Choosing between finance and computer science as a career can be difficult. On one hand, finance offers the stability and potential for high earnings that come with working in the corporate world. On the other hand, computer science offers the opportunity to work in a rapidly growing field with plenty of potential for advancement. So which should you choose? In this article, we will discuss the similarities and difference between of finance vs. computer science, which career is better for you, and how to combine the two careers.
What Is Finance?
Finance is a wide-spanning field that involves understanding the management of money. It includes aspects like investing, budgeting, banking, and more.
Finance can be studied on both a personal level as well as on a larger, organizational level. Within finance there are several different categories such as banking, insurance, investments, and financial planning that each serve an important role in helping to manage money efficiently.
Having knowledge of these areas can be an invaluable asset when it comes to managing your own or an organization’s finances and making informed decisions about how to best use their resources.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science is a field of study that encompasses the theory, design, development, and application of computers.
Computer science covers technical topics such as algorithms and programming languages. It also covers concepts such as artificial intelligence and computer graphics.
Those studying computer science learn how to write code, understand how computers work, develop algorithms to solve problems, design systems and databases, and much more.
With its applications in numerous industries such as medicine, finance, education, entertainment to name a few, it’s no surprise that this is one of the fastest growing fields out there.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Similarities
At first glance finance and computer science may not seem to have many similarities. However, there are a few key aspects of finance that involve the use of computer science:
1. Data Analysis
Data analysis is an important part of finance. It involves collecting, organizing, and analyzing data in order to make better business decisions. This can include anything from crunching numbers for budget forecasting to analyzing data about customer behavior.
Automated finance systems are becoming increasingly popular as they allow companies to streamline and simplify processes like bookkeeping, accounting, and budgeting. Automation relies on computer programming in order to make finance processes more efficient.
3. Trading Platforms
Trading platforms allow finance professionals to buy, sell, and trade securities electronically. These platforms are powered by computer algorithms which analyze data in order to make the best trades.
4. Risk Management
Risk management is an important part of finance. Risk can be managed through algorithms which analyze data and assess risk factors in order to make more informed decisions.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Differences
While finance and computer science do intersect in several areas, they are mostly distinct two fields with many individual differences. The most stark differences between computer science and finance include can be seen in the education that is needed to pursue a career in each field, the jobs available, salary, and work-life balance. Below, we summarize these differences in a comparison table.
|Education||Bachelor’s degree or certification||Bachelor’s degree or bootcamp|
|Salary||$76,570 annually||$97,430 annually|
|Projected growth (10 years)||7%||15%|
|Work-life balance||Longer hours, moderate stress||Regular hours, relaxed|
Finance vs. Computer Science: Education
The way to get into the finance vs. computer science industry differ with respect to the education that is required to enter these respective fields. The duration of education, however, is mostly similar, especially if the prospective professionals choose to go through the university education route.
In order to get into finance, you need to have a finance-related degree such as Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business. These take 4 years to complete under normal conditions. Of course, you are free to further advance your education by doing a Master’s or even a doctoral degree. Alternatively, you can pursue a finance-related certification program to get into finance, which can take anywhere from several months to a few years.
Computer Science Education
To get into computer science, you need to obtain a Bachelor’s in computer science, computer engineering, or information technology. These degrees normally take 4 years to complete as well. You can further your education by doing a Master’s or a doctoral degree in computer science, which can take longer. Besides a traditional university route, it is also possible to become a software developer by completing a coding bootcamp program. These programs usually take 2-6 months to complete.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Which Is Harder?
Both finance and computer science are notoriously difficult fields of study, but which one requires more work to master? It ultimately depends on the individual and their interests.
On the one hand, finance involves an in-depth understanding of financial principles and concepts, as well as a sharp numerical aptitude. For example, finance students must understand complex sources of capital, investment strategies, cost analysis, and taxes.
On the other hand, computer science requires knowledge and expertise in coding languages that can be immensely challenging to grasp. Computer science majors must also get intimate with operating systems and software design.
The difficulty of mastering either area varies from person to person and is up for debate; however, what can be concluded is that both fields require consistent dedication and hard work.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Job Opportunities
So which jobs does finance vs. computer science offer? Both finance and computer science offer a rich selection of job opportunities.
Finance offers a variety of job opportunities, such as:
- Finance analyst
- Financial advisor
- Investment banker
- Portfolio manager
- Venture capitalist
- Commercial banker
Computer Science Jobs
Computer science offers job opportunities across various fields, such as:
- Software engineer
- Data scientist
- Database administrator
- UX developer
- Web developer
- App developer
- Robotics engineer
- AI engineer
Finance vs. Computer Science: Salaries
Salaries in finance vs. computer science vary greatly depending on several factors such as the type of job and location. However, there are some averages, which are useful to compare to each other to see which field offers higher salaries on average.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, finance professionals get an average salary of $76,570 per year. Computer science professionals, on the other hand, earn an average of $97,430 annually.
Thus, computer science salaries are generally higher than finance salaries. But this is only an average, and can vary greatly from company to company and from job to job.
When it comes to finance vs. computer science, both fields can offer lucrative and rewarding careers that require hard work and dedication. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which one best fits their interests and goals.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Career Outlook
The finance and computer science industries are both expected to experience significant growth over the next decade.
The finance industry is expected to add approximately 715,100 jobs in the United States with a projected growth of 7% in the next 10 years. Every year, around 980,200 job openings will open through growth and replacement needs.
Employment in computer science is expected to grow by 15% in the next decade, adding approximately about 682,800 new jobs. Yearly job openings will comprise 418,500 slots each year.
Thus, finance and computer science offer very positive career prospects, making either a great choice in terms of job security.
Finance vs. Computer Science: Work-Life Balance
When it comes to finance and computer science, one important factor to consider is the work-life balance.
In finance, long hours are common due to the nature of the job, with finance professionals often working late nights and weekends. This is due to finance workers often having to meet tight deadlines that require an extra effort.
Computer science, on the other hand, can have more flexible hours as it is often an office-based job and remote work has become more popular in recent years. However, depending on the company and the role, hours can occasionally be long as well.
Besides hours, the stress levels also differ between the two professions. Computer science workers typically have less stress due to the more relaxed work environment. Finance professionals, on the other hand, often face intense pressure and stressful situations due to the nature of their jobs.
When it comes to finance vs. computer science, work-life balance is something that should be taken into consideration before making a decision. As long as you find a job that you love and can do well, the hours and stress won’t feel as taxing. Ultimately, the choice should be based on your interests and goals.
Computer Science vs. Investment Banking
If you’re trying to decide between finance and computer science, it is useful to compare specific fields within the two professions. For example, computer science vs. investment banking is a popular comparison to make.
When it comes to salaries, investment bankers make quite a bit more than other finance professionals. The salaries of investment bankers are actually on par with those of software engineers and average around $102,667 according to Payscale.
In terms of work-life balance, computer science is generally a less stressful job than investment banking. Investment bankers are known to face long hours and intense pressures, even compared to other finance professionals, while computer science workers generally have more flexible hours and a less stressful environment.
Both investment bankers and computer science professionals usually enjoy their work, but the choice is ultimately up to you. If you’re looking for a more relaxed work environment and enjoy programming, computer science is probably the better choice. On the other hand, if you don’t mind long hours and pressure and like to work in fast-paced environment, investment banking could be the right fit.
Quantitative Finance vs. Computer Science
When considering finance vs. computer science, many people also compare quantitative finance and computer science.
Quantitative finance involves the use of advanced mathematics and programming to analyze financial data. It is a highly analytical and competitive field, where finance professionals use complex mathematical models to predict market trends.
Computer science, on the other hand, is a broad field that involves the design and development of computer systems. It is a highly versatile field, with computer scientists able to specialize in various areas such as software engineering, artificial intelligence and information technology.
When comparing finance vs. computer science, quantitative finance is often seen as more challenging due to its complexity. However, computer science offers plenty of opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in technology.
Which Should You Choose: Finance or Computer Science?
Both finance and computer science offer great job opportunities with high potential for growth. However, when it comes to finance vs computer science, it is important to consider the differences in work environment and stress levels before making a decision.
Ultimately, the choice between finance and computer science should be based on your interests, goals, and capabilities. If you enjoy programming and have an aptitude for mathematics, computer science may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you are interested in finance and don’t mind long hours and intense pressure, finance is worth considering. Whichever you choose, it is important to make sure that you are passionate about the work you do.
How to Combine Finance with Computer Science
If you are interested in finance and computer science, you may be wondering “do finance and computer science go together?”
You can, in fact, combine finance and computer science by pursuing a career that combines both disciplines.
For example, many finance professionals use software programming languages such as Python to develop their own trading algorithms. Others may specialize in quantitative finance and use machine learning and artificial intelligence to better understand financial markets.
Finance and computer science can also be combined in other ways, such as developing apps for finance companies or creating blockchain-based finance solutions. No matter what you decide to do, combining finance with computer science can open up new opportunities and help you stand out from the crowd.
Some of the occupations that combine computer science and finance include:
- Quantitative finance analyst
- Financial data scientist
- Blockchain Developer
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Software engineer for finance companies
- FinTech Entrepreneur
In order to combine the two fields, you may need to obtain education in each of them, separately or concurrently. Some of the educational paths may include:
- Bachelor’s in computer science with minor in finance
- Bachelor’s in finance with minor in computer science
- Bachelor’s in computer science and a Master’s in finance
- Bachelor’s in finance and a Master’s in computer science
- Double-degree in computer science and finance
Ultimately, finance and computer science can be combined in a variety of ways. It all depends on your interests and skillset. With the right combination of finance and computer science, you can find an exciting and rewarding career that suits your needs. So, if you’re trying to decide between finance and computer science, you can always combine the two. It could be the perfect way to find success in finance and technology!
When considering finance vs. computer science, it all boils down to your interests and skillset. Both finance and computer science offer great opportunities for growth, but it’s important to understand the differences between each field before making a decision.
You don’t have to choose one or the other, though. By combining finance with computer science, you can explore new opportunities and create a career that works for you. So, if you’re looking to pursue finance or computer science (or both!), you now have an idea of how to get started. Good luck!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.