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Computer Science Major

43,871 yearly degrees
#28 in popularity
$96,000 median salary

Computer science is a major that typically falls into the Computer & Information Sciences category.

There are 213 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in compsci, 651 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 250 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 111 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a CompSci Degree?

Computer science runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #23 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 23,700 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. This major attracts more men than women. About 81.2% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of compsci majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 20.9%
  • Black or African American: 4.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 9%
  • White: 47%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 11.5%
  • Other Races: 7.4%

Computer Science Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in compsci. About 11.5% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending compsci majors to the U.S. are India, China and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Computer Science Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to compsci to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for CompSci Majors

Compsci majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Computer Science Majors

Skills for CompSci Majors

When studying compsci, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Computer Science Majors

Abilities for CompSci Majors

A major in compsci will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

Important Abilities for compsci Majors

What Can You Do With a CompSci Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with compsci:

Careers Related to Computer Science
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19% $118,370
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270
Computer Programmers -7.2% $84,280
Computer Network Support Specialists 8.2% $62,770
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists 9.3% $90,270
Computer Systems Engineers/Architects 9.3% $90,270
Search Marketing Strategists 9.3% $90,270
Computer and Information Systems Managers 12% $142,530

Computer Science Major Salary

Average salaries range from $90,000 to $114,000 for careers related to compsci. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a CompSci Major  ( 90000 to 114000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Computer Science Major Jobs

Some careers associated with compsci require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for compsci careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Computer Science
Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Less Than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma or Equivalent 2%
Post-Secondary Certificate 6.1%
Some College Courses 4.9%
Associate's Degree or Equivalent 9%
Bachelor's Degree 57.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 4.3%
Master's Degree 11.2%
Post-Master's Certificate 0.7%
First Professional Degree 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 4.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online Computer Science Programs

There are 651 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with 35 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Computer Science Major Worth It?

The median salary for a compsci grad is $96,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 147% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,146,000 after 20 years!

computer science salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Negative Space via License

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