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How Much do Computer Science Professionals Earn?

If you’re tech-savvy and you are preparing to map out a career plan, it is time to research computer science salaries.

When you work as a computer science professional, you are responsible for designing, building and maintaining computer hardware components and software programs. Even though you study theory, degree programs in computer science are very focused on the scientific and the practical methods that you will use to design, build or maintain.


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While having a degree is essential in today’s employment market, it is important to compare salaries with education costs to see if your investment into academics is worth it.

Here is what you need to know about salaries in computer science.

What is the Average Starting Salary for Graduates?

The best place to start as you do a salary comparison is to see how much you could potentially make when you complete school.

If you are realistically mapping out your earning potential, your first focus should always be on where you will start. Once you do this, you will be able to place more focus on where you can go and how much you will earn once you gain experience and climb up the ladder.

On average, the starting salary for computer science majors nationwide is $66,800. The top earners out of college earn around $102,000 depending on the industry they work in and where they work.

How Much Can You Make as you Gain Experience in Computer Science?

Computer science salaries vary dramatically, but they do climb as you are able to put experience on your resume. Once you become an experienced computer scientist, you can work your way up to the national average salary for mid-career level professionals, reported to be $85,917 per year.

The upper-level salary for experienced scientists, as reported by Payscale.com, is $129,956 per year. That is a sizable six-figure income for a professional with a 4-year computer science degree. Landing a management role will increase your earning potential more.

What Influences Salaries Reported in the Field of Computer Science?

One of the biggest influential factors on computer science pay scales is your location. If you are working in an area where there is not a large demand for scientists, you could be in the lower end of the range. If, however, you work in the top-paying areas, you could earn well above the averages reported. According to Forbes, the best places to work include: Silicon Valley, Seattle, Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York.

Who Are the Best Employers?

If you do not plan to work for yourself, you should pursue positions with top technology companies. Some of the companies that have made the top of the list because of benefits and work environment include:

  • Guidewire
  • Barracuda Networks
  • Rackspace
  • MITRE
  • Google
  • SAP America

You have to work your way to your goal. The first step in your plan is to earn your computer science degree. Once you have completed school, the next step should be to land the right computer science job where you can gain experience and still enjoy what you do. Once you get that experience, you will find that computer science salaries only continue to climb.