What is computer science?

What is computer science?

The term computer science

The term computer science is used to describe the science of information processing and computability.

Course of study

Originally, computer science was closely linked to the faculties of mathematics and electrical engineering and has been available as a course in Germany since the 1960s. The most important areas of computer science are

  • the formulation of algorithms
  • the structure of the syntax and semantics of programming languages
  • compiler construction
  • theoretical principles relating to the design and functionality of hardware and software

Computer science is still a very young science, but it has, in a very short space of time, found a footing in all other sciences, in business and in everyday life. Computer science enables complex calculations and data processing. Computer science has allowed milestones to be reached in many areas of science.

The four areas of computer science

Theoretical computer science covers the mathematical principles of computer science. It covers the theories of formal languages, machines, computability etc. It provides the foundations for the other types of computer science.

Technical computer science covers the principles of hardware, such as computer and network architectures, distributed systems and microprocessor technology. It represents the connecting link to electrical engineering.

Practical computer science covers the principles of software in computer science. It considers algorithms, data structures, programming languages, operating systems and databases. For example, it deals with search and sorting algorithms and object-oriented programming such as you may already be familiar with from computing lessons.

Applied computer science uses the findings of computer science to solve problems in other areas of science or commerce. This area covers interdisciplinary sciences with an computer science component, such as business informatics or computational visualistics.

Career prospects

Computer science graduates work in a range of different areas. As there is no clear definition of the term, it covers a range of different meanings. Job advertisements mostly seek system analysts, database specialists, project managers, software developers or network administrators. Some graduates also choose to remain at the university to complete a doctorate. The kind of job you can get after graduating from the Faculty of Computer Science depends entirely on what you want, this is the only limit on the opportunities.

What is computer science not?

Many myths abound as to what exactly computer science is. For many, it is "something with computers", which can cover anything from screwing together computers or using a word processor.

It's time to clear things up: We will tell you what computer science is not! You will not find the points listed below in your courses.

  • Installing or repairing Windows
  • Tinkering with computers
  • Optimising assembly of computer components
  • Using programs. These include
    • Office programs (e.g. MS Open, Open Office, etc.)
    • Graphics programs (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Gimp, etc.)
    • Operating systems (e.g. MS Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris etc.)
  • Playing computer games
  • Designing websites.


Computer science involves self-teaching and learning about how to handle hardware and software yourself, depending on what you need for your work. Generally, help is provided in the early stages, e.g. programming with Java. As most students at the Faculty of Computer Science have a natural curiosity when it comes to unfamiliar software or new hardware, it is not nearly as bad as it sounds to begin with. Hence, it is beneficial if you already have a certain tendency to fiddle!


Last Modification: 08.09.2021 - Contact Person: Webmaster