Computer Science BA vs. BS

computer science ba vs bs

Computers are a big part of our daily lives both at home and at work. Degrees involving computers are very popular today because the jobs they offer are typically in demand. Computer science is a field that offers various degree options, and these options can lead to promising careers and good wages. A bachelor’s degree is the most chosen degree. The biggest dilemma is Computer Science BA vs. BS. Read on to learn the similarities and differences between the two.

Similarities between a BA and a BS in Computer Science

When trying to decide on Computer Science BA vs. BS, the first step is learning a little about both degree options. Some colleges offer both the BA and BS in computer science, while others may only offer one or the other. Knowing the answer to the Computer Science BA vs. BS question can make decision-making a lot easier. Let’s start with the similarities.

Both programs are flexible programs offered as on-campus programs or as online programs. In most cases, both programs can be completed in about four years. The online version can take more or less time than the on-campus version because students can work at their own pace.

The core curriculum in both programs is quite similar. Both programs will require the student complete core computer science courses like:

  • Hardware
  • Computer science fundamentals
  • Advanced computer languages
  • Discrete structures
  • Architecture
  • Algorithms
  • Artificial learning

In addition to the core courses, both programs require students to complete advanced mathematics, calculus, statistics and probability, and linear algebra. Graduates of either program can pursue careers in computer programming, software development, and web development to name just a few. Students will complete a capstone project in the last semester in both programs.

Differences between a BA and BS in Computer Science

The main difference between the BA and BS in Computer Science is in the academics. While the BS program focus in on the technical part of computer science, the BA program includes a curriculum rich in liberal arts. For instance, a BS program might include courses in digital forensics, cybersecurity, DevOPs, while a BA might include courses in history, public speaking, and psychology.

Students interested in pursuing a computer science area of specialization or an advanced degree generally choose the BS in Computer Science. Students interested in learning about both computer science and the humanities typically choose the BA in Computer Science. The BA program includes fewer science courses and is a much easier program for students who want a double major. A double major is usually not possible for students in the BS program. The BA program allows students to be more creative when choosing a career because the curriculum is blended with computer science and liberal arts. The BS program, which has a more rigid schedule, is ideal for students who want a technical career.

The best way to describe the similarities is that graduates of a BS program will most likely pursue careers working with computers. They may become computer programmers, network architects, computer support specialists, or something related to working with computers. A graduate of BA program may also pursue many of these same jobs, but they have the option to not work on computers. The liberal arts addition to the BA program allows them to branch out into other areas.

Advantages of a BS in Computer Science

When comparing the BS and BA in computer science, they both come out as excellent degrees. Neither one is better than the other. They’re just different, and each one is geared to prepare students for specific careers. It just comes down to what the student wants to do for a career. The advantages of a BS in Computer Science include:

  • Graduates have various career options.
  • Students can study computer science and choose from many minors in computer science.
  • It’s a good program for students who enjoy math and science.
  • Graduates can join the workforce immediately after graduation.

Advantages of a BA in Computer Science

The advantages of a BA in Computer Science include:
  • Graduates can pursue many careers in computer science.
  • Graduates can pursue careers not related to computer science.
  • BA degrees are offered online and on campus.
  • Students graduate with a strong background in liberal arts.
  • This program may be cheaper because BS programs often require additional credits.

Career Differences

Here are some possible career options for each of the computer science degrees along with annual average salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The predicted job growth for 2021-2031 is also listed. Keep in mind that while one group is for the BA, and the other group for the BS, many of these careers apply to both degrees.

Graduates of the BA in Computer Science may find these career options:

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers – These professionals provide maintenance on computer systems and recommend upgrades and service for optimum performance. Their average yearly wage was $159,010 as of 2021. BLS predicts job growth of 16% for these workers.
  • Computer Hardware Engineers– Computer hardware engineers research computer operating systems and make changes and improvements to improve the computer’s performance. Their average annual wage was $128,170 in 2021. Their expected job growth is 5%.
  • Computer Network Architects – These professionals design both wide area and local area networks as well as perform maintenance on the networks. They typically work for large corporations. Their average annual wage was $120,520, and their predicted employment growth is 4%.
  • Computer Programmers – Computer programmers write and test codes use to make computer programs work as they should. Computer programmers may also work with back-end development. They earn an average annual salary of $93,000. These workers are predicted to see a 10% increase in job growth.
  • Software Developers – These trained professionals design and test software for computer programs and games. As of May 2021, software developers earned an average wage of $109,020. They can expect a job growth of 25% between 2021 and 2031.
  • Information Security Analyst – These workers provide security for a company’s computer system and network. They also analyze the system for any new security threats. Information security analysts earned an annual wage of $102,600.They are predicted to see a job growth of 35% by 2031.

Graduates of the BA in Computer Science may find these career options:

  • Web Developer and Digital Designer – These professionals design web pages and create functional user interfaces using their knowledge of marketing and computer language. Web developers and digital designers earned about $78,300. They’re also expected to see job growth of 23% between 2021 and 2031.
  • Special Effects Artists and Animators – These professionals use their knowledge of animation and special effects to create graphics for games and movies. They earned about $78,790 annually and can expect a 5% increase in jobs.
  • Graphic Designer – Graphic designers use computer software to create designs for ads and print. As of 2021, they earned an average annual wage of $50,710. The BLS predicts a 3% job growth for graphic designers.
  • Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators – These professionals use their knowledge of computer science to operate editing software and cameras. They can expect a job growth of 12% by 2031. Their average annual wage was $60,360 as of May 2021.
  • Art Directors – Art Directors are in charge of the art designs in newspapers, books, magazines, and even movies. Their average annual wage in 2021 was $100,890 with an expected job growth of 4% by 2031.
  • Forensic Science TechniciansForensic science technician professionals collect, store, and analyze evidence used in a criminal investigation. Their average annual wage in 2021 was $61,930, and they are predicted to see an 11% job growth by 2031.

Why Earn A Bachelor’s in Computer Science?

Whether you choose to pursue a BS in Computer Science or a BA in Computer Science, you’re making a great career choice. We may not want to admit it, but computing is a big important part of our world today, and it’s here to stay. Computers and computer technology are part of the world we live in today.

They’re in the movies we view, the vehicles we drive, and also part of every business. Computing can be found in engineering, business, research, and even in the sciences. Computing jobs are very much in demand and are also some of the highest-paying jobs. Having a bachelor’s degree in computer science is very beneficial.

This degree not only teaches you about computers, computer systems, and computer technology but also about so much more. A computer science degree delves into the area of mathematics, engineering, and sciences. It provides students with a fountain of knowledge as well as logical thinking and great problem-solving skills.

These are all skills and attributes that can be beneficial in other jobs that are not computer related. Having good computing abilities can help you in many jobs in many fields. You can never know too much about computers and computing. A bachelor’s degree in computer science is a great career choice.