The Complete Guide to Computer Science in Malaysia
Have you always wanted to build the next big tech startup? Well, a Degree in Computer Science and IT (Information Technology) might just pave your path towards techdom!
But before jumping straight into the course, you might want to do a little research to find out more about this field. After all, a Degree in Computer Science requires you solve complex computing problems and learn new languages (and we’re not referring to the spoken kind!).
This guide will help you clarify what is computer science and navigate you through everything you need to know about the field, such as what do you study in computer science and the best computer science universities in Malaysia. Read on to see if you have what it takes!
#1. What is Computer Science and IT?
What is Computer Science?
Computer science is a discipline of computing, which focuses on the study of information processes and creating computer programmes. It involves writing code and applying complex algorithms to design computer software and models, solve computing problems and also create new ways to use technology.
From the movies you watch on your smartphone during boring LRT rides to the functioning of the entire LRT system itself, the use of computer science has become second nature to our daily lives. Even your favourite apps such as Instagram, Grab and Waze require computer science to exist.
That’s not all. The algorithms and computer models in computer science are useful in almost every field including medicine (e.g. using MRI scans to diagnose diseases), linguistics (e.g. using computers to recognise speech) and economics (e.g. using models to forecast economic conditions).
Undertaking a Computer Science Degree will equip you with the skills to become a competent software developer and programmer. You’ll learn all aspects of computing such as web and software development, mobile computing, interface design and system administration.
What is information technology (IT)?
In a broad context, information technology (IT) refers to all aspects of computing. However, in education, it is the application and maintenance of computing technology to fulfil the needs of businesses and organisations.
For example, an IT professional may be required to configure IT equipment in the company (e.g. servers, networks, switches), install and customise software applications to meet the organisation’s business needs (e.g. managing software for financial reporting and payroll) and providing technical support if there are any software or hardware problems.
As part of your studies in IT, you will learn how to design, implement and manage an organisation’s computing infrastructure. You will also be taught information security, how to integrate technologies and programming fundamentals. With these skills and knowledge, you will be able to pursue a range of IT careers such as IT support executive and systems administrator.
Fields of Computing
In Malaysia, the Malaysian higher education sector has categorised computing into 4 major fields:
|Field||What It Is|
|Computer Science (CS)||Focuses on designing computer programmes, solving computing problems and developing new ways to use technology.|
|Software Engineering (SE)||Specialises in developing and maintaining software systems to be implemented on a large scale.|
|Information Technology (IT)||Deals with applying and maintaining computing technology in organisations.|
|Information Systems (IS)||Analyses the information requirements in an organisation and uses technology to generate, process and distribute the required information.|
Within the field of computer science, there are various specialisations such as:
|Fields of Computer Science||What It Is|
|Algorithms and Data Structures||Relates to the study of computational methods and algorithms (steps of commands for data processing) and their computational efficiency.|
|Artificial Intelligence (AI)||Involves the creation of intelligent machines that can mimic human cognitive functions such as ‘’learning’’ and ‘’problem solving’’.|
|Computer Graphics and Visual Computing||Focuses on the manipulation of visual content and the use of computers to develop 2D and 3D graphics using special graphics software.|
|Computer Security / Cybersecurity||Encompasses the protection and recovery of computer systems, networks, devices and programmes from theft, damage or other forms of disruption.|
|Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)||The study of computer technology design and how humans interact with computers.|
|Programming Languages||Specialises in designing, implementing and analysing programming languages.|
Do these tech fields pique your interest? Keep reading to find out how you can become a computer scientist!
#2. Computer Science Requirements
a) What subjects are needed for computer science?
To study computer science, you must have studied these subjects for SPM or equivalent:
- Additional Mathematics
Additionally, some universities may require you to have studied the following subjects for A-Level, STPM or equivalent:
- Mathematics (highly recommended and compulsory at certain universities)
- Computing / Computer Science
- Further Mathematics
b) Diploma in Computer Science Requirements
These are the general entry requirements for a Diploma in Computer Science:
- SPM (or equivalent): Minimum 3Cs including Mathematics
c) Computer Science Degree Requirements
To pursue a Degree in Computer Science, you need to complete a pre-university programme and meet the entry requirements.
- A-Level: Minimum of 2Es
- STPM: Minimum of 2Cs
- Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 60
- Foundation in Science or IT/Computing: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
- Diploma: Minimum CGPA of 2.50
#3. Studying Computer Science & IT in Malaysia
a) What subjects do you study in a computer science course?
A Computer Science Degree will give you the fundamental knowledge of programming tools, mathematical concepts and software development technology.
Here are some of the core topics that you may learn in a computer science course:
- Algorithms and Data Structures
- Computer Architecture
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Operating Systems
- Programming Languages and Computation
- Intelligent Systems / Artificial Intelligence
b) What subjects do you study in an IT course?
Studying a Degree in IT will enable you to plan, implement, configure and manage a company’s technology infrastructure in your career as an IT professional in the future.
Here are some of the subjects that you may cover in an IT course:
- Database Systems
- Networking and Communication
- Programming Fundamentals
- Information Assurance and Security
- Platform Technologies
- System Integration and Architecture
c) How long is a computer science course?
A Computer Science or Information Technology Degree is usually 3 years long.
If you study a Diploma in Computer Science or IT instead, it would take around 2 – 2.5 years.
#4. How to Become a Computer Scientist in Malaysia?
First, you’ll need to complete a pre-university programme (e.g. A-Level, STPM) or pursue either a Foundation in Science or Foundation in Computing after SPM. Then, you can enrol in a Bachelor of Computer Science or IT, which is usually 3 years long. By completing this degree, you will be able to enter the field of computer science and IT and work in various roles related to these fields.
Alternatively, you can also pursue a Diploma in Computer Science or IT, which takes about 2 – 2.5 years. A diploma qualification will give you the option of either entering the workforce upon graduating or continuing with your Bachelor of Computer Science or IT Degree, entering Year 2.
In total, depending on your education pathway, you’ll need about 4 to 5 years to complete your Degree in Computer Science or IT from SPM.
#5. Should You Study Computer Science/IT?
a) Is computer science and IT right for you?
If you’re wondering whether you should study computer science, here are some questions to think about:
- Do you value logic and order?
- Do you crave a challenge?
- Do you enjoy solving mathematical questions?
- Are you always tinkering with gadgets and devices?
- Do you have a knack for computer programming languages?
- Can you work independently?
- Are you able to develop creative ideas to solve problems?
If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, computer science may be right for you.
b) Skills required to be a computer scientist
Here are some key skills a good computer scientist should have:
- Analytical thinking
- Attention to detail
- Complex problem-solving skills
- Critical thinking skills to determine alternative solutions to problems
- Innovative and creative thinking to develop new applications
- Programming skills
#6. What Jobs Can You Get With a Computer Science Degree?
Completing a degree in Computer Science will prepare you for a career in IT consultancies and IT service providers. Organisations in various industries, such as financial services, telecommunications, retail and resources, also employ graduates in Computer Science and IT.
Here are some careers you can pursue upon graduating from a Degree in Computer Science or IT:
- Software Engineer
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Database Analyst
- Java Programmer
- Network Engineer
- Technical Support Engineer
- Technical Helpdesk Analyst
- Test Development Engineer
- Web Developer
#7. Best Computer Science Universities for Malaysia
If computer science is right up your alley, then check out some of the best universities for computer science in Malaysia. Alternatively, compare more universities for computer science here.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Hons)
Campus: Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: May, Sep & Nov
Estimated Fees: RM88,300
Wide variety of specialised computing and technology programmes including FinTech, Data Analytics, Cyber Security and Mobile Technology
Strong partnerships with industry leaders including Microsoft and IBM
Awarded “Premier Digital Tech University” status by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
Dual-award degree – one from De Montfort University (UK) and one from APU
View other colleges
Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence BSc (Hons)
Campus: Semenyih, Selangor
Estimated Fees: RM123,800
Leading research school with expertise in a variety of field including artificial intelligence, machine learning, image processing, human-computer interaction and evolutionary computation
Programme is accredited by MQA and the British Computer Society
Study abroad opportunities at campuses in China and the UK as well as partner universities across the globe
Ranked 103rd in the world and 18th in the UK (QS World University Rankings 2022)
Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)
Intakes: Jan, Jun & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM64,028
Specialisations: Cyber Security, Software Engineering, System & Networking
Option to gain additional IT certifications from related organisations such as Oracle and SAP
Opportunity to work with industry partners for your final year project
Track record of 93% graduate employability rate
Awarded SETARA 5-Stars by the Ministry of Higher Education
Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) Software Engineering
Campus: Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM56,750
Allows you to develop specialised skills in data science, blockchain and cloud computing
Collaboration with universities and industry partners globally, providing you with opportunities for international student exchange and placements
Awarded SETARA 4-Stars by the Ministry of Higher Education
INTI International University & Colleges
Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)
Campus: Subang Jaya, Penang and Nilai
Intakes: Feb & Jul (Subang Jaya), Jan, Apr & Aug (Penang), Jan, May & Aug (Nilai)
Estimated Fees: RM60,000 to RM80,000 (depending on campus)
Collaboration with IBM and Dell for an industry-oriented curriculum
Internship opportunities with top organisations such as Sony and Western Digital
Offers dual award degrees and franchise degrees
Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)
Intakes: May & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM50,000
100% of students are employed within 6 months after graduation
Students are given attachment opportunities with UNIMY’s industrial partners such as IBM and Amazon
Programmes are tailored to prepare students for Industry 4.0