The Complete Guide to Studying Computer Science and IT in Malaysia

What is computer science? And how is it different from IT? Learn everything you need to know about studying the course in Malaysia including its entry requirements, job prospects and more with this comprehensive course guide on computer science and IT.


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 to 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 you study in computer science and the best computer science universities in Malaysia. Read on to see if you have what it takes!

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

BSc (Hons) in Computer Science

Dual-award degree – one from De Montfort University (UK) and one from APU

#1. What is Computer Science and IT?

What is Computer Science?

CG- Computer Science-What is Computer ScienceComputer 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 in 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)?

CG- Computer Science-What is Information TechnologyIn 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.

Bottom Line: Computer science involves designing computer software while IT relates to helping organisations install, customise and maintain computing technologies.

Fields of Computing

In Malaysia, the Malaysian higher education sector has categorised computing into 5 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.
Data Science Focuses on the collection, study and analysis of data for a variety of purposes.

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:

  • Mathematics
  • 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
  • Physics

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.

Take Note: Entry requirements for some universities may be higher, so do make sure you check the details carefully.

#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
Note: The curriculum for computer science and information technology courses can be quite similar and there may be some overlap of subjects. This will vary depending on the college and university that you attend.

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.

d) How much does it cost to study computer science in Malaysia? 

A computer science diploma can cost from RM12,000 to RM110,000. Meanwhile, a computer science degree can range from RM30,000 to RM205,000.

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

APU Foundation Programme (Computing & Technology)

Direct pathway into dual-award degrees at APU

#4. How to Become a Computer Scientist in Malaysia?

CG- Computer Science-Education Pathway

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?

CG- Computer Science- Is It Right For You 02

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

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

BSc (Hons) in Computer Science

Dual-award degree – one from De Montfort University (UK) and one from APU

#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 with 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.