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Computer Software Applications Major

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Computer Software Applications

2,495 Master's Degrees Annually
4 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#61 in Popularity (Master's)
$89,580 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Software Applications Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer software and applications graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 2,984
Graduate Certificate 399
Doctor’s Degree 6

What Computer Software Applications Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to computer software 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 Computer Software 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.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • 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 Computer Software Majors

When studying computer software, 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.
  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Computer Software Majors

As a computer software major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • 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 Software Applications Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with computer software:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19.0% $118,370
Database Administrators 11.5% $90,070
Graphic Designers 4.2% $50,370
Multimedia Artists and Animators 8.4% $72,520
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Web Developers 14.9% $69,430

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Computer Software Applications?

2,984 Master's Degrees Annually
44% Percent Women
17% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 56% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 249
Black or African American 120
Hispanic or Latino 98
White 822
International Students 1,517
Other Races/Ethnicities 178

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Computer Software, too. About 50.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Saudi Arabia

How Much Do Computer Software Applications Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of computer software and applications students with a master’s degree is $72,800 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $61,550 (25th percentile) and $86,700 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in computer software, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $75,580 to $108,080 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to computer software. 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 Software Applications Major  ( 75580 to 108080 )
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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 computer software 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 schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to computer software have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.7%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.6%
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) 4.2%
Some College Courses 8.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 64.4%
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. 0.7%
Master’s Degree 6.4%
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. 1.5%
Doctoral Degree 3.0%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.5%

Online Computer Software Applications Programs

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 735 schools offered some type of computer software and applications 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) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 274 33
Certificate (2-4 Years) 28 8
Associate’s Degree 389 47
Bachelor’s Degree 50 22
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 81 21
Post-Master’s 9 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Computer Software Applications Worth It?

The median salary for a computer software grad is $89,580 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 125% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $993,600 after 20 years!

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

Major Number of Grads
Computer Information Systems 81,384
Computer Science 53,722
Information Technology 38,958
Information Science 18,368
Computer Systems Networking 14,814
Computer Programming 10,756
Data Processing 2,320
Computer Systems Analysis 2,269
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,326

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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