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Data Processing

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Data Processing Major

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

There are 86 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in data processing, 12 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 3 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 1 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Data Processing Degree?

Data processing is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #276 in popularity. About 100 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. This major attracts more men than women. About 80.9% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 10.3%
  • Black or African American: 13.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.2%
  • White: 45.6%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 7.4%
  • Other Races: 10.3%
Data Processing Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in data processing. About 7.4% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending data processing majors to the U.S. are India, China and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Data Processing Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to data processing 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 Data Processing Majors

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

Important Knowledge Areas for Data Processing Majors

Skills for Data Processing Majors

Data processing majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

Important Skills for Data Processing Majors

Abilities for Data Processing Majors

Data processing majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for data processing Majors

What Can You Do With a Data Processing Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with data processing:

Careers Related to Data Processing
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Web Administrators



Computer Operators



Geographic Information Systems Technicians



Data Processing Major Salary

Average salaries range from $47,000 to $93,000 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, 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 Data Processing Major  ( 47000 to 93000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Data Processing Major Jobs

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.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to data processing have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Data Processing
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Data Processing Programs

There are 12 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in data processing, with 2 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.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Data Processing Major Worth It?

The median salary for a data processing grad is $47,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 20% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $157,000 after 20 years!

data processing salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


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

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