Pursuing a career in computer science can be one of the smartest moves you will ever make. First, the skills you learn in a CS or IT program can transfer to many other roles, so if you find you are not enjoying one particular position, there are plenty more to explore. Plus, as long as you actually enjoy technology, these jobs are typically interesting and enjoyable, attracting intelligent, witty, and forward-thinking candidates.
However, from a financial standpoint, the best thing about seeking a career in computer science is the higher-than-average earnings. Compared to many other majors, students who study computer science can expect to land a great-paying job with only a bachelor’s degree. This makes enrolling in a computer science degree program an excellent return on the investment you make in your education.
For this post, we gathered a list of the most relevant jobs you can land with a degree in computer science and narrowed them down to the top 30. If you’re interested in working in the field of technology, have a look. You’ll likely find many positions you recognize, but there may be quite a few you didn’t even know existed. This collection can help you narrow down your goals and give you a better idea of the types of roles that might appeal to you.
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What Are the Highest-paid Jobs in Computer Science?
While computer science jobs and salaries can differ tremendously, there are some that are definitely more lucrative than others. Of the 30 careers listed here, eight of them command a salary that can go well beyond $120,000. These include:
- Cloud Solutions Architect: $81k – $162k
- Software Architect: $89k – $167k
- Site Reliability Engineer: $76k – $158k
- IT Project Manager: $57k – $128k
- Hardware Engineer: $65k – $136k
- Wireless RF Network Engineer: $56k – $129k
- Computer Research Scientist: $51k – $122k
- Certified Ethical Hacker: $51k – $130k
How Much Money Can You Make With a Computer Science Degree?
Payscale’s annual College Salary Report lists computer science as the second most lucrative bachelor’s degree, trumped only by a degree in petroleum engineering. This comes as no surprise, really. Computer science has been one of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees for many years, with nothing indicating that these figures will change.
The average base salary for those who graduate with a computer science degree is $126,000 a year. Of course, there are many variables, including experience, skillset, and location. However, as you will see from our list of the most lucrative jobs for computer science majors, earning an impressive salary is not uncommon, with many positions paying six figures annually. So, if you’ve found yourself wondering, “does a computer science degree pay well?” the answer is a resounding yes.
Highest Paying Jobs for Computer Science Majors
|Career||Average Base Salary Range|
|Web Developer||$41k – $89k|
|Data Manager||$45k – $116k|
|Network Administrator||$43k – $85k|
|Computer Programmer||$42k – $100k|
|User Interface Designer||$46k – $93k|
|Applications Programmer||$47k – $103k|
|PHP Developer||$44k – $97k|
|Data Security Analyst||$48k – $108k|
|Information Technology Auditor||$53k – $101k|
|Systems Analyst||$48k – $96k|
|Video Game Designer||$40k – $104k|
|IT Security Administrator||$50k – $95k|
|Application Developer||$50k – $101k|
|IT Business Analyst||$51k – $99k|
|Mathematician||$49k – $117k|
|Cloud Solutions Architect||$81k – $162k|
|Software Developer||$51k – $106k|
|Software Architect||$89k – $167k|
|Site Reliability Engineer||$76k – $158k|
|IT Project Manager||$57k – $128k|
|Hardware Engineer||$65k – $136k|
|Wireless RF Network Engineer||$56k – $129k|
|Computer and Information Research Scientist||$51k – $122k|
|Certified Ethical Hacker||$51k – $130k|
|Web Designer||$37k – $75k|
|Webmaster||$39k – $83k|
|Database Administrator||$47k – $110k|
|Information Security Analyst||$52k – $113k|
|Mobile Developer||$49k – $118k|
|UX Designer||$51k – $109k|
More Details on the Highest Paying Jobs in Computer Science
Salary Range: $41k – $89k
Web Developers also rely heavily on their excellent communication and presentation skills since client interaction can often happen throughout the development process. Although web development is not the highest paying job in computer science on our list, those who are creative and enjoy seeing projects through from beginning to end will find this role incredibly rewarding.
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Salary Range: $45k – $116k
Data managers develop data-oriented systems to meet an organization’s or research team’s needs. Their duties include developing procedures and policies for managing the data in their charge, assisting colleagues with performing tasks that involve using this information at work, and sometimes even networking with clients.
Data managers are responsible for using big data to gain insight and understanding about customer experiences. They can work across a broad range of industries, including educational, medical, and financial, among others. Other primary responsibilities include managing the organization’s data systems and safeguarding its data against potential threats.
Salary Range: $43k – $85k
Network administrators are in charge of maintaining a company’s hardware and software. They install and configure any new operating systems or programs a company decides to use, plus they troubleshoot and repair any existing programs. They may also budget for costs related to hardware and software and monitor the performance of current or new systems.
Depending on the company, a network administrator may also work as a consultant, helping clients identify and implement specific system requirements for their businesses. Additionally, a network administrator is usually tasked with ensuring that the existing technology is current and updated and that nothing has become obsolete.
Salary Range: $42k – $100k
It’s not easy to summarize all that computer programmers can do in a couple of paragraphs, but we will try. The job of a computer programmer involves designing and creating software programs, but it’s much more involved than that. They need to be able to integrate systems with software, modify source code, write system instructions, analyze algorithms, maintain and debug software and systems, and even train end-users on how to use software or programs.
In addition, computer programmers will test any newly created programs or applications to ensure they work correctly. If not, they will check the code for mistakes and make corrections. This is a process that can be painstaking and time-consuming. Therefore, aspiring computer programmers should possess a lot of patience and the ability to problem-solve even when the solution feels impossible.
User Interface Designer
Salary Range: $46k – $93k
A UI designer is responsible for designing all the screens that users move through when using an organization’s website, game, or app. They also create visual design elements that make this movement possible and ensure it’s easy to understand by the target audience. While UI design is very similar to UX (user experience) design, it can be considered separate, even though they share the same goal—to satisfy users with an idealized end-product.
UI designers are essential because their work affects how people interact and perceive what’s on the screen, thus creating better experiences for everyone involved. Depending on the organization, this role can include creating a style guide so that a project is consistent across the board, designing individual screens and making decisions about how they will look, or even creating animations.
Salary Range: $47k – $103k
An applications programmer usually works for a company that develops software solutions or apps and is responsible for coding and testing those new apps. They are coding masters who have a number of computer languages at their disposal and relevant experience within the field. To become an applications programmer requires two distinct proficiencies: excellent programming skills combined with knowledge about how those programs interact from both sides—the developer side where you write code, and the user-side.
As an applications programmer, you usually need at least a bachelor’s degree or higher to get hired by most companies that develop software solutions or applications. That is because these jobs demand extensive knowledge of programming techniques across multiple platforms. Application Programmers typically work as part of an IT department and will possess strong problem-solving abilities.
Salary Range: $44k – $97k
PHP is a scripting language that adds functionality to web pages by letting developers write dynamically generated content fast. PHP developers are software developers who specialize in this scripting language. They work with a process called SDLC, or Software Development Life Cycle, and may be employed by large companies as part of a team or in the IT department of any business. Like most developers, they can also work as freelancers and have their own client base.
Some of the tasks a PHP developer might engage in include using methodical and logical testing processes, creating solutions and features for a web project, developing testing processes, or deploying code. They also need good communication skills since they will often meet with stakeholders and clients to gather information on a project’s requirements.
Data Security Analyst
Salary Range: $48k – $108k
A data security analyst spends their days analyzing how a company stores and accesses customer information. They keep track of potential vulnerabilities and determine the types of data that can feasibly be stored (and where) with regards to its sensitivity level (and if it should even exist in some cases). Finally, they will make recommendations for improvements or changes needed when working alongside IT managers and security teams–all while balancing the needs of both groups.
Data security analysts typically work for specific companies or businesses, ensuring that security programs and antivirus software are running properly and up to date. They also ensure that any networks and systems within the company are protected from viruses and hackers.
Information Technology Auditor
Salary Range: $53k – $101k
An information technology auditor monitors the internal controls and risks within a company’s IT systems. They actively study how an organization’s technologies are used, identifying points that could be weaknesses or vulnerabilities leading to fraud. IT auditors may be employed by government agencies, insurance companies, banks, consulting firms, or may even work independently as consultants. Many IT auditors act on behalf of a company, and some even work in management positions.
Those who want to pursue a career in this role will want to obtain certifications to improve their chances of securing a high-paying position. The two most common certifications include Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor.
Salary Range: $48k – $96k
A systems analyst (also called a systems architect) is a person who uses their skills to survey and diagnose database issues and identify user problems with computer programs or platforms in order for them to be more efficient or effective. These professionals may have formal roles at corporations or work as freelance consultants.
To qualify as a systems analyst, you must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. In addition, candidates should show proficiency in Microsoft Office software along with programming languages like Structured Query Language (SQL).
Video Game Designer
Salary Range: $40k – $104k
There are many dream careers, but few can compare with that of a video game designer. These professionals work to create playable games from start to finish in order for them to be as enjoyable and fun-filled as possible! They have the creative freedom to develop concepts and storylines, code for each level or mission that they design in a video game’s storyline, and then test it again just before release, so there are no flaws during gameplay.
People who want to be video game designers need a creative mind, good problem-solving skills, and the ability to work with other people in teams. This high-paying computer science role is quite versatile. Those who study video game design may also pursue careers in web or software development, oversee art projects, or even work on artwork that will appear in movies.
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IT Security Administrator
Salary Range: $50k – $95k
A security administrator is the person in charge of a cybersecurity team. They are responsible for troubleshooting any cyber-security problems that arise within an organization. In addition, they write policies about how things should work securely and install and administer solutions.
Security administrators take a leadership role in overseeing everything related to system upgrades. They are involved in all aspects of cybersecurity for an organization, including user access management, training documents, security software (firewalls, antivirus, etc.), and more. They may also train employees in security procedures and develop disaster recovery protocols in the event of a major security breach.
Salary Range: $50k – $101k
An application developer is a person who creates and designs programs for mobile phones, computers, or other devices. They are involved in updating existing applications to meet user needs while also releasing newly developed pieces of software to the marketplace. App developers work within many different industries across all sectors and often specialize in a particular platform, such as iOS or Android.
Like an application programmer, an application developer needs to be able to write code, but the scope of this position is much broader. For example, app developers may work on research, analysis, maintenance and testing, writing specs and documentation, and a wide array of other tasks in addition to coding. Thus, developers need to juggle all parts of the project when creating an app.
IT Business Analyst
Salary Range: $51k – $99k
IT business analysts are the bridges that connect business and technology. They help businesses improve efficiency, strengthen processes, and make decisions more efficiently through data analysis or systems troubleshooting.
They work closely with leaders in an organization to implement change that will benefit a company’s bottom line.
While data analysts work more with the data itself, IT business analysts use the data to recommend solutions. Therefore, they need good oral and written communication skills, experience with SQL and Excel, and should have some experience in project management.
Salary Range: $49k – $117k
Mathematicians are vital to the functioning of many organizations. However, in an IT setting, they help solve problems by applying technical skills, mathematical theories, and techniques to analyze data sets found in business or government organizations. These findings can then be used for solving engineering or science-related issues.
Mathematicians collect data that they transform into information using mathematics models. Typically, they work in a comfortable office or remotely, and they may collaborate with other team members, including computer scientists, statisticians, economists, engineers, and other professionals.
Cloud Solutions Architect
Salary Range: $81k – $162k
Another one of the best paying jobs in computer science is that of a cloud architect. This IT professional is someone who bridges the gap between complex business problems and cloud-based solutions. They often work with other technology team members—such as DevOps engineers or developers—to ensure that the right technologies are being built the first time around, so there are no surprises later on.
Cloud architects need to cultivate a wide range of skills. For example, they should have excellent knowledge of at least one operating system, have a solid understanding of networking, and understand key security concepts. Additionally, proficiency in one or more scripting or programming languages is considered helpful in this role.
Salary Range: $51k – $106k
Software developers can be found in many industries, from healthcare to technology. They work with the needs of an organization and use their specialized skill set for different purposes- whether it’s developing systems that run devices or creating applications that make tasks more manageable.
Software developers need extensive experience with programming languages. Their duties involve building software and modifying it to accept new hardware, improve its performance, and fix bugs. They are also involved in system testing, and may work with clients on technical issues and maintenance. Thus, software developers are also sometimes referred to as software engineers.
Salary Range: $89k – $167k
The highest paying career in computer science is software architecture. Software architects are responsible for making high-level design choices and enforcing technical standards. They might need to make decisions about the tools, coding styles, or platforms used in their projects, so they need a firm grasp on a wide variety of IT skills.
However, to be a software architect, it’s not enough to be knowledgeable about technology. You need to have strong business skills and proficiency in project management, leadership, and communication in this role. As a result, there is a fierce demand for software architects. While they may work exclusively for one organization or business, some software architects take freelance work or contract positions.
Site Reliability Engineer
Salary Range: $76k – $158k
Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) are the superhero engineers that keep our technological world running smoothly, and they are also some of the highest paid employees in computer science. They do this by making sure all of your favorite websites and apps stay up, no matter what! By applying a software engineering mindset to understanding how systems work and how to keep them reliable, they are a bridge between operations and development.
They collaborate closely with product developers to ensure that each solution responds functionally and meets any non-functional requirements like availability, performance, and security. SREs should have knowledge of networking, security, and systems administration and most often work for big tech companies.
IT Project Manager
Salary Range: $57k – $128k
An IT project manager is an expert on planning, executing, and delegating tasks around information technology endeavors. They may work in any number of industries, as computing technologies are necessities for nearly all organizations today. Therefore, this profession needs a mix of technical skills and soft skills such as managing schedules or providing detailed plans.
An IT Project manager may create and oversee the budgets and schedules for a project, manage team members, and lead meetings. They are typically responsible for delegating tasks to others and tracking the performance and progress of each project. Good oral and written communication skills are needed as they may be required to present project plans to stakeholders.
Salary Range: $65k – $136k
Hardware engineering is one of the best paying careers in computer science. Computer hardware engineers are professionals who design and develop the components of computer systems, such as circuit boards, routers, processors, networks, etc. They are concerned with the actual physical parts of computers and spend a lot of time testing the components they design, then modifying them as needed.
Many products manufactured today use computer hardware components, especially those that connect to the internet. Examples include medical devices, home appliances, and even new cars. So hardware engineers can be found in a variety of fields. Moreover, they often work in tandem with software developers, as much of the hardware and software for a product is developed simultaneously.
Wireless RF Network Engineer
Salary Range: $56k – $129k
Wireless RF Network Engineers create, deploy, and improve upon wireless communication systems and networks. The RF stands for radiofrequency, and these specialists work primarily for cellular operators, creating network performance models, testing existing networks for efficiency and speed, and ensuring all the legal and regulatory standards are followed.
Successful RF engineers need to have a solid grasp of computer modeling and extensive knowledge of wireless network systems. They should be problem solvers who can identify network issues and improve coverage and speed. Additionally, they need to be able to work as part of a team.
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Salary Range: $51k – $122k
Computer and information research is easily one of the top-paying careers in computer science. These professionals are vital to the future of computing. They study problems in their field, creating innovative uses for new technology or improving on existing solutions that would otherwise go unnoticed. Depending on where they work, they may be studying computing for science, medicine, finance, business, education, or other areas.
To solve complex computing problems, they often collaborate with other computer scientists and engineers to develop solutions together. For example, they may create new software systems, computing languages, or other tools to improve user experience. They also will conduct experiments using techniques from machine learning and data science, analyzing the results of these experiments and explaining their findings either in writing or a face-to-face presentation.
Certified Ethical Hacker
Salary Range: $51k – $130k
This is another high-paying computer science job that can be a dream come true for some. Companies employ ethical hackers to verify and improve the security of their computer systems. They conduct advanced penetration tests on the company’s networks, identifying any breaches or weaknesses in order for them to be fixed before it is too late.
Ethical hackers have advanced knowledge of internet and computer security systems and possess high-level hacking skills. These professionals can quickly identify security flaws and breaches and provide ways to fix them or improve the system. They need good communication skills, too, since they will need to create reports that others can understand clearly. They may work for a company or on a contractual basis, meeting with clients to discuss their security needs.
Salary Range: $37k – $75k
Web designers are the creative minds behind websites. They use their programming and software engineering skills to design and build sites that not only look good but also function well for the end-user. Also called front-end developers, web designers create beautiful websites that are easy to navigate while also adhering to specifications and standards of design. Although the pay for a web designer is a little lower than some of the others on our list, those with an artistic flair find this career incredibly rewarding.
Web designers conceptualize and implement ideas for clients’ websites, pages, and even their branding. They often work closely with a web developer or team to ensure that a project goes smoothly. Successful web designers need to have excellent design skills and proficiency in programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Many web designers are entrepreneurs, working on a contractual basis as freelancers.
Salary Range: $39k – $83k
The role of a webmaster is similar to that of a web designer. They may design and create websites for their clients. However, while a website developer usually does a job and moves on to the next client, a webmaster sticks around to see that the site is running correctly.
A webmaster (also called a web admin) will ensure that sites are functional, secure, and user-friendly. Since technology changes quickly, they must stay on top of new developments in the industry and make sure a company’s website doesn’t become outdated. Therefore, they need to have a working knowledge of programming languages, operating systems, SEO, online marketing, and security.
Salary Range: $47k – $110k
A database administrator is the person responsible for managing an organization’s database. They typically maintain strict adherence to company policies and ensure that the database is backed up in the event of a security breach or memory loss.
Successful database administrators are terrific at problem solving and communication. They will have extensive knowledge of the databases they are managing, technical skills, and an administrative mindset. They will constantly monitor system performance and respond to any problems that arise, report on metrics, and ensure that the database is protected against unauthorized access and other threats.
Information Security Analyst
Salary Range: $52k – $113k
Information security analysts help protect a company’s computer networks from cyber attacks by designing and implementing security systems. They are the ones who monitor the networks for security issues and install data encryption programs, firewalls, antivirus, and other security software.
An information security analyst typically works with a security team, performing tests, uncovering network vulnerabilities, and coming up with solutions to maintain high security standards. In addition, they are often responsible for developing IT security best practices for the whole organization and helping colleagues install any necessary security software.
Salary Range: $49k – $118k
Mobile developers have a role similar to application developers, except that these professionals work strictly with mobile applications. They may develop apps for iOS, Windows, or Android devices or focus on updating and maintaining current ones.
They have a strong knowledge of UX and UI, staying current on new industry trends and brainstorming ideas for incorporating new technology into smartphones. In addition, mobile developers need to have proficiency in computer languages for various devices and should have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to multitask.
Salary Range: $51k – $109k
UX Designers are involved in many aspects of product development, including design, function, and usability. UX stands for user experience, and it differs from UI (user interface) in that while UI deals with a user’s interaction with a computer system, UX focuses on the user’s overall experience. They may take a product from beginning to end and even help with marketing and branding.
One of the significant components of this role is market research, which is critical to understanding users’ needs. UX designers often create surveys and focus groups, collect data and information, and use the results to guide them in creating products and solutions.
Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science allows you to pursue numerous careers. The theories and concepts you learn in a CS program are fundamental and can be transferred to a variety of roles. Additionally, you can apply your skills across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, business, technology, finance, education, healthcare, and many more.
You may have noticed that many of the job descriptions and responsibilities of the highest-paying jobs in computer science overlap. As a result, some graduates end up in positions that focus on just one aspect of computer science, while others are hired for jobs that require multiple skills and proficiencies.
No matter where you find your niche in computer science, there is always something new to learn and multiple opportunities for growth and advancement. Additionally, those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline often choose to pursue graduate studies to prepare them for even more lucrative careers.
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