Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science will give you the technology and software writing skills that you need to enjoy many types of computer science and technology careers. With the right kind of computer science education, you will be qualified for exciting technology jobs that will put you in high demand for most if not all of your career.
To decide if you want to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, it is critical to understand what your potential salary could be. The major factors that will determine your salary level with this degree in computer science are:
- Type of computer science career
- How many years of work experience you have
Once you understand these factors, you will have a better idea of the salary you can earn with a bachelor’s in computer science.
Type of Computer Science Career
Earning your bachelor’s degree in computer science is a great career choice, but the salary level you can enjoy depends upon the exact career path you choose. Computer science is a broad field, and there are many directions in which you can go.
Some of the most common computer science careers and salaries are highlighted below.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Many computer science majors work as computer and information systems managers. This position may also be called IT manager or IT project manager. Your job is to plan, coordinate and direct all of the computer activities in a company or organization. Computer and information systems managers determine what the IT goals are for the company and implement the technology systems and tasks that are needed to meet these goals.
Most of these managers do not complete all of these tasks themselves. There are many types of computer and information systems managers; the duties and scope of their work depends upon the size of the company. Some of the common types of computer and information systems managers are:
- Chief information officer or CIO: Determines what the information and technology goals are for the company and provides oversight. CIOs often have more of a business focus with some exposure to IT and computer technology as a minor or concentration.
- Chief technology officer or CTO: Evaluates new technology and decides how it can help the company. The CTO usually has more technical expertise and training than a CIO.
- IT director: This computer professional is in charge of a company’s IT department and usually supervises other workers.
- IT security manager: Oversees the company’s network and data security
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports the median salary for all computer and information systems managers in 2017 was $139,000. The top 10% earned more than $208,000 per year. Median salaries were as follows in these fields:
- Information: $153,000
- Computer systems design and related services: $146,400
- Finance and insurance: $146,300
- Manufacturing: $141,000
- Management of enterprises and companies: $140,900
The software developer is the creative mind that devises the computer programs and applications that we use. Some are responsible for writing apps that allow consumers to do certain tasks on a smartphone or computer, while others develop the systems that underlie devices or control networks.
Software developers are responsible for the development processes for many types of software. They need to ask how the consumer wants to use the program, and then identify for vital functionality that consumers need from the program. Developers also must study user requirements that are not related to how the software functions, such as performance and security needs.
Major types of software developers are:
- Applications software developers: Design various consumer and business applications such as word processors, apps and games. You may also create databases for large companies.
- Systems software developers: Create the computer operating systems that keep computers and devices properly functioning. They may be operating systems for computers that the public or systems that are designed for an organization.
BLS states the median salary for software developers in 2017 was $101,900, with the top 10% earning more than $160,000 per year. Top industries for software developers and their salaries are:
- Software publishers: $112,000
- Manufacturing: $109,000
- Finance and insurance: $105,100
- Management of companies and enterprises: $100,400
- Computer systems design and related services; $98,400
A data scientist is responsible for identifying business trends and problems through performing big data analysis. Data scientists are responsible for interpreting results from many data sources by using various, advanced data analysis and statistical techniques, including data aggregation and data mining.
According to salary.com, data scientists currently earn a median salary of $123,000 per year. The range is between $92,900 and $151,600, depending upon degree and experience.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts are responsible for planning and carrying out computer security measures to protect the networks and systems for a company. They are heavily focused on creating a disaster recovery plan for the organization. This is a procedure that workers must follow if there is some type of an emergency. A disaster recovery plan allows for the company’s IT systems to continue to operate in case of a cyber attack, power outage, terrorist attack or natural disaster.
Information security analysts also are responsible for monitoring the networks for the organization to ensure there are no security breaches. Any breaches that occur must be investigated and new systems and measures taken to prevent further problems.
BLS states the median salary for information security analysts was $95,500 in 2017, with the top 10% earning more than $153,000 per year. Salaries for major industries were as follows:
- Computer systems design and related services: $98,100
- Finance and insurance: $97,600
- Information: $96,200
- Administrative and support services: $91,500
- Management of companies and enterprises: $90,900
Computer Science Work Experience
The longer you work in computer science, the more you generally earn. For example, Payscale.com reports the median salary for IT managers is $84,800, but the salary varies based upon level of experience:
- Managers with less than five years of experience earn an average salary of $59,000.
- Managers with five to 10 years of experience earn an average salary of $76,000./
- Managers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn an average salary of $91,000.
- Managers with more than 20 years of experience earn an average salary of $99,000.
Computer Science Location
Payscale.com reports the national average salary for IT managers is $84,900, but this salary will vary based upon where you live in the US:
- Minneapolis: 34% higher salary
- San Francisco: 33% higher salary
- Chicago: 30% higher salary
- Washington state: 30% higher salary
- Boston: 21% higher salary
- Atlanta: 20% higher salary
- Denver: 17% higher salary
- New York: 16% higher salary
- Houston: 14% higher salary
- Miami: 16% lower salary
- Austin: 3% higher salary
- Dallas: 14% higher salary
Computer Science Certifications
To earn the best salary with your bachelor’s in computer science, consider earning one of the certifications below, as it can result in better compensation every year of your career:
- Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT): $121,300
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect: $121,200
- AWS Certified Developer: $114,100
- Project Management Professional (PMP): $114,400
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): $111,400
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC): $111,000
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): $108,000
- Certified Scrummaster: $106,800
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): $106,300
Now that you understand the major factors that influence your salary with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you can hopefully make a better career choice.
- Computer and Information Systems Managers. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
- 15 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2018. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/content/articles/top-paying-certifications/