Computer science is a growing field very much in demand, and higher wages is usually the first answer when students are asked why they chose to earn a master’s in computer science. Graduates of computer science degrees generally have many jobs available to them because it’s such a vast field that offers jobs as programmers, web developers, computer hardware engineers, software developers, and computer system analysts to name just a few. While many of these jobs can be obtained with an undergraduate degree, most candidates find the most lucrative computer science jobs with a master’s degree.
Related resource: 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science
Differences Between a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Computer Science
Before we can determine if and why an individual can earn more money with a master’s degree, it’s important to know the difference between a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s in computer science. Students in the bachelor’s degree program gain a foundation education in computer science. They have courses like operating systems, algorithms, programming and data structures. These courses prepare students for computer science jobs but also provide them with the knowledge they need should they decide to pursue a graduate degree.
Master degree programs cover these same areas but also teach students how to do research in areas like programming languages, databases, graphics or data mining. Additionally, master’s degree students can choose from specific degree tracks or areas of specialization, such as security, software systems, computer networks, and machine learning. It stands to reason that graduates of master’s degree programs might have wages because their knowledge of computer science is more advanced.
Careers in Computer Science
Computer science offers a wide variety of career opportunities. Many of these positions can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree while many of them require a master’s degrees. Typically, employers prefer to hire an applicant with a master’s degree, especially if the position is in management or administrations. Here are some of the many jobs available to computer science graduates.
• Database administrator
• Application analyst
• Data analyst
• Forensic computer analyst
• Web developer
• Web designer
• Applications developer
• Systems analyst
• IT consultant
• Software developer
• Computer programmer
• Information systems manager
• Cybersecurity analyst
• Games developer
How Much More Can be Earned with a Master’s in Computer Science?
A 2013 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that an individual with a master’s degree can definitely earn more than one with a bachelor’s degree, particularly in STEM occupations. Candidates in math-related occupations, such as statisticians and mathematicians, earned wages 33% higher wages with a master’s degree than those with a bachelor’s degree.
STEM occupations, like computer programmers or information and computer system analysts, earned 18% higher wages with master’s degrees while network and computer systems administrators earned 26% higher wages. In the case of the network and computer systems administrators, it was a difference of an average annual wage of $88,000 for master’s degree holders and $70,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree. Wages have increased even higher over the past five years.
Career Outlook for Computer Science
Computer and information research scientists are predicted to see an employment growth of 19% between 2016 and 2026. Computer and information systems managers are expected to see a 12% growth while computer hardware engineers should see a growth of 5%. These are just a few of the possibilities open to computer science graduates according to the BLS.
Computer science is such a vast field that degree holders will almost always find a job that interests them. Earning a master’s degree will not only offer higher-paying jobs but will also allow the candidate to branch out in other areas in computer science, and there are many!