Computer Science BA vs BS: Which Should You Choose?
When pursuing an undergraduate degree, one of the biggest decisions is whether to opt for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). This dilemma also applies when looking at computer science programs. While the core curriculum has similarities, there are several key distinctions between a BA and BS that change the focus.
How do you know whether a BA or BS in computer science aligns better with your academic and career aspirations? This comprehensive guide examines all the factors to consider.
Computer Science BA vs BS Overview
|Computer Science BA
|Broad, multi-disciplinary education with flexibility in electives, less focus on technical training.
|Computer Science BS
|Intensive preparation in scientific, mathematical, and technical fields, more focus on hard skills.
|Foundational computer science topics are mandatory in both tracks.
|Both BA and BS holders qualify for entry-level roles in software engineering, web development, etc.
|BA allows more humanities and arts electives; BS focuses on advanced technical topics.
|BA for a multidisciplinary approach; BS for specialized technical roles.
|Salary and Job Outlook
|Similar starting salaries and job prospects in the computer science field for both BA and BS graduates.
The Fundamentals: Defining a BA and BS
Before analyzing the contrasts specifically for computer science, let’s establish what each degree represents in general:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees provide a broad, multi-disciplinary education with more flexibility through elective humanities and social science courses. BA programs focus less on technical scientific training.
- Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees offer intensive academic preparation centered around scientific, mathematical and technical fields like computer science, engineering and healthcare. BS programs focus intensely on developing hard skills.
So at a baseline, BS degrees concentrate more on specialized technical competencies, while BA degrees seek to incorporate a wider range of academic exposure outside of a single domain.
Core Similarities Between Computer Science BA and BS
Since BA and BS degrees represent the same four years of undergraduate education, they share certain similarities for computer science:
- Core Curriculum – Foundational computer science topics like programming, algorithms, databases and software engineering are mandatory in both tracks.
- Duration – A full course load results in the typical four year duration to graduate, although accelerated or part-time options may differ.
- Career Prospects – Both BA and BS holders qualify for entry-level roles like software engineering, web development, cybersecurity and data analytics.
- Difficulty – Required classes have comparable rigor and workload. The level aligns closer with individual strengths.
So BA and BS students take equivalent foundational computer science courses while gaining initial qualifications for similar industry positions.
Key Differences Between Computer Science BA and BS
Despite the commonalities, several major differences emerge when comparing computer science BA vs BS programs:
Incorporation of the Arts and Humanities
BA programs integrate more humanities and arts electives like foreign languages, communications, writing and history. This facilitates a interdisciplinary perspective.
Concentration on Technical Specializations
BS programs prioritize advanced computer science topics like machine learning, data science, artificial intelligence and information security. Enables specialization.
Flexibility in Courses
BA degrees allow more flexibility in electives each semester. BS degrees usually mandate rigorous technical curriculum tracks.
Opportunities for Minors and Double Majors
Students completing a BA can more easily pursue minors and double majors across domains like business, social sciences and creative arts.
So while both feature mandatory introductory computer science coursework, the trajectories later diverge between widened exposure vs targeted concentration.
Which Degree is Better for Certain Computer Science Careers?
BA and BS graduates qualify for most entry-level computing roles across industries. However, the specialized focus of each degree can tailor candidates better towards certain career directions:
User Experience Design, Technical Writing, Project Management, Startup Founders, Product Managers
Software Engineering, Data Science, Machine Learning Engineering, Information Security, Quantum Computing
But degree choice does not strictly limit options. Exceptional students can thrive in any computing occupation.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Computer Science Grads
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects over 23% growth in computer science related occupations through 2032, greatly exceeding the all-industry average. Both BA and BS holders capitalize on this trend with median starting salaries averaging above $70,000.
While specialized BS tech skills fetch higher ceilings at elite tech companies, early leadership trajectory matters more. Graduates should focus less on degree differentiators and instead prove capabilities through internships and projects.
What can you do with a computer science degree? The world is your oyster and there are many fields you can venture into once you’ve graduated!
Which Degree Should You Choose? 3 Key Considerations
No universally “superior” option exists between a BA or BS in computer science. Each path caters to different interests and strengths. Concentrate on the following decisions:
- Technical Specialization – Prioritize a BS if aiming to work in hardcore engineering domains like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain or quantum computing.
- Multidisciplinary Approach – Favor a BA if you want to complement computer science with diverse electives across social sciences, communications and creative arts.
- Double Major or Minor – The flexibility of a BA in computer science more easily facilitates concurrently pursuing an additional major or minor field of study such as business, design or psychology.
While technical skills hold importance for any computing role, remember that elite technology employers prioritize demonstrated abilities through projects and internships rather than solely academic credentials when evaluating candidates.
Choosing Between a Computer Science BA or BS
Both the BA and BS offer multiple paths to launch lucrative and rewarding technology careers. While the BS focuses intently on developing specialized programming and systems engineering competencies, the BA encompasses computer science within a more expansive interdisciplinary perspective.
Allow your specific analytical capacities, passions and career goals to shape whether advanced technical concentration or multidimensional breadth proves the ideal undergraduate journey. Maximizing natural strengths while proactively addressing areas for improvement leads to fulfillment.
So rather than getting distracted by debating between the merits of a BA vs BS in computer science, concentrate on pursuing the program aligning best with your interests while enabling skill development through hands-on clubs, projects and internships. The real-world experience matters most.
Educational Pathways for Budding Computer Scientists
Considering a career in computer science? Jessup University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science presents an in-depth program that fuses theoretical foundations with practical application. With options for both in-person and online learning, our approach is adaptable to various educational preferences, allowing students to excel in their chosen format.
What is computer science? It’s the field of study that focuses on computation, information, and automation using computers and computational systems. It’s the backbone and foundation behind software engineering, and can lead you many directions within the tech space.
In-person attendees will benefit from 15-week courses, immersive community involvement, and comprehensive resource access. Those opting for the online route can take advantage of shorter, 7-week courses, flexible scheduling, and six annual start dates. This program offers specializations in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Data Science, Information Technology, and Software Engineering, providing a customized educational journey whether you’re on campus or studying from afar.
Jessup University’s Program Focus Areas and Principal Courses:
- Cybersecurity (Online Only):
- Introduction to Cybersecurity
- Cybercrime and Governance
- Contemporary Cybersecurity
- Network and System Security
- Cyber Forensics
- Data Analytics (Online Only):
- Foundations of Data Analytics I & II
- Data Analytics Principles & Techniques I & II
- Data Analytics Practicum
- Data Science Concentration:
- Data Science 1 & 2
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
- Calculus II, Linear Algebra, Intro to Mathematical Proofs
- Software Engineering Concentration:
- Mobile Computing
- Web Stack Technologies
- Data Structures & Algorithms 2
- Database Systems
Crucial Skills for Success in Computer Science
Prospering in the ever-changing field of computer science is tied to a robust skill set. Jessup University’s program stresses expertise in advanced programming languages, proficiency in modern software development methodologies, and effective technical communication.
The curriculum deepens understanding of computational challenges, their requirements, and constraints. Additionally, it embeds a Christian ethical outlook towards technology, preparing graduates to be proficient and morally responsible in their field.
|Jessup University CS Degree Feature
|15 weeks per course
|7 weeks per course
|Direct interaction, community integration
|Flexible, home-based learning
|Program Focus Areas
|Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Data Science, Software Engineering
|Cybersecurity, Data Analytics (Exclusive to Online)
|Programming, Data Structures & Algorithms, Mobile Computing, Data Science, Database Systems
|Same as on-campus
|Access to campus facilities, peer tutoring, campus events
|Online resources, virtual tutoring
|Standard semester system
|Six enrollment periods annually
|Christian ethics incorporated in studies
|Consistent with on-campus ethics
Chart Your Path with a BS in Computer Science at Jessup University
As you stand at the crossroads of your educational journey, the choice between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science is pivotal. Both degrees share a core curriculum and open doors to burgeoning tech careers, yet they cater to distinct academic preferences and professional trajectories.
Do you envision a career that intertwines technical expertise with a broad understanding of the humanities, or are you driven to dive deep into the specialized realms of technology? Reflect on where your passions lie and how they align with the multifaceted world of computer science.
Jessup University invites you to explore our Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, an immersive program that balances rigorous technical training with a holistic educational approach. Whether you’re drawn to the analytical challenges of cybersecurity or the creative aspects of software engineering, our program offers the flexibility to tailor your education to your aspirations.
Take the decisive step towards your future in technology. For more information on how Jessup University can help you achieve your goals, contact us today!