and software that people use. One unique feature of computer science is its emphasis on computer programming. In this field, having a firm understanding of programming languages is a must.

The difference between IT, computer science and cybersecurity boils down to how your knowledge of technology is applied. In IT, it is often to help businesses manage their resources. In computer science, the focus is typically on creating or developing those resources. And in cybersecurity, individuals work to keep those resources safe.

Pursuing a Career in Computer Science

A bachelor’s degree program in computer science can prepare you for a variety of rewarding jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer system analysts with computer science degrees earned a median annual salary of $93,730 in 2020. These include application developer, application integration engineer, applications developer, computer consultant, information technology analyst, software developer, software engineer and technical consultant.

What Is Cybersecurity?

While IT deals with managing technology and computer science deals with development, someone in cybersecurity specializes in protecting these assets. In business, cybersecurity professionals use their skills to keep computer systems and networks safe from attacks involving malware, phishing, social engineering, hacking, ransomware and any other threat to company or customer resources and information.

Pursuing a Career in Cybersecurity

With a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program, you can enter an exciting and evolving field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for an information security analyst in 2020 was $103,590. Available positions include ethical hacking, risk assessment, computer infrastructure, technical problem solving and enterprise management.

Earning a Degree in IT, Computer Science or Cybersecurity

If you are just starting out your education or career, getting proper background information and skills is necessary to be a competitive candidate. At University of Phoenix, students can complete a bachelor’s degree program in IT, computer science and cybersecurity completely online. These programs typically take four years to complete, encompassing 120 credits. University of Phoenix also offers certificates to help professionals specialize and stay relevant in the industry with upskilling and continuing education.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix offers over 100 programs in business, technology and healthcare and more completely online. With seasoned instructors, a tuition guarantee, and innovative services like lifelong career advising and professional development courses, University of Phoenix can be where your future starts.

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