Informatics versus Computer Science

Informatics

Informatics as a discipline is intended to provide an awareness of the behavioral, organizational, and methodological issues as they relate to software systems in a business environment.

  • Informatics has evolved over the years from the referent disciplines of Behavioral Science, Management Theory, and Computer Science.
  • Although the roots of Informatics are firmly anchored in Computer Science, the instruction of Informatics courses must transcend the technological aspect and encompass the organizational and behavioral issues that are integral in the business world.
  • Every course must not only instruct the student in the application of the pertinent software package, but must also emphasize the importance of such tools in a corporate environment.

Computer Science

Computer Science is primarily concerned with the development of software and hardware.

  • The software component of CS, the portion most closely related to IS, is concerned with software development with respect to efficiency, effectiveness, and fault freeness.
  • A Computer Science curriculum educates the student in abstract reasoning about programs and, above all, develops his or her ability to develop large software components.
  • The use of the developed program, e.g., in a business setting, is not the main concern of Computer Science.

Fundamental Differences

Clearly there are fundamental differences between Computer Science and Informatics.

  • While Computer Science is concerned with the optimal design and implementation of software, Informatics concentrates on the most efficient use of the finished package.
    • For example, a database course in a true Computer Science curriculum focuses on the development of database software, examining such theoretical issues as the most efficient algorithms for locking mechanisms and deadlock detection.
    • A course by the same name in Informatics examines the importance of organizing the data so that, from a user perspective, database access will be most efficient.

Skills

The skills of a typical Computer Science student differ from those of a student in Informatics.

  • The CS student has to exhibit a considerable gift for abstract reasoning, but is not expected to interact successfully with a large variety of disciplines as in Informatics.
  • Informatics students have a strong understanding of the management, marketing, and accounting facets of an organization, allowing them to interact more effectively in an organizational setting.
  • In addition, interpersonal skills or even communication skills are vital in Informatics. Informatics students are also better versed in assessing the needs of the end-users, and are therefore more capable of tailoring a software system to satisfy those needs.
 
 
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Computer Information Systems

Idaho State University

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