I get this question a lot: "what do you mean you are an Informatics major?" And, well, I usually wind up attempting to give a short and sweet answer as quickly as possible; however, in all honesty, an Informatics major is so much!
The major of Informatics is in the School of Informatics and Computing (or SOIC for short). This school consists of many classes that pertain to the majors of Computer Science (B.A. and B.S.*) and Informatics B.S., as well as the option for a few other minors and certificates within this technology based theme. Now, when I say Computer Science most of you may be able to better visualize a definition. Therefore, when comparing Computer Science and Informatics - Computer Science people are the ones who create the software and Informatics people are the ones who apply this software. REMEMBER, this is a very generalized definition. It is used to create a better understanding of what someone with an Informatics major might do; but, it is not all you can do. The worlds of Computer Science and Informatics are very intertwined. Someone who does something with an Informatics degree, might be able to do the same thing with a focus in Computer Science.
One key thing that my advisor told me to remember was this: Computer Science is a lot of math! If you like math, then, by all means, give it a try. She actually recommended that I take the 101 version of both classes and experience what each major is all about. Another thing to note is that Informatics also has something called a cognate. A cognate is like a focus! You can choose a cognate from their list of over 20 options like Psychology, Biology, Journalism, etc.
So, what are my intentions in having an Informatics major? I am an Informatics, B.S. major with a cognate in Psychology and a minor in counseling (and possibly more minors, too). What I want to do with my degree is ever changing - I'm working with technology, so I'll need to be flexible, but some day I might want to be a consultant for big businesses! I could come in and tell them what software would work best for what task, maybe teach them how to promote through social media, organize files and sites, etc. Also, the option of being my own web designer is always right at my door! With a cognate in Psychology, I could work on interfacing and setting up software ergonomics in order to better suit its users. Working with technology can be so broad and ever changing, the options are nearly endless.
If this is the first you've ever heard about Informatics, then don't fret! You are not alone!! Chelsie Kasun just found out too and wrote about it here: My Major Journey: How I Decided What To Study . Oh and don't forget about Amanda Richardson, she loves IU so much she has decided to stay another year... and just for IU's Informatics Major-- Four Reasons the School of Informatics and Computing Should Be On Your Radar ! Check out all of these awesome links, and don't forget to stop by for more information about the best majors and the best college out there!
*B.A. stands for a bachelors of arts, and B.S. stands for a bachelors of science.