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Study Guide: Computer Science in Malaysia

The Fourth Industrial Revolution IR (4.0) will cause a continued increase in the demand for specialists in the technology sector. It is predicted that the majority of traditional jobs will be automated as technology spreads. While some may find this news unsettling, it is definitely positive news for individuals seeking a career in Computer Science and Information Technology (IT). 

Although many people consider Computer Science and Information Technology (IT) to be the same thing, they actually have separate goals and duties in the industry. Although there are some similarities between Computer Science and Information Technology (IT), there are also significant differences. But let's start by answering the one question that comes to everyone's mind: How are the courses different?

Computer Science

 

Computer Science is the study of computers and their operation, primarily from a theoretical and mathematical standpoint. The four main computing areas covered in this course are theory, algorithms, programming languages, and architecture.


The usage of Computer Science in our daily life has grown commonplace, from the movies you watch on your smartphone during long LRT travels to how the entire LRT system operates. Even the most popular apps you use, like Instagram, Grab, and Waze, depend on Computer Science to function.

Within the field of Computer Science, there are various specialisations such as:

  • Algorithms and Data Structures: Relates to the study of computational methods and algorithms (steps of commands for data processing) and their computational efficiency.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Involves the creation of intelligent machines that can mimic human cognitive functions such as ‘’learning’’ and ‘’problem solving’’.

  • Computer Graphics and Visual Computing: Focuses on the manipulation of visual content and the use of computers to develop 2D and 3D graphics using special graphics software.

  • Computer Security / Cybersecurity: Encompasses the protection and recovery of computer systems, networks, devices and programmes from theft, damage or other forms of disruption.

  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI): The study of computer technology design and how humans interact with computers.

  • Programming Languages: Specialises in designing, implementing and analysing programming languages.

Information Technology (IT)

 

Information Technology (IT) broadly speaking refers to every aspect of computers. However, in education, it is the use and upkeep of computer technology to meet the needs of businesses and organisations.


Students will learn how to apply Internet technology and apps to resolve practical issues in this course. Computer hardware and software, software development, web programming, web technologies, and e-commerce are some of the study fields. 

Differences Between Computer Science & IT

 

While there is overlap between Computer Science and Information Technology (IT), they have distinct focuses. Computer Science is more theoretical and focused on innovation, algorithms, and software design, whereas Information Technology (IT) is more applied, dealing with the implementation and management of computer systems and technologies to support business needs.

Computer Science
Key Difference
Information Technology (IT)
Is more concerned with the theory and design of software and systems
Focus
Is more focused on the practical application of computer systems to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data
Engage in creating new programming languages, developing algorithms for various applications, or advancing the theoretical aspects of computation
Nature of Work
Is typically involved in the implementation, management, and maintenance of computer systems
Is more concerned with problem-solving and creating innovative solutions
Skills
Is more application-oriented, focusing on the practical implementation of technology to meet the needs of businesses or organizations
Emphasizes theoretical concepts, mathematics, and algorithmic thinking
Education & Training
Focuses on the practical application of technology.
Computer Science graduates often pursue careers as Software Developers, Computer Scientists and may also specialize in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, or data science
Career Paths
IT professionals can have roles such as network administrators, system analysts, IT managers, cybersecurity analysts, database administrators, and support specialists

Entry Requirements to Study Computer Science

 

These are the general entry requirements to pursue a Computer Science degree.  Entry requirements for some universities may be higher, so do make sure you check the details carefully.

SPM/O-Level:

  • A pass with 5 credits including Mathematics and/or Additional Mathematics (applicable to STPM, Government Matriculation and Pre-University programmes)

  • A pass with 3 credits including Mathematics and/or Additional Mathematics (applicable to diploma qualification)

Pathway to Study Computer Science

This is the general pathway to study Computer Science after completing your SPM or IGCSE.

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Step 1: Complete STPM/UEC/Pre-university programme for 1-2 years. You can also opt to be enrolled in diploma programmes in Computer Science for 2.5 years.

Step 2: Once you graduate with a diploma, you can choose to go straight to the workforce.

Step 3: If you want to pursue a Computer Science degree, enrol in a 3-year degree programme.

Step 4: Once you've completed your degree, you can choose to go straight to the workforce.

Subjects in Computer Science Degree

 

A Computer Science degree is usually 3 years long. If you opt to study a Diploma in Computer Science, it would take around 2 - 2.5 years and another 2 years for Bachelor in Computer Science as you are eligible to enter your 2nd year of bachelor's degree right after you complete your diploma programme.

A Computer Science degree will give you the fundamental knowledge of programming tools, mathematical concepts and software development technology. Here are some of the core topics that you may learn in a Computer Science course:

Algorithms and Data Structures

Computer Architecture

Human-Computer Interaction

Operating Systems

Programming Languages

and Computation

Intelligent Systems/Artificial Intelligence

Job Prospects with A Computer Science Degree

 

A Computer Science degree opens up a wide range of exciting and diverse career opportunities. The field of Computer Science is dynamic and constantly evolving, with a high demand for skilled professionals. Here are some popular career paths you can pursue after earning a Computer Science degree:​​​​

Software Developer

Cybersecurity Analyst

Artificial Intelligence Engineer

System Analyst

Network Administrator

Quantum Computing Researcher

Data Analyst

Database Administrator

Cloud Solutions Architect

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