With positions in web development, artificial intelligence, and more, the average computer science bachelor’s degree holder makes around $91,000 per year in the job market1. This guide explores some of the highest-paying computer science careers available and how graduates can land these roles.
Common Computer Science Majors
Computer science careers typically break down into a few different majors, including:
Trains students to analyze networks to become network administrators
Offers training in big data and data pipelines and can support computer and information systems research positions
Trains students in programming languages and web, mobile, and computer systems design.
Suitable for information security analysts and fraud detection specialists.
Computer hardware and software development
Trains students for troubleshooting positions in IT and offers foundational knowledge to manage company systems.
Highest Paying Computer Science Careers
Computer science covers the computation, machines, and algorithms that make the computer world possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists 10 computer science jobs that bring in reliable income well over the national average of just under $42,000 per year2.
Computer Support Specialist Average Annual Salary: $55,510
Computer support specialists make $55,510 per year3 on average, helping others manage their technology. They answer questions, work out solutions, and problem-solve through challenges. The field is expected to grow at an average pace, providing about 74,000 open positions per year3.
Website Developers and Digital Designers Annual Average Salary: $77,220
The website design field pays just over $77,000 per year on average4. Designers handle website issues, create and maintain websites, and design an engaging user experience. The sector is expected to grow faster than average at 13%, expecting 17,900 openings per year4.
Network and Computer System Administrators Average Annual Salary: $84,810
Network and computer system administrators make $84,810 per year5 building and managing the day-to-day operations of computer networks for an organization. Unfortunately, the field is expected to grow slower than average at 5%, but job seekers can still expect around 24,900 open positions per year5.
Computer Programmer Average Annual Salary: $89,190
Programmers write and test the code that people use every day, from the internet to native applications on their mobile device, making almost $90,000 per year6. The field is expected to decline 10% due to increasing automation and artificial intelligence, but job seekers should still expect around 9,700 open positions every year6. Programmers can also find positions building and overseeing the automation tools making programming more efficient.
Computer Systems Analyst Average Annual Salary: $93,730
Computer systems analysts make almost $94,000 per year on average7. These professionals study the computer systems of organizations in order to troubleshoot challenges and build more efficient systems. The field is expected to experience average growth, and job seekers can go for one of 47,500 open positions each year7.
Database Administrators and Architects Annual Salary: $98,860
Database administrators and architects make around $99,000 per year8 on average, creating and organizing the systems that organizations use to store and secure data. The field is expected to experience average growth, offering around 13,900 open positions per year for job seekers8.
Information Security Analyst Average Annual Salary: $103,590
Information security analysts make over $103,000 per year9 handling the security of organizations and their networks and data. Security analysts examine the networks for loopholes and plan both proactive and reactive security measures. The field is expected to grow much faster than average at 33%, with more than 16,000 openings expected each year9.
Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, and Tester Average Annual Salary: $110,140
Workers in this field make well over $100,000 per year10 handling development, analysis, and testing of new products in computer technology. The field is expected to experience 22% growth, with 189,200 open positions per year10, making it a compelling opportunity for job seekers.
Computer Network Architects Average Annual Salary: $116,780
Computer network architects make over $116,000 per year11 building the data communication networks organizations need to handle their technology. These networks include local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and intranet. The field is expected to grow a bit slower than average at just 5%, but job seekers can still find around 11,000 openings per year11.
Computer and Information Research Scientists Average Annual Salary: $126,830
Computer and information research scientists make an average of just under $127,000 per year12 designing new product technology and researching new uses for existing technology. The sector is expected to grow 22% over the next 10 years, with 3,200 new jobs each year12.
Popular Career Paths With a Computer Science Degree
Nearly every industry takes advantage of computers scientists to manage digital transformation. However, a few industries offer more potential for those seeking careers in computer science.
Finance and Banking
With changing regulations, international banking standards, and disruption in standard currency and banking practices, computer scientists are tasked with building the next generation of finance and banking technology. Computer scientists manage fraud detection, build better online banking solutions, and help with the underwriting processes for loans.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Manufacturing and supply chain organizations added the Internet of Things sensors to handle predictive maintenance, automate documentation, and ensure optimal efficiency even during disruption. Computer programmers manage this data and help companies remain in compliance.
As the internet gets busier, e-commerce companies need developers who can manage customer experience and engagement. Programmers are needed to build next-generation customer service agents, like chatbots, designed to smooth out customer interactions with companies. Computer scientists also build programs that can keep up with company mentions on the internet across a multitude of channels.
Security breaches can cost companies big. Cybersecurity analysts and programmers can build the necessary tools and systems companies need to keep their sensitive data safe and their networks secure. As more organizations allow remote work, this presents challenges in keeping security at the forefront of operations without restricting the tools remote employees need to be successful. Computer programmers can handle these ever-changing needs.
Marketing evolves with each technology iteration. Computer programmers can build the framework for digital marketers to monitor company mentions and analyze data. Customers expect personalization and engagement, which means creating dynamic programs that allow marketers to create those experiences will keep computer scientists busy.
Average Salary for Computer Science Graduates
Computer scientist degree holders can make an average of $91,000 per year1. This can vary depending on experience and location. For example, according to the BLS, these are the top five best-paying states for computer research scientists:
- California average annual salary: $150, 830
- Virginia average annual salary: $146,830
- Washington average annual salary: $143,010
- New York average annual salary: $138,190
- Oregon average annual salary: $137,760
Students can use location to their advantage to find high-paying jobs in their industry or take advantage of the remote work phenomena.
How to Find a Job After You Graduate
Computer science jobs can be competitive, but students can prepare in a few different ways. First, the field prioritizes experience, and computer science programs prepare students by building portfolios. These portfolios showcase real-world problems and challenges students addressed using their computer science knowledge.
Other ways to stand out in the field include joining open-source projects such as those on Github or hackathons that address real-world issues. These types of projects get students noticed and provide vital experiences.
Students can also take internships at companies with IT or computer science departments. They can also network at conferences and meetups in the field and find networking opportunities through their school’s alumni network.
Discover More About a Career With a Computer Science Degree
Q. How do I become a computer scientist?
A bachelor’s degree offers a great place to start for those wanting to break into the field of computer science. Students can also sign up for sites like Github to work on open-source projects and learn new skills from others in the community. Boot camps offer ways to niche into specific skills like machine learning, and networking provides students the opportunity to hear about jobs sooner than job boards.
Q. How long does it take to get a computer science degree?
Bachelor’s programs take four years of full-time study to complete. Self-taught students can take anywhere from 1-3 years or more, but self-teaching may not offer an efficient career path. Graduate programs take 1-3 years on top of undergraduate work.
Q. Is computer science just programming?
The field includes more than simply programming and coding. Computer scientists leverage these computer tools to address real-world challenges and push the boundaries of what companies can do with technology.
Q. Is computer science a good career?
Computer science offers a wide variety of projects in technology, data science, programming, and more. It offers areas of growth and an average salary well above the national average, many of them above six figures per year. And considering that all industries need computer scientists’ expertise, students can work in an industry that interests them.
Q. What is the future of computer science?
Computer scientists will delve into machine learning and artificial intelligence as well as cybersecurity topics relevant to current events. Also, they’ll be responsible for oversight for automation tools that make programming (and nearly every other technology) automated.
 PayScale. (2021). Bachelor’s Degree Computer Science (CS) salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor%27s_Degree%2C_Computer_Science_(CS)/Salary
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Support Specialist. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Network and Computer Systems Administrators. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Programmer. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Systems Analysts. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Information Security Analysts. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Information Security Analysts. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Network Architects. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Research Scientist. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm