Computer Science vs Programming
Let’s start by defining what is computer science, because that is a discipline that stands at the basis of everything else when it comes to programming, software, and hardware work. For starters, it’s important to understand that computer science is not the same as computer programming; the former is the research-based approach to computer work, and the latter is the practical, day-to-day work conducted in the world of computation.
So, what does that mean? In practice, you could find your first job as a computer programmer without studying computer science, but only focusing on learning one or more programming languages. This can be done independently through books and online resources, or through boot camps, where you study with others over a few weeks or months, focusing only on the practical, daily work of computer programming – writing code.
But there’s a major downside to that approach: your career prospects will be limited, and you won’t be able to advance to more senior roles. Granted, programming jobs pay relatively well compared to other jobs, but programmers without computer science and research or development skills are not likely to see their salaries increasing significantly over time. In addition, competition for good programming jobs is fierce, especially for entry-level jobs, and candidates with an academic background in computer science have better chances compared to programmers without such knowledge.
So, if you're seriously thinking about a real career in tech, you should really consider getting an academic degree – it will pay dividends over time, and even right after you graduate, as the knowledge you’ll have could help you overcome many of the obstacles junior computer programmers have to face.