14 Fields of Computer Science To Explore as a Career Choice

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 28, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated September 28, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Computer science is a composition of several fields and specializations. The discipline is part of a larger group of computer-related disciplines, such as computer engineering, software engineering, information systems, and information technology. Understanding the fields of computer science is vital to determining what area you can specialize in as you pursue your interests. In this article, we discuss what the fields of computer engineering involve and outline 14 fields you can explore.

What are the fields of computer science?

The fields of computer science involve various disciplines under computer science. Generally, computer science is a discipline that deals with the study of computers, computing, and computational systems. This includes their algorithmic and theoretical bases. It focuses on the development, theory, design, and application of software and its systems. In turn, computer science fields involve the various subsets that exist within this general discipline. These fields often overlap, making it possible for a computer scientist in one field to act in other computer science fields.

Due to the diverse nature of computer science, a computer scientist's responsibilities can span from decoding abstract issues to human and computer interaction. Nevertheless, because the earth is becoming more interconnected, computer science skills have become increasingly necessary for the present day and the future. Disciplines like mathematics and engineering serve as influences for the foundations of computer science, making the design of the electronic circuit and the study of statistics, probability, and queuing theory relevant.


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Fields of computer science

Computer science has a diverse number of fields and specializations, each with its different applications. Here are some of the fields of computer science:

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is the field of computer science that deals with a computing system's capacity to resolve challenges, make forecasts, or complete intricate assignments. It involves having computers learn to undertake functions and resolve problems without external help. The field of artificial intelligence also comprises designing and analyzing independent agents interacting rationally with their environment. Artificial Intelligence applications leverage recent technology that translates spoken and written words and machine learning to make predictions. Common careers in the field of artificial intelligence include AI researchers, architects, and machine learning engineers.

Related: What Does a Robotics Engineer Do? (With Skills)

2. Human-computer interface

This field of computer science deals with the numerous ways through which people interact, communicate, and relate with computers. This relationship can be through websites, virtual reality, mobile devices, and voice-enabled speakers. In turn, this field concerns itself with creating efficient relations between human users and computers. Professionals in this field also deal with designing the interface that aids and supports human users and computers. Disciplines like anthropology, psychology, sociology, and engineering are the foundation disciplines from which this field derives inspiration. Examples of careers in this field include user experience, research, and design.

3. Game design

This computer science field involves the creation of lifelike images that characterize modern games. It also extends to machine learning and artificial intelligence applications that help evaluate players' progress through games. Game design relates to how front-end designers, back-end designers, and developers work together to design an excellent product experience. Examples of careers in this field of computer science include video game designers, programmers, and software engineers.

4. Computer networks

This computer science field involves designing, analyzing, and implementing networks that connect computers. Some of these networks include local-area networks, mobile networks, and wide-area networks. In addition, this field seeks to determine how entities use networks to trade information with external and internal collaborators. Computer networks generally connect computers through infrared signals, radio waves, TV cables, communication satellite links, or a combination of any or all of them. Careers in this field include network administrators, analysts, and architects.

5. Graphics in computers

This field deals with the images that computer scientists use in several software applications. These include computer designs, games, and multimedia publishing. Essentially, this field considers the control and display of images on screens of computer devices. Computer graphics comprise rendering, animation, visualization and modelling, and effectively incorporating them into one another. Useful applications in this field comprise CAD, fine arts, and graphics design. Computer scientists leverage these applications to create images for all types of devices regardless of the size of the display screens, bandwidth, and system memory. They also work to ensure the images are realistic.

6. Information security

This field of computer science deals with managing all the aspects of an entity's security. This includes the entity's storage hardware, networks, and software applications. Computer scientists in this field ensure the protection of information systems by securing the system's integrity, availability, confidentiality, and authentication. This field requires an in-depth understanding of the components of a network system, including its vulnerabilities. It also requires an understanding of the various ways that external and internal sources can exploit information systems. Computer scientists in these fields usually undergo training in database management, advanced encryption, cryptography, and advanced operating systems.

7. Data science

Data scientists specialize in extracting insightful information by mining large datasets. Computer scientists leverage several methods and techniques to extract and analyze the datasets. Some of these techniques involve statistics, data analysis, engineering, mathematics, and data visualization. This field is also essential in dealing with big data, a large, trustworthy dataset that comes in at great velocity and variety. Common careers in this field include data analysts, information scientists, and database administrators.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Data Science as a Career

8. Programming languages

Computer scientists in this field are commonly skilled in writing and scripting codes in multiple programming languages. These languages are expressions programmers use to execute software to work on a computer. Some of these languages include python, javascript, SQL, visual basic, and C++. Computer scientists in this field commonly understand the essential variations between programming languages. Careers in this field include full-stack web developers, software programmers, game developers, and mobile application developers.

Related: Understanding the Difference Between Coding vs. Programming

9. Software engineering

Software engineers are computer scientists who specialize in the development of applications. Usually, they have an interest in the protocols and systems that the applications they develop use. The field concerns itself with building trustworthy software systems by applying computing knowledge, practice, and theory. These systems satisfy a customer's or user's computing demands. Computer scientists in this field commonly leverage engineering principles to develop their applications, becoming named software engineers. In addition, this field shares similarities with the programming language field as they have similar functions.

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10. Systems

This field of computer science aids entities in efficiently leveraging the hardware, services, and software that their employees use daily. Professionals in this field ensure the optimal performance, productivity, and security of the hardware, services, or software system that such an entity uses. These systems also comprise internal systems and span across a variety of external products. Computer scientists in this field include systems administrators and analysts. Some of their responsibilities include diagnosing hardware and software issues and modifying the systems to improve performance.

11. Theory

This field specializes in complicated mathematical theories and concepts which relate to the computer science discipline. These concepts and principles include cryptography, approximation algorithms, randomness, and computational algebra. Generally, these various concepts help in studying system and data processing methods like distributed and parallel computing. In addition, computer scientists commonly have mathematical and analytical skills, predictive modelling skills, and probability skills. Some of the professionals in this field include machine learning engineers and data scientists.

12. Scientific computational applications

In this field, computer scientists use computer algorithms and simulational capabilities to forecast the results of scientific experiments. This field is vital because these algorithms undertake experiments that scientists cannot conduct physically. For example, some experiments are too large to be accurately conducted without a digital model. Unlike many other computer science fields, computer scientists collaborate with physical scientists for scientific computational applications. Here, the physical scientists design the experiments, while the computer scientists develop the digital models to carry out the experiments accurately.

13. Algorithms and data structures

This field of computer science deals with the interaction between algorithms and data structures to optimize them for efficiency. In addition, this field also focuses on how computer scientists can optimize algorithms and data structures to create more efficient computer programs. In this field, computer scientists use mathematical measures of intricacies to forecast an algorithm's speed. Usually, computer scientists make forecasts even before writing the algorithm's code.

Related: Difference Between Computer Science vs. Software Engineering

14. Distributed, concurrent, and parallel computing

Computer scientists in this field observe computer networks that support multiple computations happening simultaneously. The significant interest of computer scientists here is designing strategies or machines that can enhance the veracity and speed with which concurrent computations occur. For instance, a distributed system linking numerous computers to a computer network allows them to compute individual tasks concurrently. Distributed computing is common in several areas, including computer architecture, operating systems, and networks.

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