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Computer Science Major

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Computer Science

27,743 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
12,602 Master's Degrees Annually
#19 in Popularity
$96,200 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer science graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 27,743
Master’s Degree 12,602
Associate’s Degree 2,511
Doctor’s Degree 1,015
Basic Certificate 206
Graduate Certificate 176
Undergraduate Certificate 60

What Computer Science Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, compsci majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for CompSci Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in compsci should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for CompSci Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a compsci student include the following:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Can You Do With a Computer Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with compsci:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19.0% $118,370
Computer and Information Systems Managers 12.0% $142,530
Computer Network Support Specialists 8.2% $62,770
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Computer Systems Engineers/Architects 9.3% $90,270
Document Management Specialists 9.3% $90,270
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists 9.3% $90,270
Information Security Analysts 28.5% $98,350
Search Marketing Strategists 9.3% $90,270
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers 9.3% $90,270
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270
Web Developers 14.9% $69,430

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science?

27,743 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
19% Percent Women
38% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 19th most popular in the country with 27,743 students graduating with a bachelor’s in compsci in 2018. This major attracts more men than women. About 81% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of CompSci Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 5,785
Black or African American 1,172
Hispanic or Latino 2,508
White 13,027
International Students 3,204
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,047

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in CompSci, too. About 11.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Nepal
  • South Korea

How Much Do Computer Science Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science made a median starting salary of $63,700 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $54,675 (25th percentile) and $73,125 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to compsci so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Compsci majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $89,580 to $114,000 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Computer Science Major  ( 89580 to 114000 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with compsci may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 6.1%
Some College Courses 4.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 9.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 57.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.3%
Master’s Degree 11.2%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.7%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 4.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online Computer Science Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 871 schools offered some type of computer science program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 20 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 20 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 213 18
Bachelor’s Degree 23 7
Post-Baccalaureate 20 0
Master’s Degree 250 41
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 110 5
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 1

Is a Degree in Computer Science Worth It?

The median salary for a compsci grad is $96,200 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 141% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,126,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to compsci.

Major Number of Grads
Computer Information Systems 74,454
Information Technology 30,179
Information Science 17,384
Computer Systems Networking 13,791
Computer Software & Applications 11,900
Computer Programming 10,098
Computer Systems Analysis 2,655
Data Processing 2,185
Data Entry 1,461
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,303

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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