The right choice | B.Sc. Computer Science or BCA? A student advisor explains
(‘The Right Choice’ is a series from The Indian Express that tackles common questions, misconceptions and doubts surrounding undergraduate admissions. You can read the stories here.)
— Ruchir Arora
Many students want to study information technology and work with computers after completing their 10+2 exams, but they wonder whether the Bachelor of Computer Science (B.Sc. Computer Science) or the Bachelor of Computer Application ( BCA) would best suit them.
Here is an overview of the admission criteria, course model, fee structure and differences between the two courses:
B.Sc. (Computer Science)
B.Sc. Computer Science is a three-year undergraduate course that deals with the basic principles, concepts, and technological implementation of computing. It is perfect for students looking to build a strong foundation in the field.
Students opting for the course must pass the 12th standard from a recognized board with at least 50-60% marks and must have studied Science (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) or Computing as one of their materials.
The government and aided institutions offer this course with a variation of the fee structure. Annual fees range from Rs 6,000 to Rs one lakh.
The course is concept driven and focuses on disk operations, control structures, and hardware. Students gain specific knowledge of core technology modules such as compiler design.
Some of his program topics include: C/C++ programming, databases, operating systems, and computer organization and architecture.
Students taking this course can do a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in the same subject, which can provide them with a deeper understanding of concepts such as parallel computing, artificial intelligence, computer software and information security. They can also pursue a master’s degree in computer application (MCA).
Graduates of the course are often hired by security or surveillance companies, electronic equipment manufacturers, systems maintenance consultants, technical support teams and banking companies.
They can also be software engineers, IT project managers, website developers, and data analysts, but since the course is more conceptual and not application-focused, they may need to take an additional course to acquire specific skills adapted to the position.
A degree in the course can bring salaries between Rs four and 20 lakh per year, depending on the experience level of the candidate.
Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)
The BCA is also a three-year computer science degree, but it is more technical and focused on various programming languages and applications.
Students are eligible for the course if they have passed the 12th standard from a recognized board with 50% marks. They must have studied English and Mathematics as compulsory subjects.
The course is offered by both private institutions and self-funded wings of aided institutions. Depending on the college, its annual fee can be up to Rs six lakh per year.
This is an application-oriented course that emphasizes programming languages, database networking, data structures, web development, network security, and software development . Students learn to use technology to innovate and develop new applications, so the curriculum is usually organized around industry needs.
Few subjects in the program include: basics of computer programming, web design and multimedia applications. However, hardware related concepts are not part of this course.
BCA students can only choose to do the MCA in their post-graduation.
They can become software developers, programmers, web designers and game designers or testers and are often employed by software giants such as Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL).
Depending on experience and qualification, a BCA or MCA student can earn anywhere between Rs four and 20 lakh.
The B.Sc Computer Science is more concept-oriented, while the BCA is more application-oriented.
Thus, BCA graduates have an advantage and land a job sooner. It is up to the student to see which program structure he is most inclined towards.
The author is CEO and Founder of Gurgaon-based Dekho College, a student counseling organization.