I attended Syracuse University (SU) in the early 1960's and the first mandatory computer course I took was Lisp (still suitable for Artificial Intelligence programs), the second oldest computer language after Fortran. At that time, SU was working with IBM and hired some AI experts. Now SU specializes in Big Data. So Universities change their computer science emphasis.
A University's major focus regarding computer science can be very different. Universities specialize in many areas--Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Systems, Human-Computer Interfaces, Computer Architecture, Algorithms and Data Structures, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Cryptography, 3D Digital Modeling, Computer Game Programming, Object-Oriented Programming and Design to mention a few . You have to understand what area of the computer industry EXCITES you.
When I finally graduated from SU I received a BS in Management Information Systems (MIS). This degree allowed me to learn as much as I wanted about Computer Science but also learn how computer science is used in business and industry.
I hope this showed you Computer Science major programs in the first two years teach the basic courses but the last two years can be very different from one college to another. Therefore "Best colleges" can be different for potential students.
Leon recommends the following next steps:
- On the Internet, review the Wikipedia summaries for the Computer Science programs in different colleges (Big data -Wikipedia, Cryptography-Wikipedia, etc.).
- Research the Computer Science programs and emphasis for colleges of interest.
- Also important, research the jobs related to these specialties.