What is Computer Science?

Computer Science is shaping the future.
A degree in Computer Science can help shape yours.

students adjusting their robot


Michigan CS students adjust their robot prior to a project demonstration.

Computer science is an integral part of our lives, shaping virtually everything from the objects around us to the ways in which we communicate, travel, work, and play. And the computer revolution has just begun – CS is now a key enabler for discovery and innovation in most other fields of endeavor, making it an incredibly relevant course of study.

Computer scientists invent the future by developing architectures and techniques for more advanced computing, and by developing the applications that operate within those frameworks.

Computer science is a powerful force for making a positive difference in the world. Computing has made possible undertakings such as landing the Curiosity rover on Mars, managing patient care to avoid undesired drug interactions, revolutionizing K-12 teaching and learning through the use of mobile devices, and even the creation of a computer that can win at Jeopardy. It’s a field of unbounded potential – get ready to change the world!

What do Computer Scientists do?

Student working in sound lab

A student in the CS sound lab experiments with new interfaces and modalities for musical expression.

A computer scientist combines technical skill with creativity, a design sense, an understanding of the needs of users, and business sense. A computer scientist is an expert in:

  • understanding the possibilities and limitations of computers
  • evaluating alternative software solutions
  • understandingchallenges of projects involving multiple cultures
  • communicating with team members and end users
  • performing/evaluating usability studies
  • identifying relationships between problems and solutions
  • planning and managing projects
  • working effectively and coordinating tasks in interdisciplinary teams
  • giving effective presentations and product demonstrations

Everybody Should Learn to Program

The late Steve Jobs said, “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.” This video on the importance of CS from CodeOrg features Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi.

Even if you don’t feel you want to pursue a career in computer science, you should think about how a CS minor or a few classes in CS could help you.