Spot the difference…

What’s the difference between Computer Science and ICT?

After speaking to Year 9 today about their option choices for next year, one thing that I felt needed a bit more time was to give more detail on the differences between Computer Science and ICT.

It’s not unusual for these two terms to be confused, and in fact, there is a lot of overlap between them. A person in either discipline will be familiar with most common computer programs and be very ‘tech savvy’ in general. The difference comes down to the focus of each discipline.

Computer Science is focused on creating new applications for computers. This means that computer scientists must have a deeper understanding of computers, algorithms, programming languages, theory and so on.

Information and communications technology focuses on how to best employ the programs out there. This means that information and communication technology professionals need to know about existing applications, how they interact, how they are best used and how to troubleshoot problems between them.

Again, this is not to say that a computer scientist won’t know how to troubleshoot two conflicting programs or that an ICT professional won’t know how to program. However, each type of professional has a different focus.

It is a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s not incorrect to say that computer scientists focus on building programs, while ICT professionals focus on running them.

You can have a more in-depth discussion about this with your ICT (or should that be Computer Science?) teacher, and for Year 9 pupils and their parents/carers, there will be further opportunity to speak to us next Thursday evening.