What Are the Different Fields of Computer Science?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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There are many different fields of computer science (CS) a person can choose to specialize in, including networking, data recovery, programming, and artificial intelligence (AI). Most of these fields overlap in certain ways, such as networking using different pieces of hardware, software, and firmware that may require some knowledge in programming to properly utilize. There may also be numerous subdivisions within these fields, such as specializations in neural networks, voice recognition programming, and data processing within the field of AI. As the technology used and developed in computer science continues to change, new fields may also arise and require new skills and understanding of technology.

Computer science typically refers to the field of inquiry in which various aspects of computers and computer technology is explored. This is a massive field of research, and as computer technology advances, the field continues to expand and develop. One of the biggest fields within computer science is in networking, including related fields such as network administration and network security. This field focuses on understanding how different types of networks, both wide area and local, are created and maintained for private and public use.


Data management and recovery is also a vast field within computer science. This field covers everything from how hardware is used to store data, including disc drives and solid state drives, to how that data can be managed and stored through various software applications. Such data management can bleed over into networking, as the portable nature of data has become increasingly important due to the proliferation of the Internet and access to global networks. The security of such data and how it can be most efficiently transferred between users is an important aspect of computer science.

Programming is a field of computer science that is related to nearly all other fields. Software programs are typically not created in a vacuum, but instead are made to fill a need or reach a potential market that is not being met. The separation between software and hardware development has also largely disappeared as firmware installed into hardware has become increasingly important in recent years.

Other fields within computer science, such as explorations of artificial intelligence, continue to grow and develop. Numerous practical applications have been found for developments in AI research, such as voice recognition software and devices used to electronically “sniff” for drugs and explosives. Ongoing research into new fields of CS is likely to continue and develop, including nanotechnology, cybernetics, and expansions of computer systems beyond the surface of the Earth.


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