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What are the advantages of a Computer Science major compared to a Computer Programmer major?

I am interested in a career in the computer technology field but am uncertain as to which major would open the most doors for gainful employment. Additionally, I am interested in computer animation and game design and would like to be able to use some of the required classes in my major(comp. science or comp programming) toward a certification in this field also.

#computer-science #computer-games #computer-software

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Jeff’s Answer

Hi Kelle,

Very good question! If you are truly passionate about game development, I would suggest you look at Full Sail University: www.fullsail.edu/ They are focused on game development as well as other aspects including design. However, I would warn you that with a focused degree you do limit your career options a bit. But, once you learn the basics of programming and a few languages, those skills can be translated to most other languages. Bottom line, it shouldn't limit you very much outside of game development.

Additional advice as far as game development industry, I recommend that you get on LinkedIn and check other social media and find small development companies, owners and employees. You can make contact and ask a few questions. Be very mindful of their time. It's a good way to start networking and get answers from those in the industry.

As far as your actual question, there is not really a computer programming degree, per se. Computer science is usually the programming focused degree. Software engineering is the process focused degree. Computer engineering is more of a hardware focused degree and information technology is a more general degree. However, it does differ from school to school. You should pick a few schools you are interested in, look for the computer related degrees and check the course requirements. If you have questions at that point, you can either contact the college or post on here.

Best of luck!

Jeff
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Jake’s Answer

Typically Computer science is a broader area of learning that includes theoretical foundation of information and computation providing knowledge of the frameworks (like algorithms and protocols) used in information processing (how these models are used to transform data).
Computer programming on the other hand would include learning and mastering specific computer programming languages like C++, XNA Game studio, Java/Flash, Gamemaker etc….in other words, any coding language (and platform) that is being used today by major game software developers.
You would have to identify the curriculum of the specific institution you intend to enroll in but in my view, a good computer science degree should include computer programming. Not all universities are consistent – hence the need to investigate closely and see if you need to take specific electives.
To be a good game developer, you will need to know programming languages used in that domain (mentioned above). In addition, I would strongly suggest reaching out to major game developers to see if they have internships or job shadowing opportunities and express a strong passion for the subject. For instance, I looked at http://steamrollerstudios.com/careers/ to see if they accept interns. I’m sure there are other similar game developer companies. Another way of pursuing this interest is to develop some sample (small) games with free software that is out there http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/five-free-game-development-tools-make-your-own-games/ and showcasing that as an example of your passion.

computer programming computer-science
Thank you comment icon This is so helpful. I really appreciate all the time you took to give me such a comprehensive answer. I learned a lot from it and will follow your advice to investigate the curriculum requirements at each school I am considering. Thank you so much. Kelle
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Hanish’s Answer

Advantage of majoring in CS is that CS is a very broad area compared to computer programming which will likely only focus on programming. But the advantage of that would is working on and learning more applied programming based projects. Which will help you develop practical CS skills faster.
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