Information technology is evolving fast, and with a degree in Computer Science you can be a part of exciting developments and projects in business and academia.
While IT is a field that’s open to career changers or self-taught developers, a university degree in Computer Science really pays off. The value of a Bachelor or Master in Computer Science lies in the theoretical foundations you’ll learn with it. You don’t just “hack away” - you’ll be equipped with a better understanding of core concepts allowing you to grow further along the way.
But it isn't always just “Computer Science”. There are a lot of sub-disciplines you can specialise in, each with their own unique characteristics:
Let’s explore them in detail:
Over the past years, the field of AI has progressed at a fast pace. “Artificial Intelligence” has become one of those buzzwords used by many but understood by few. With a degree focusing on AI and Machine Learning you can change that: Many universities are now offering degrees specialising in the field, both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level. AI will play an increasingly important role in technological applications of the future, and that makes this a promising education choice.
Companies are complicated entities with myriads of workflows through which they handle staggering amounts of information. The backbone of that is an IT infrastructure and landscape built to support businesses. With a degree in Business Information Systems, you prepare for a career at the intersection of business requirements and technological implementation - and you are also equipped to grow into both directions, either becoming more of a business leader or a technical expert later on.
Bachelors or Masters that are simply called “Computer Science” usually offer a broad spectrum of modules across various fields - theory, programming, hardware engineering, cyber security, artificial intelligence and so on. Especially at the undergraduate level this could be a good choice: With such a foundation you’ll get a sense of the big picture and you’re able to explore different areas to see what you’re most interested in for your career or for your Master’s degree. It pays off to check the curriculum: Which course modules are mandatory - and where do you have electives, meaning how many subjects can you pick yourself?
Data is everywhere: The key questions for businesses, organisations, and governments are what data is relevant, and how to analyse it to get to the insights they’re looking for. In a Bachelor or Master focusing on Data Science, Big Data or Data Analytics you should expect foundations of Mathematics but most importantly a deep-dive into database technologies and analytical methods and tools.
Video games are exciting, they’re popular - and ultimately they’re just software! The gaming landscape is diverse, and programming is a core part of any video game production. While you can become a video game developer with any educational background, specialised Game Development Bachelors and Masters are now widely available at many universities all over Europe. A video game degree typically covers foundations of Computer Science and teaches you the most relevant programming languages and production tools while giving you insight into how games are made, well beyond a “normal” Computer Science degree. For a fast entry into the exciting video game sector, this is the right choice.
The health sector has its own complexities, and in a Health Informatics degree programme you specialise in IT applications for various medical purposes. Typically, this means acquiring health information (diagnostics), processing patient data (with important requirements for privacy and encryption) and drawing conclusions from it (nowadays often with the support of artificial intelligence). You might become an expert in relevant software, or the hardware, or a mix of both. If the Bachelor/Master is meant to prepare for medicine in a laboratory context, it might also cover aspects of Bioinformatics.
We use technology in manifold ways - with keyboard and mouse, by touching screens, with our voice, et cetera. In this niche, degree programmes cover aspects like user interface design (UI), user experience (UX) or what you may know as “product design”. Courses often cover aspects of development and technology as well as design.
“Informatics” is mostly used interchangeably with “Computer Science”, although if this is the name of a study programme, it can also hint at a more theoretical curriculum that’s heavy on Mathematics. Here it can pay off to have a look at the course modules that await you: If you’re expecting to learn many practical applications of Information Technology but find a large number of Maths modules, you might want to look for another study option at the same or a different university.
If your passion lies mainly with programming, and you’re excited about developing software, then a degree in Software Engineering is the right preparation for a fruitful career. Learning programming (and various programming languages) is a big part of that, but it’s also much more: In a Software Engineering degree you’ll be taught systematic approaches to development, including aspects like IT architecture, design, testing and maintenance.
1205 Computer Science & IT Programmes in Europe