I am interested in pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Universities I've reviewed have "Major In Computer Science" , but give "Bachelor's in Informatics or Computing". There is no "Bachelors In CS", I simply couldn't find it. So are Informatics and Computing the same as CS ? or IT?

When I was looking for programming jobs, degree requirements were mostly CS. If I go to the university I mentioned above (Major in CS, but Bachelor's in Informatics), will I be able to write in my CV that I have CS knowledge?

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    "Informatics" is a synonym for "Computer Science," but neither of those is a synonym for "IT." – aeismail Feb 19 '14 at 20:15
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    Are you looking at schools in Europe or the United States? From what I understand, some European schools traditionally describe computer science as informatics. – Twitch Feb 20 '14 at 0:49
  • @aeismail Would you tell us what is the difference between IT and Computer Science/Informatics ? – Hawk Feb 20 '14 at 5:04
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    @aeismail Informatics is a synonym for computer science in Europe, but definitely not in the US. – JeffE Feb 20 '14 at 5:34
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    @hawk (In the US) The difference between CS and IT is analogous to the difference between biology and medicine: CS covers the theory behind computing, IT covers the application of computing to daily life. – trutheality Feb 20 '14 at 19:57

This greatly depends on the country the university is in, and the language spoken there. For example:

  • In Croatia, informatics and IT are really roughly a same thing. What you want to study, in the strongest technical uni in the country, would correspond to something maybe best translated as computer studies (with a possible specialization in computer science).

    A computer scientist from Croatia speaking with another Croatian might get slightly offended if somebody called him an informatician.

  • In France, the only term they have to describe computer science is informatique, and the person doing that for a living would be informaticien.

    Many French people will be talking about "informatics" when speaking in English.

  • When I personally speak in English, I would never mix the terms computer science, and informatics. If I wanted to refer to somebody who might not be doing research (any more) I might switch to computing, or be more specific with the field.

    I might be biased since I'm Croatian and come from that culture, and I'm not fully sure what the difference between IT and informatics is, but there's a definitive difference between informatics and CS in my mind.

The bottom line would be: don't look at the Universities title when choosing, look at their program instead. Look for classes whose descriptions match your interests and skills you want to obtain. If the program matches with your interests, that that is most probably the right university for you (without talking about the Uni's quality right now).

  • I live in Georgia. Faculty is called CS so I suppose they mean CS? They "teach" C#, C++ and Java. I don't really care about courses as here the only way to get education in programming is internet, so I just want to get the right bachelors. – Misho Metreveli Feb 20 '14 at 10:40
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    @MishoMetreveli If you want to pursue a career beyond your home country, people would most likely ask what you know, instead of what your degree is called back home. I understand the confusion, but I recommend not getting stuck to the names/titles, but focus on being really good in what you want to do. – posdef Feb 20 '14 at 10:52
  • Yeap I understand and learn a lot on my own, from internet, books,courses and will work as a freelancer to get some experience. But as I know when you send a CV they are just filtering it and people who have no bachelors in mostly CS or rarely I.T. don't get employed while they may have more experience than others. – Misho Metreveli Feb 20 '14 at 11:02
  • As an additional example that you may (or may not, no problem) want to add: In German, Informatik is the only common term. Computer science (or any direct translation from that) is often seen as a misnomer for the university discipline, because that evokes incorrect assumptions about being inherently connected to computers (the machines) rather than the theory of information and how it is processed (i.e. "informatics"). IT has a more practically oriented and more general scope, referring to any slightly development-related job from software development to web or multimedia design. – O. R. Mapper Sep 9 '14 at 16:28

Sadly, I believe the most accurate answer is: it depends on who you ask.

Examples: Where I live, there is Whatcom Community College which has a Computer Science degree that dates back to the 1990s or earlier. It was largely about "computer programming" (which I'm going to mix together with "software development" as basically describing the same thing). A local state university WWU's Computer Science department also focused on computer programming.

In contrast, WCC's "Information Technology" (a.k.a. "IT") focuses more on tasks about how to set up and maintain computer networks and already-created computer software.

However, when I became a college instructor, I met a co-instructor who had an older Computer Science degree from another state (California), and he was not a programming expert. His expertise was in handling computer networking and troubleshooting situations on networks that were already set up. When I spoke to some business leaders (managers/owners) and told them my opinion of Computer Science referring to programming and IT referring to implementations, the majority disagreed and felt like my terms were reversed.

penelope's answer goes to show that people have different opinions. I would be inclined to go the safe route, and assume that Informatics, like the other terms, are actually not completely defined by a single centralized source that everybody agrees with. If you think you can get more specific based on some patterns or trends that you notice, I caution you to be careful because my experiences indicates that people don't universally use the terms the same way. So if you're making an important decision based on what you think the terms mean to some people, then verify before proceeding with any dependent assumption.

(Despite all that I just said, I've still noticed nationwide posts do seem to refer to skills like technical support, and upgrading/maintaining infrastructure like handling backups and network services as being "IT".)

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