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Computer Science Major

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Computer Science

11,587 Master's Degrees Annually
1,182 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#19 in Popularity (Master's)
$96,200 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer science graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 11,600
Doctor’s Degree 1,182
Graduate Certificate 102

What Computer Science Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to compsci and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for CompSci 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.
  • 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

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

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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?

People with a compsci degree often go into the following careers:

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 Master’s Degree in Computer Science?

11,600 Master's Degrees Annually
28% Percent Women
13% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is one of the most frequently chosen graduate majors. It is the 19th most popular in the country with 11,587 students graduating with a master’s in compsci in 2019. This major tends to be male dominated. About 72% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of CompSci Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 999
Black or African American 190
Hispanic or Latino 208
White 1,665
International Students 8,123
Other Races/Ethnicities 415

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in CompSci. About 70.0% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of computer science students with a master’s degree is $91,100 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $81,400 (25th percentile) and $118,400 (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 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 Computer Science Major  ( 89580 to 114000 )
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250K
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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250K

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.

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

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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 2018-2019, 915 schools offered a compsci 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) 27 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 23 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 234 20
Bachelor’s Degree 24 9
Post-Baccalaureate 27 0
Master’s Degree 260 45
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 111 5
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

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 17,155
Information Technology 8,964
Information Science 7,072
Computer Software & Applications 2,830
Computer Systems Analysis 772
Computer Systems Networking 713
Other Computer & Information Sciences 486
Computer Programming 147
Data Processing 73
Data Entry 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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