Is a computer science degree worth the investment? It’s a question on every student’s mind (as well as most parents). The long trek to graduation can be arduous, but studies show it just might be worth it.
Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) recently picked through data from hiring companies and recruiters that source talent from colleges. (It says almost 200 “career service centers” and 4,350 employers in the U.S. participated in the study.) It found that the average starting salary for graduates with computer science degrees was $57,762, with a lower range of $15,000 and an upper of $130,000. (In a confusing twist, CERI also said that “Computer Programming” ranked higher on this list, with an average starting salary of $59,163.)
A Master’s or PhD may help matters. CERI says a computer science Master’s degree will earn you $72,071 out of the proverbial gate, while a PhD will start you at $77,811.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Winter 2017 Salary Survey shows even more positive results, with computer science undergraduates earning an average of $65,540 once they get their degree; that’s up from $61,321 in 2016. NACE also projects a Master’s in Computer Science will start you out at $81,039, while a doctorate pushes you into six figures ($110,841).
A recent study shows that, of all STEM-related academic fields, technology has the most upside once a degree is earned. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data,Edward Lazowska, a professor at the University of Washington, found a computer science major was the only STEM degree where employer demands match graduation rates.
Earning a computer science degree is a difficult process, especially for those who are completely new to programming when they enter school. While it’s sometimes hard to keep focus on the potential career payoff when you’re knee-deep in binary trees, data shows these degrees are a great path forward.