During the COVID-19 lockdowns, businesses had begun to adopt digital infrastructure to enhance corporate functions. As a result, the Malaysian digital economy saw substantial growth following the pandemic and it is projected to contribute 22.6% to the nation’s total GDP by 2025. 

The hard work of computer professionals can be seen across many facets of our lives. It is thanks to them that we enjoy the convenience of social media applications like Instagram and TikTok, and work programmes like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Given the meteoric rise of Malaysia’s digital economy, this is a prime opportunity to enter the ICT industry as relevant businesses continue to expand their capacity. 

However, a common dilemma faced by many prospective students is the choice between a Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons.) and a Bachelor of Information Technology (Hons.) Information Systems.

These fields deal with computing systems and share overlapping topics, but there are some notable differences.  It is important to understand what both fields entail before choosing which is more suitable for you. 

What is computer science?

At its core, computer science (CS) is about automating as many tasks as possible that are needed for a solution. The study of CS is concerned with computational principles that help us develop efficient software and systems. 

It should be noted that computational tools are largely worthless without an intended purpose. It is the job of computer programmers to create and proof-test software to ensure it is of high quality, user-friendly and intuitive. Examples of software that have benefited people include those that help organise information (Microsoft Word & Excel) or facilitate communications (Whatsapp, Telegram).

What is information technology?

Information technology (IT) experts are, in essence, the bridge between computer software and human input. Their job is to assist companies with efficiently utilising software products. In comparison to computer science, information technology focuses on the function of computers and their network systems.

To ensure that corporate systems and databases can run smoothly, IT professionals are in charge of designing, developing and implementing information systems that help smoothen processes such as corporate decision-making and managing employee profiles. 

IT experts are also expected to perform routine maintenance, troubleshooting and provide digital solutions when issues arise in both software and hardware.

What’s the difference between the two and how do I choose?

In summary, CS focuses on developing efficient software while IT helps people make use of computers more effectively. The choice between the two is often very individualistic and depends on one’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

CS majors are expected to use critical thought, abstract reasoning, and logic – all mathematical principles – to inform their programming and coding. A strong grasp of mathematics is a great gateway to understanding the language of computing.

IT graduates on the other hand tend to have a strong understanding of business principles and verbal communication skills that complement their computing prowess. This is because IT professionals must first understand the nature of corporate issues and work alongside their peers to develop effective digital solutions.

When faced with a critical decision, it is important to take the time to self-reflect on which is most suited to your strengths and interests. Consider asking family and friends for a second opinion on your capabilities, and do not rush into a decision.

Study computer science and information technology at MMU

At Multimedia University (MMU), there are personal and educational counselling services to help students choose the most suitable course. Students can also voice their concerns regarding their career choices and overall course experience.

Regardless of the choice between computer science or information technology, computing experts are likely to become more valued in the coming years due to the digitalisation of everyday life. 

With ties to industry giants such as AWS, Huawei, Motorola, Red Hat and Fortinet, MMU’s Faculty of Computing and Informatics (FCI) offers ample opportunities for students to hone their technical expertise through practical industrial exposure.

MMU also offers programmes at all levels of tertiary education, including foundation, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate options. These programmes help students familiarise themselves with the latest technologies and keep up with the ever-changing demands of modern computing.

For more information about MMU’s courses, click here