Study Guide: Computer Science & IT 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.
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 information technology and computer science, 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?
WHAT IS 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.
WHAT IS 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.
Note: While IT deals with assisting businesses with the installation, customization, and maintenance of computing systems, computer science focuses on creating software for computers.
WHAT ARE THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS TO STUDY COMPUTER SCIENCE & IT?
These are the general entry requirements to pursue a computer science & IT degree. Entry requirements for some universities may be higher, so do make sure you check the details carefully.
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)
PATHWAYS TO STUDY COMPUTER SCIENCE & IT
This is the general pathway to study computer science & IT after completing your SPM or IGCSE.
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 or IT 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 & IT 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.
WHAT WILL YOU STUDY IN COMPUTER SCIENCE & IT?
A computer science or IT degree is usually 3 years long. If you study a Diploma in Computer Science or IT instead, it would take around 2 - 2.5 years.
#1 Computer Science
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
Intelligent Systems/Artificial Intelligence
#2 Information Technology (IT)
Studying an IT degree will enable you to plan, implement, configure and manage a company’s technology infrastructure in your career as an IT professional in the future. Here are some of the subjects that you may cover in an IT course:
Information Assurance and Security
Networking and Communication
System Integration and Architecture
In order to complete a computer science or IT degree programme, you could be required to fulfil obligatory work internships. In doing so, you will be able to gain real-world experience that will aid in your ability to comprehend the subjects you are studying.
Note: The curriculum for computer science and information technology courses can be quite similar and there may be some overlap of subjects. This will vary depending on the college and university that you attend.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A COMPUTER SCIENCE & IT DEGREE?
Completing a computer science degree will prepare you for a career in IT consultancies and IT service providers. Organisations in various industries, such as financial services, telecommunications, retail and resources, also employ graduates in computer science and IT.
Here are some careers you can pursue upon graduating with a computer science or IT degree:
Technical Support Engineer
Test Development Engineer
Technical Helpdesk Analyst