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Data Processing Major

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Data Processing

136 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
11 Master's Degrees Annually
#269 in Popularity
$46,750 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Data Processing Majors Are Getting

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

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 910
Basic Certificate 679
Undergraduate Certificate 445
Bachelor’s Degree 136
Master’s Degree 11
Graduate Certificate 4

What Data Processing Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to data processing were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Data Processing Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Skills for Data Processing Majors

When studying data processing, 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Data Processing Majors

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

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  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a Data Processing Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with data processing:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Geographic Information Systems Technicians 9.3% $90,270
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Processing?

136 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
19% Percent Women
43% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 136 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in data processing in 2018, making it rank #269 in popularity. 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 data processing majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Data Processing Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 14
Black or African American 18
Hispanic or Latino 18
White 62
International Students 10
Other Races/Ethnicities 14

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Data Processing, too. About 7.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam
  • Nepal

How Much Do Data Processing 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 data processing made a median starting salary of $33,700 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $33,700 (25th percentile) and $33,700 (75th percentile).

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

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $46,750 to $93,350 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to data processing. 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, 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 Data Processing Major  ( 46750 to 93350 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with data processing require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

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

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 13.2%
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 8.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 14.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 50.9%
Master’s Degree 7.2%
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. 1.5%

Online Data Processing Programs

In 2017-2018, 159 schools offered a data processing program of some type. 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) 76 18
Certificate (1-2 years) 60 4
Certificate (2-4 Years) 18 4
Associate’s Degree 86 15
Bachelor’s Degree 2 1
Post-Baccalaureate 76 18
Master’s Degree 3 1
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 1 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Data Processing Worth It?

The median salary for a data processing grad is $46,750 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 17% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $137,000 after 20 years!

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

Major Number of Grads
Computer Information Systems 74,454
Computer Science 44,313
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 Entry 1,461
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,303

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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