Computer Science deals with how information and data can be automatically stored, processed and exchanged, for example by means of USB sticks, programmes such as Skype or the menu of a digital camera. So degree courses in Computer Science deal not only with programming for computers and mobile phones, but for all devices that handle data and work with processors: from traffic lights to vehicles and domestic appliances, and even to robots. In industry and research, but also in our daily lives computer science is here to stay. It also serves as an interface between mathematics and electrical engineering. Overall, Computer Science is a wide-ranging and forward-looking discipline.
What qualities are required?
- Robots playing football;
Foto: TU Darmstadt/Katrin Binner
You should be interested in computers and technology and enjoy programming. The ability to think logically and a good understanding of mathematics are essential. You should also be interested in working with programming languages such as Java and C. Please be aware that learning these languages is not necessarily part of the course but might be your own responsibility. Being able to work things out on your own is very important for studying Computer Science.
What does the degree course look like?
In the first three semesters you mainly study the principles of theoretical and applied Computer Science, i.e. you learn and apply algorithms (an algorithm is a multi-step set of rules for solving problems). The principles of programming involve above all Mathematics: algebra, graph theory, logic and analysis play a major role. The programming languages serve here as tools for problem solving.
In the higher semesters there are advanced courses in such subjects as software engineering, databases, and communication networks. At this point you will also be involved in project and group work. During the 6th semester you will work on your bachelor’s dissertation, in which you must show that you are able to work independently on a computer science problem, using scientific methods.
A bachelor's degree is a professional qualification, but you can increase your career opportunities with a master's degree, which is also recommended by the TU9 universities. In the master's degree programmes as well as in some bachelor's degree programmes, there is also the opportunity to specialize in certain fields. These include:
- Media computer science
- Business computer science
- Computational Engineering
- Automation and Robotics
Fields of Employment
The traditional field of employment for computer science graduates is the development and maintenance of software and hardware. Advising clients, for whom specific software or hardware solutions are designed, also plays a role. Depending on their specialization during the degree course, graduates find work in IT support, as IT consultants, in the field of systems engineering and administration, or in multimedia and marketing.
Furthermore, new fields of work in combination with other disciplines are opening up to computer scientists: mobile applications and mobile computing, information security, human-computer interaction or search engines offer computer scientists the opportunity to look beyond their discipline.
To see if Computer Science is the right choice for you, why not take the “SelfAssessment Informatik” test of RWTH Aachen? [German only]
Visit the websites of the individual TU9-universities for further information on specific study programmes:
- RWTH Aachen University
- TU Berlin
- TU Braunschweig [German only]
- TU Darmstadt
- TU Dresden
- Leibniz Universität Hannover
- Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
- TU München
- Universität Stuttgart [German only]
A student from KIT tells you about why he chose to study computer science and what the degree course looks like: