CE, CS, IS, IT, SE – Making Sense of Computing Majors

One of the questions I remember dealing with a lot when I was teaching high school seniors was "what should I major in in college?" The array of computer related majors has grown a lot since I was in university. There is Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology and Software Engineering just to name the most common. This can be very confusing to the high school student and even to her teachers or guidance counselors. I have no idea how parents of college bound students even begin to think about this question unless they are already in the field themselves.

But there is help out there. The ACM has a document called Computing Curricula 2004 that includes "A Guide to Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computing." Students and people helping students will be interested the detailed descriptions of the various degree programs. Particularly useful is how the document compares the weight of different computing and non-computing topics across the various types of degrees. All in all there is a lot of great information that can help decide what degree program meets the needs and interests of different students.

I almost think that this guide should be required reading for high school guidance counselors who are helping students pick university programs in computing. Students who are thinking about what computing area they want to study will of course find it very valuable. And it's free!

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