Unless you are, perhaps quite commendably, endeavoring to live a life whereby computers play as minimal a role as possible in both your professional and personal affairs, regardless of the depth and intricacies of your knowledge surround computing, it is unlikely you will be overlay au-fait with computer science itself.
So, whether you have just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computing, are currently working within the computing industry, or simply have a keen interest in learning, then continue reading to discover everything important relating to the development of computer science and the projected future outlook of the discipline.
What Exactly Is Computer Science?
Fundamentally, computer science is the study of and research into everything related to computers and computing—including but not limited to software and hardware design, computational theory, algorithms, statistical analysis, and the way in which humans interact with and use computers.
There is a plethora of different fields in which one can move into and the transferable skills of learning and studying computer science means that you will not only be highly employable, but you will be afforded a boost of résumé prowess, as well.
Further Education In Computer Science
To gain a professional career in one of the specialist fields of computing and computer science, it is not enough to simply acquire an undergraduate bachelor’s degree.
More pertinently, it is strongly advisable to enroll onto a postgraduate master of computer science online, whereby you can envelop yourself fully in the details of all aspects of computer science and be clearer on which area you see your professional career developing.
There are a myriad of different benefits to choosing to study your postgraduate degree online with a reputable and renowned academic institution, not least the ability to fit your research studies and papers around your other professional and personal commitments.
The Beginnings Of Computer Science
It may be somewhat surprising to learn that the history of computers goes way back to over two hundred years ago when, during the 19th century, in order to solve mathematical problems, calculating mechanical machines were designed and created:
In 1853, a Swedish inventor named Per Georg Scheutz and his son designed the world’s very first printing calculator and this marked the very first machine that actually calculated and printed the results. Thirty-seven years later, in early 1890, the first punch-card system was developed to help calculate and qualify the US Census of that year, and this early example of the use of computer science saved the government over $5 million.
Early 20th Century
In 1931, a university professor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) invented and developed the very first large-scale general-purpose mechanical analog computer (called the Differential Analyzer), and five years later, a British mathematician and scientist named Alan Turing began the research that today’s modern computers are based upon.
Turing released a paper in 1936 entitled ‘On Computable Numbers…’ and in it described his patented principle whereby machines can compute absolutely anything that is in anyway computable.Turing machines form the basis of every single computer that you will use in both your personal and professional lives.
A year later, a physics professor from Iowa State University successfully submitted a grant proposal to build and develop the world’s first electric-only computer, and in 1939 Bill Hewlett and David Packard founded the international computing company Hewlett and Packardin the latter’s garage.
Late 20th Century
In 1953, the world’s first published computer language, Common & Business Language (COBOL), was created by Grace Hopper, who was for this reason alone forever known as the “first lady of software.” Five years later, in 1958, Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby together presented the very first computer chip to the world and in 1968, Douglas Engelbart presented a protype of the modern computer and included a live demonstration of his model complete with a GUI (graphical user interface) and even a computer mouse.
1990s To The Present Day
Computer science steadily began to rise in both accessibility and popularity through the 1990s, especially with the development of graphics and music through the introduction of the Pentium microprocessor in 1993.
In 2003, AMD released the world’s first 64-bit computing processor for personal computers and with the launch of Apple’s MacBook Pro—the world’s first dual-core and Intel-based mobile computer into the public domain in 2004—the majority of people across the length and breadth of the United States started investing in at-home personal computers.
These days, computer science uses a range of different types of media (including social media platforms) to assist artificial intelligence systems and to increase the success and longevity of businesses across the vast spectrum of industry.
Computing and computer science are at the forefront of development and innovation and these days, both smaller and family-run companies (and larger, international corporations)rely heavily on data analysis and collection from various sources across the business in order to grow, expand, and increase their profitability.
The Top Specialisms In Computer Science
Computing and computer science is an exceedingly broad topic and therefore there exist several main fields of specialism.
Following are the fundamental fields of computer science, their functions, and how they contribute to the development and growth of progressing the world of business, and beyond:
Information security, or as most people more commonly refer to it, cybersecurity, is the field of computer science most closely associated with the protection of businesses, and more pertinently the personal data and information that the business stores.
With the exponential rise in the use of computers to store private customer information for businesses across the country—and indeed the rest of the world—the importance of cybersecurity is exponentially on the rise and at the same time, so is the risk of cyberattack.
There is a myriad of ways in which computer scientists work to protect a company from cyberattacks, including but categorically in no way limited to:
- Penetration tester/Ethical hacker: Computer scientists spend their time analyzing and searching the entirety of a computing network (and all related hardware and software systems and packages) for weaknesses where cybercriminals can gain access.
- Compliance and auditing: Examining and reviewing all company policies and procedures is part and parcel of a computer scientist’s role, with a view to recommending changes and adaptations to ensure legal compliance and GDPR guidelines are adhered to.
- Forensic investigation and consultancy: Computer scientists also act upon cybercrime and dissect every step of the process the cybercriminal used to gain accessto the network or system in an effort to prevent the same situation happening again. Additionally, computer scientists are often hired to support claims of cybercrime on behalf of the company, including illegal content and hacker activity.
- Security practice: Computer scientists are sometimes responsible for building, designing, and maintaining security solutions for both computing networks and computers; and this is why such professionals require a deep and detailed understanding of computing protocols, diverse technology, and networking.
One of the most fascinating fields of the computer science specialism is that of network architecture, which reviews, researches, and analyzes the entire computer network and associated technologies as a whole.
Network architecture is also concerned with network modeling, analysis, budgeting, and most crucially, the analysis and usage of data and information to determine technology and network requirements.
Computer scientists who specialize in network architecture are responsible for network specifications and designs to support business models,strategies, and business developments and are an integral part of any company.
The general roles, duties, and responsibilities of a network architect include, but are in no way limited to:
- Working closely with chief technology officers
- Determining the types of networks and hardware solutions that best suit the needs of the specific business they are working alongside
- The planning and development of the chosen networks and the ongoing monitoring and maintenance of each individual component and connection
- Using research and the gathering of information and data to best ascertain and accurately attempt to predict the networking trends in the future
- The creation of layouts for data communication of networks
- Upgrading hardware, including routers and software such as drivers, to best attain optimum network performance
- The presentation of created designs to the client and business management team
Human Vs Computer Interaction
Human vs computer interaction (commonly abbreviated to HCI) is essentially the intensive study of how computers and humans interact and moreover, attempting to improve this interaction within a particular system of computer networks.
Computer scientists who specialize in human vs computer interaction also use skills, knowledge, and experience that they have acquired from other areas, such as psychology, design, and human behavior studies.
It is not exactly mandatory to study computing science at postgraduate level in order to enter the world of human vs computer interaction studies, but it would be strongly advisable, due to the detailed knowledge required to study computing science at master’s level and major in the discipline.
There are several major career pathways which directly work with the development and improvement of the interaction between humans and computers:
Product designers (also known as industrial designers)create, develop, and improve conceptsfor manufactured and readily available products, including children’s toys, kitchen appliances, and even cars.Product designers combine engineering, art, and business to create products and consider a variety of factors in the creation of their products, including production costs, function, usability, and visual aesthetics.
Web Interaction Designer
Web interaction designers basically create and design company websites and are solely responsible not just for the aesthetic visuals of the website, but also for the smooth running and user-friendly nature.
Computer specialists who choose to specialize in web interaction and design and focus on human vs computer interaction are also responsible for the capacity and technical specifications of the website and controlling the proper flow of traffic.
Another specialism within the broad field of computer science is that of graphic design.Computer scientists who primarily concentrate on graphic design use computer software packages and programs to create visually stunning, aesthetic concepts to communicate ideas and concepts that not only inspire, but captivate and inform the consumers.
Graphic designers also develop the product design and overall layout for a variety of applications and programs, from brochures and magazines to commercials and corporate reports.
Computer Usability Engineers
Computer scientists who specialize in computer usability engineering are essentially the most creative people and are responsible for the creation, development, and maintenance of one or more software programs.
In terms of working in the field of human vs computer interaction, computer usability engineers strive to improve this interaction as part of their daily workload and help develop the application they are working on to be more user-friendly.
Skills Required To Work In Computer Science
Computer science is an extremely challenging and rewarding discipline that requires a wealth of knowledge on a range of different topics, and also requires a host of key skills and personality traits for an individual to be successful in the field.
Such pre-requisites required for a career as a computer scientist include:
Computer science is basically rooted in mathematics and as a result, it is important for a prospective student of computer science to be adept in the subject. Furthermore, an interest and aptitude for calculus and algebra would also be helpful .
Digital Marketing Experience
Experience in digital marketing, even on a basic level, will be of huge benefit. Digital marketing is a prominent component of most business models and as a result, regardless of your choice in career, it is always sensible to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals.
Data Science Background
A background in data science is virtually essential for the successful acquisition of a career in computer science. Focused on the analysis and study of big data, data science and data visualization are fantastic tools for computer scientists, regardless of their chosen specialism.
Another essential area of computing where it would be of great benefit to be well-versed in is that of computer programming and programming languages. It is also advisable to learn as much as you can about the process of creating, designing, and implementing a functional and user-friendly computer program.