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A computer scientist is a person who has acquired knowledge of computer science, the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their application in computer systems.

Computer scientists typically work on the theoretical side of computer systems, as opposed to the hardware side that computer engineers mainly focus on (although there is overlap). Although computer scientists can also focus their work and research on specific areas (such as algorithm development and design, software engineering, information theory, database theory, computational complexity theory, human-computer interaction, computer programming, programming language theory, computer graphics and computer vision), their foundation is the theoretical study of computing from which these other fields derive.

As its name implies, computer science is a pure science, not an applied science or applied business field. As an analogy to the medical field, a computer scientist is like the cancer researcher who might study molecular biology or biochemistry in-depth, while an information technology specialist is like the physician who studies those fields at a higher level and focuses on their application to patient care.

Computer scientists can follow more practical applications of their knowledge, doing things such as software development, web development and database programming. Computer scientists can also be found in the field of information technology consulting.

Computer scientists normally get their degree in computer science at an accredited university or institution.

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