Computer Science Graduates Earn More Than Expected at First Job: Study

A new study shows computer science graduates have low expectations for what they should earn fresh out of school; meanwhile, most other degree holders feel they should be earning a lot more than they actually receive.

Clever, a platform connecting home buyers and sellers, recently examined PayScale’s College Salary Report alongside a different study on salary expectations from LendEDU, then compared both to discern where graduates may be out of line when it comes to earnings expectations. When encompassing all majors, the average salary expectation out of school is $57,964. The average earnings in a first post-graduation job is $47,000.

Some degree holders are way off. “Physical or Life Sciences” degree holders exepct to earn nearly $65,000… but actually receive about $51,000. Communications/journalism majors want nearly $52,000 in their first job, and receive a full $10,000 less. Business Degree holders think they’re worth about $61,000, and earn roughly $46,500.

Most graduates expect to earn more than they do. Some are pretty grounded. Engineering degree holders expect about $64,615, and earn about $64,200. Those with Humanities/Liberal Arts/English/History degrees think their first job should pay $43,843, and those jobs pay about $43,860.

Only two disciplines earn more than many respondents expect: nursing and computer science. Those with nursing degrees are close (they expect to make $62,417 their first year, and get $66,600), while Computer Science degree holders are way off. Graduates with CS degrees think they should make $59,303, but earn $68,800, on average.

There is another interesting takeaway: Computer Science degrees offer the highest paying initial salary on this list. Engineering is close, and Nursing is closer, but CS graduates earn the most money in their first job.

These graduates also have one of the largest gaps between expectation and reality. We’re not sure if this means computer science graduates are just unaware of what tech companies pay, or if they just haven’t really considered what they want to make in their first job. Interestingly, Clever’s data also shows that, as students work through their four-year degree programs, earnings expectations drop. By the time they’re in their senior year of college, students have lowered their annual earnings expectations by nearly $4,000.

We appreciate that computer science graduates are so humble, but we say go for the gold. Student loans are no joke!

3 Responses to “Computer Science Graduates Earn More Than Expected at First Job: Study”

  1. wageSlave

    I am having a little trouble buying these numbers. Perhaps it is a regional vs. national differences or BS vs. AS, but my very limited surveys point to a different conclusion. The higher education propaganda ministry in California has been filling college heads with inflated expectations for decades trying to fill STEM classrooms. The graduation surveys show expectations of about $80K for an AS in CIS and expectations are about the same for the nursing program. This number does not even show up in the one-year follow up surveys for CIS graduates, which are plagued with unemployment, underemployment, and holding positions not requiring a degree. Some of the nurses actually pull this off but they are exceptions not the rule and they were all working in the industry while going to school. Two years’ experience at graduation and the support of an ethical doctor.

    The nursing shortages have spawned some real predatory behavior by the local medical corporations. It is not uncommon to find graduates that signed two labor contracts at $45,000 in exchange for maybe $2,000 in private financial aid. This is a pet peeve for the nursing faculty, but they do very little in order to keep the Millions in program donations flowing.

    You would be hard pressed to find a nurse not complaining about the money and working conditions caused by the understaffing conditions AT THE PRICE BEING OFFERED. The nursing shortages are real. They were caused by a massive industry expansion to meet actual demands created by aging baby boomers. Unlike the manufactured shortages in information technology caused mainly by the mismanagement of existing labor resources.

    • James

      Okay, “wageSlave” , Where is all your data coming from? your “Boomer” parents? It was easy to write all that right? Took no effort or research whatsoever, the higher educated prefer actual data and numbers. I want to call what you did there “Hyperbole” , but I think you wouldn’t know what that word meant and seems like you are adverse to researching anything. No, instead I will say you are just lying.

      Also, you don’t seem to understand the basics of supply and demand. The “Shortages” you mention of nurses, that is called demand. So, the price of the supply goes up, not down. “Predatory” behavior? Based on what? Because of the demand for qualified nurses and Computer Science grads, they are treated better because employers know these employees have other options.

      Anyone reading this in 2021, please don’t believe the lies that people like this wageSlave try to feed you. The truth is in smaller communities with suffering education systems, like the one I grew up in, they will try to teach you in school that higher education isn’t worth it if you are a mediocre or lower student. They also try to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, but that is a different subject. Your best tool was taught to you in 1st through 5th grade, that is reading. Being able to read you can research the information yourself, you need to find different opposing points of view, and find the ones backed up by factual evidence. If you read or hear something from some(one/where) and they cannot or do not cite sources, chances are they don’t have sources, they rely on their undereducated opinions to guide their understanding of the big picture.

      That said, education is the first step to solving many of the worlds(and America’s) problems. History education can provide a point of view that allows people to sympathize with other groups and reduces racism and prejudices. Political Sci. and Law can help you understand why things are the way they are, so instead of being “Dori Monson” and raging against things repeatedly saying “I don’t understand how this can happen!” you will understand how, and then you get to be less frustrated because you will know if a law needs to change. Government can teach you how to change those laws to solve the problem you have identified. English and Communication classes will teach you how to effectively communicate with other people, so they can be where you were when you started looking for research. Computer Science is needed everywhere in today’s world, stop waiting for the Zombie apocalypse and start to learn how to build programs that will make you money. Life isn’t all about money, money is a vehicle to getting the changes you want, Peace of mind, entertainment, you name it.

      Loan Debt? Yeah, I was scared too. Then I realized something important, the money can be owed, but they(anyone) can never take away the knowledge you gained its in your head. So if you can’t repay, that’s okay(As long as that wasn’t your plan all along). You need to know what skills you want, and how to attain them, follow the road others have trekked and when you find the fork in the proverbial road, forge your own path with all the skills you picked up along the way. Successful people including Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college, they found their fork early, good for them. Some people find their fork before college, that’s okay too, just remember to look up, where is the ceiling that you will hit without a degree? If that ceiling is 5 years away, think about college. If that ceiling is 10+ years away, you have time to think about it.