A North Central College computer science student uses a laptop.

Computer Science Degree Salary

Reviewed by Jacob Imm

Nov 17, 2021

HOW MUCH IS A COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE SALARY?

Over the next four years, the World Economic Forum predicts that automation will displace about 85 million jobs. On the flip side, over 97 million new roles will emerge.

Leading that employment transition? Computer science (Comp Sci) jobs.

With the second-fastest job growth rate and a median salary of $88,240, the computer science job market is nothing to sneeze at. There are significant differences in salary depending on whether you have an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, so let’s get into the details and explore the average computer science degree salary.

Associate Degrees

While an associate degree may not provide you access to the highest paying positions, it still opens doors to solid jobs. From web design to data administration, these programs are an excellent introduction to the professional world of computer science.

Associate Curriculum

If you’re tight on time or money, an associate degree in computer science is a quality option. Night classes and part-time schedules offer flexibility, while full-time students can complete programs within two years. As for curriculum, most associate degrees will focus on technical and job-applicable skills like:

  • Programming (C++, Java, HTML)
  • Computer Networking
  • Database Management & Administration
  • Cybersecurity

Associate Jobs and Salaries

Let’s say you’ve done the work and completed your associate degree. What do you do now? The good news is that for those with an associate degree, the computer science field boasts some of the most lucrative jobs for those with an associate degree. Here are a few popular roles to research:

  • Web Developer – If website design, management, and testing are your specialty, then step up to the web developer plate. In 2019, more than 14,000 web developer jobs emerged at a continued job growth rate of 8%. And with little experience required beyond an associate degree, a median salary of $73,760 seems like a good return on your investment.
  • Computer Support Specialist – Make a difference by being the IT support that leaves customers satisfied, not frustrated. With median salaries of $54,760, computer support specialists are in high demand, from software to printer companies.
  • Database Administrator – In the past, most database jobs had bachelor’s degree requirements. But with rising demand at a 10% job growth rate, database administration roles are opening to qualified candidates with associate degrees. Focus on the SQL programming language to earn these roles that offer a median salary of $93,750.
  • Computer Systems Analyst- A computer systems analyst studies a company's computer system and advises how to improve or streamline it. This job is just as lucrative as a database administrator with a median salary of $90,920.

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Bachelor’s Degrees

To unlock specialized, higher-paying roles, you may need a bachelor's degree. While the expense and availability will be higher than for an associate degree, the high employability that goes with a bachelor’s in computer science often outweighs the cost.

Bachelor’s Curriculum

Similar to an associate program, computer science graduates with a bachelor's degree will require intensive math and technical programming skills. You will also find more niche and theoretical courses, such as:

  • Software Development
  • Computing Theory
  • Advanced Programming (Haskell, Scala, MATLAB)
  • Algorithms & Data Analysis

Bachelor’s Jobs and Salaries

Certain computer science employers won’t even consider your resume without a qualifying bachelor’s degree. While experience does count, these roles are more available after a 4-year program:

  • Software Developer – With mobile and desktop apps driving the current tech industry, software developers are the popular kids on the block. Clocking in at a median salary of $105,590, these jobs have a 22% predicted growth rate over the next decade.
  • Systems Analyst – If efficiency and organization are your strengths, consider a computer systems analyst position. These coveted roles offer workers a median salary of $89,000 to refine a company’s computing system.
  • Security Analyst – Since the dawn of the internet, hackers have multiplied by huge numbers online. Which explains why cyber security analysts are in such high demand, with an astounding 31% job growth rate and a typical salary around $99,730.
  • Network Architect- Are you interested in telecommunications? If so, you might like being a network architect, which is a person who designs and builds communication networks for a company, such as local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets. The network architect usually works hand in hand with the chief information officer. How much can you earn from this job? The average salary is $130,145.
  • Software Engineer- Are you more of a creator? Then a software engineer just might be the job for you. Through this profession, you get to design and build new computer systems software or applications software. You could create an entirely new program database or even a web browser. And how much can you earn from this job? An estimated $119,631. That's not too shabby. 

Master’s Degrees

With the market’s increasing demand for computing workers, a master’s degree sets a  college graduate apart from the crowd. An additional two years of school can make your job options grow exponentially.

Master’s Curriculum

Your undergraduate years may have given you classroom fatigue. However, your master’s program will make the extra time worth it, as your curriculum will include specific topics that will greatly improve your resume such as:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile Systems
  • Advanced Modeling

Master’s Jobs and Salaries

After paying for undergraduate school, you may balk at a grad program’s extra cost. On average, a master’s degree is priced between $30,000 and $40,000 in tuition and fees per year.  But as in most industries, every additional Comp Sci college degree earns you a higher starting salary. Here are some high-paying jobs that master’s programs can provide:

  • Data Scientist – Data is the currency of tech companies, and many software developers need a quality data scientist to create successful algorithms, visualizations, and AI programs. With an average starting salary of $121,000, the job carries high responsibility and high value.
  • Chief Information Officer  – If you’re more of a big-picture person, a CIO position might fit your skills. At a competitive salary of $237,875, a person in this position leads all aspects of a company’s business plan regarding technology and data use.
  • Networks or Cloud Architects – Cloud systems are increasingly popular among tech users. To be a developer and implementer of cloud systems, high-level programming and operating systems skills, which are worth a national average salary of $107,309.
  • Computer scientist- The world of computer science is constantly evolving. Therefore the role of a computer scientist is to discover and expand computational theory or find solutions or innovations for various computer systems. These include deeper studies on programming language (particularly syntax, variables, conditionals, etc.) and analyzing how computer programs work. Does it compensate well? The estimated annual computer scientist salary is $82,127

Computer Science Isn’t Short on Cash

Across the board, the average computer science degree salary is comfortable, to say the least. More importantly, there's always room for growth. It's never too late to take up computer science majors and expand your skillset. And with continually soaring job demands, we believe this industry is full of opportunities.

If you think computer science could be for you, consider the computer science program at North Central College. North Central’s bachelor’s degree program in computer science will give you a strong theoretical foundation. You’ll learn the most widely used skills and languages, and you’ll be presented with opportunities outside the classroom, such as internships and student research projects.

North Central understands that computer science isn't just about building programs for computers, it's about building computer systems for people. The North Central computer science curriculum helps develop skills employers consistently mention as highly valued but are often absent from the computer science major- communication skills. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the computer science degree in Chicago web page ​for more information.

If you’re interested in learning more about computer science as a major read our other articles “Is computer science hard? “, “Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering” and “Top computer science interview questions”.

Jacob Imm is a communications specialist in the North Central College Office of Marketing and Communications. He has 10 years of collegiate communications experience and has worked with hundreds of college students. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University.