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What are the major differences between Software Development and Information Technology. If you have majored in IT is it a fine major but as different as Software Development and Computer Science as stated in Joel's blog?

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Duplicate: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/30154/… –  Orbling Jan 11 '11 at 19:40
I would definitely disagree with you on that Orbling. My question is from the point of view of an academic institution. The link you provided is from what the corporate sees. Definitely not a duplicate. –  yoitsfrancis Jan 14 '11 at 3:12

2 Answers 2

Information Technology is the wider discipline of which software development is a part.

Information Technology would commonly cover not only software development but hardware, system administration, networking, implementation as well as related but non-technically hands-on disciplines such as project management and business analysis (which might in turn cover more general business knowledge).

Software Development on the other hand specifically relates to the development and implementation of applications either from scratch or as a heavy customisation of an existing solution.

Of course it's impossible to know for sure how generalisations will apply to specific courses or companies and the way they use those terms and it wouldn't be unreasonable to have a broader or narrower definition.

In terms of which course is better, that likely depends on whether you want to be a programmer (in which case a Software Engineering / Computer Science course is likely to be more useful), or if you're not clear and might want to try something different within the industry and want something a bit more general.

But I wouldn't get too worried about it - the differences are likely to be minor enough that they're unlikely to impact you career choices later in life so it's not going to be a big mistake if you choose the "wrong" one.

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+1: "Library Science" is information technology, not software development. An MLS is required to be a librarian, but you might not want them coding anything. You might want them managing parts of an IT department. –  S.Lott Jan 11 '11 at 12:19
I disagree with the last paragraph. I think the skills are far enough apart that switching will require additional course work for most individuals. –  Casey Jan 11 '11 at 19:30
At the places I'm familiar with, IT is the break/fix, networking, sysadmin side of the program. IS is the software development side. –  Brian Knoblauch Jan 11 '11 at 20:18
@casey - I'm not talking about switching course, I'm talking about the way industry will view the two courses. I assure you the difference is borderline irrelevant. –  Jon Hopkins Jan 11 '11 at 23:29

If you want a career in software development, it will be harder to start out with an IT degree. With the right career focus, I'm sure you can become a solid programmer but it will be harder to get onto that career path with a bachelors in IT. Many companies will pass you over for better qualified CS candidates.

IT will give you exposure to computer systems, administration, application of hardware and software systems. A CS degree will not cover that in the coursework, however you will probably be exposed to most of it at some point in time.

CS will focus on software development principles, data structures, algorithms, language syntax, operating system development, parallel programming, artificial intelligence, etc.

My theory is that it will be easier to go from a specialization (CS) to generalization (IT) than vice-versa.

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