When deciding what field you are going to pursue for your education, it is important to look at the starting salaries and earning potential in related jobs. For students who are interested in being computer science majors, there are plenty of opportunities to claim jobs with great salaries. In fact, many consider computer science to be a profession that will expand greatly over the next five to ten years. The starting salary is above average, when compared to other professionals with college degrees, and job opportunities are abundant in most major cities. This post looks at computer science salary expectations from both a regional and job type standpoint. Making these distinctions helps would-be computer scientists understand what factors affect their potential salaries. Armed with this information, they can make decisions that should allow them to earn the most money possible in their computer science careers.
Computer Science Salary: Average Starting Income Expectations
The average starting salary for a computer science student is $58,000. This salary will be different depending on which state you are living in. For example, computer science students in New York or New Jersey are likely to earn more than students who will look for jobs in Texas or North Carolina.
The starting salary for computer science students is slightly lower than it was a few years ago, with stats showing a 2.5% drop from 2012 levels. However, the figure is well above average for college graduates. Only financial analysts at investment banks and engineering students can expect to earn more straight out of college.
All of that being said, computer science salaries can vary widely, depending on the type of job the person holds as well. Here are some examples.
Computer hardware engineers command more than $117,000 per year, while web developers can expect around $74,000 per year. The average computer network architect makes almost $113,000 per year. Those who work in video game development can expect to earn over $100,000 a year in their jobs: People who work in mobile app development earn about the same salaries in their jobs, too. Computer science professors can earn upwards of $112,000 a year.
Computer Science Salary: Growth Potential
Another great thing about the computer science major is that students can look forward to increasing salaries throughout their career. A computer science student may only start off with $60,000 a year, but they can work their way up to $100,000 or $120,000 a year within four to five years.
Computer scientists can also increase their salaries by going up the career ladder. For example, a software development director makes almost $160,000 per year. A video game director can make upwards of $182,000 per year. People who command this kind of computer science salary ranges often have the experience to go with the salaries.
In other words, they’ve worked in the field for a long time. They’re not just getting paid for their computer science degree anymore. They’re also getting paid for the industry expertise they’ve developed along the way.
Again, it’s important to say that the salaries mentioned in the previous paragraphs may represent a certain geographic demographic. Computer scientists who work in large metropolitan areas usually command higher salaries. That being said, the cost of living in those areas may also be higher. At the end of the day, the take-home salary for these computer scientists might be exactly that same as the salaries earned by those who work in less popular and populated areas of the country.
Types of Jobs Affect Computer Science Salary Expectations
Computer science experts are needed in all types of companies. Industries such as manufacturing, finance, medical, service and electronics all require computer scientists to perform various services. Computer science majors often go on to be systems analysts or designers, with others working at developing software and applications.
Employees who have spent a few years with a company, or have gained experience in the industry, will find themselves in management positions. These positions pay very well and come with a lot more responsibility.
Management is a lucrative aim for computer science majors, but software engineers and java developers represent the most hired jobs in the field. These jobs will earn a graduate between $89,000 to $95,000.
Different jobs exist within the computer science field, which in turn means that there is a salary range for computer scientists. That being the case, it would be helpful for future computer scientists to learn about the different types of computer science jobs that are available. Once would-be computer scientists know which types of jobs appeal to them, they’ll have a better idea of what kind of salary they can expect for the jobs they’re pursuing.
Here’s a look at some of the jobs that require training in computer science. This list is by no means complete. It’s only meant to give future computer scientists a look at the different types of jobs they might hold in the field.
Video game developers write programs that support the game-playing platforms. Some aspiring video game developers choose to go into educational programs that are specifically game-related. That is to say they do learn computer science. However, they learn it within the context of video game creation.
However, if they attend a college or university program to learn game creation specifically, they may also be required to learn other skills or take classes in subjects, like art, theater or dance. These courses augment their learning and allow them to think about computer science within the context of video game creation.
Web developers also require training in computer science. These professionals are responsible for creating a website’s structure and pages. They must also ensure that they write code that works well with different Internet browsers, as well as mobile devices.
These computer science professionals must also develop solid communication skills. Although their work is based in math and technology, it’s also creative. Therefore, it’s good if they also know how to exercise their creative muscles a bit.
Software developers create and maintain the software that people use on their computers and laptops, as well as their mobile devices and phones. Due to the proliferation of mobile apps, this fields promises good careers with plenty of longevity for those who pursue jobs in software development.
As with the other jobs in this section, this job requires excellent communication skills, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of computer languages. These computer pros use these languages on a daily basis, so they should be as fluent in them as they are their mother tongues.
Computer hardware engineers work on the opposite end of the spectrum as software developers. They’re the computer science professionals who work with the computer’s hardware components, like memory devices and circuit boards.
Their work requires that they know what trends are affecting the technology field. They must also be able to develop hardware that can accommodate the new advances in computer software.
User interface designers are those computer science professionals who design the look and maneuverability of mobile apps, computer software programs and the like. While it’s important that their designs look good, the functionality of the designs is even more important. The best interface designs are intuitive and allow the users to navigate them easily and often without the help of written instructions.
Mobile app developers develop the apps that people use to keep track of their finances, plan their road trips, count calories or steps and much more. Much of the time, these applications are created specifically to work on hand-held devices, like tablets or mobile phones. This is a popular branch of computer science due to the proliferation of mobile apps on the market today.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence engineers work in a number of fields, including translation, education and computer assistance programs, like Siri and Alexa. However, in theory, computer scientists who work in A.I. could work in almost any field: A.I. engineers have a great deal to do with Amazon’s algorithms and therefore, the company’s success (for example). Their work makes the user experience more seamless and companies more profitable.
Where Are the Best Computer Science Jobs?
Computer science salary expectations are higher in places, like Silicon Valley, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. For anyone who is interested in making it in this field, it is important to be located close to one of these cities. The job hunting process is a lot easier if you have interviews in person, instead of over the phone or through Skype.
All of this being said, there are places around the country that have started to develop a reputation for being tech hubs. These hubs exist outside of Silicon Valley and the other major metropolitan areas on this list. These include places, like Huntsville, Alabama, Phoenix, Arizona, Kansas City, Missouri, Thousand Oaks, California, Nashville, Tennessee and Baltimore, Maryland.
Final Words on Computer Science Salaries
Aspiring computer scientists have a number of options when it comes to the fields they want to build a career in. Those who love playing video games find themselves gravitating toward the video game industry and video game development. Those who can’t imagine their smart phones without the latest app may want to contribute to industry by going into mobile app development.
Other computer scientists may find artificial intelligence or cyber security fascinating fields and put their talents to use there. The tinkerers in the group tend to gravitate toward jobs in computer hardware engineering.
Additionally, this small listing of jobs doesn’t cover other career opportunities, like research jobs and positions on university rosters as computer science professors. These careers require advanced degrees, often Ph.D.s, but the work required to obtain these jobs is often worth it for those who hold them. Computer science professors and researchers get the opportunity to work with future computer scientists, thus shaping the industry in a deep and meaningful way.
Also worth noting is the fact that those who work in the computer science field find that they enjoy longer careers and experience greater satisfaction on the job. While the promised salaries tend to draw these individuals in, job satisfaction and the chance for advancement is usually what makes computer scientists stay in the field.
The great thing about being a computer science major is the opportunities that will be available in the next few years. The field of computers is ever changing, with new innovations coming onto the scene every few months. While that may present a unique set of challenges for computer science majors, it also ensures that their jobs will never be boring. Not only is a computer science degree a certainty to provide you with a good salary, but it also ensures that you will enjoy an intellectually stimulating career.
- Top 10 Best Online Computer Science Degree Programs
- 30 Great Free Online Computer Science Courses
- 50 Fortune 500 Companies Offering Computer Science Internships
- 15 Fastest Online Master’s in Computer Science
- 30 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science
- 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science
- 30 Most Affordable Residential Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science
- 5 Cheapest Associate’s in Computer Science Degrees Online
- Top 10 Best Computer Science Online Degree Programs
- Top 50 Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degree Programs
- Can I Become a Software Engineer With a Computer Science Degree?
- Can I get a Computer Science MBA online?
- Can I Get a Decent Job With an Associate’s in Computer Science?
- Can I Get a Job in Forensics With a Computer Science Degree?