Do tech professionals regret their college major?
Some do, of course; a few years into their career, they might believe they should have majored in anything butcomputer science. Fortunately, a new survey from PayScale suggests that many tech professionals don’t have regrets on the education front.
Specifically, some 42.2 percent of respondents who majored in engineering said they had no regrets about it, along with 34.9 percent of computer-science majors. That’s in stark contrast to those who focused on the humanities, where only a quarter had zero regrets.
A lot of the regret has to do with student loans. Although only 24.9 percent of computer science grads regretted their loans—slightly ahead of the 18.7 percent of engineering grads who regretted theirs—roughly a third of those who majored in health sciences, art, and social sciences felt remorse over borrowing money for their education.
Among all those polled (i.e., everyone from sciences to humanities majors), some 27.1 percent regretted their student loans, well ahead of remorse over their area of study (12.2 percent) and poor networking (11.2 percent). Clearly, it’s debt that’s driving this feeling for most folks.
In the context of loans and educational regrets (or lack thereof), happier engineers and computer-science grads might have something to do with the technology industry’s low unemployment and relatively high starting salaries. If you’re a tech professional, your average annual salary is $93,244 (according to the Dice Salary Survey), which can go far higher if you specialize in a particularly in-demand segment, such as machine learning or artificial intelligence (A.I.). At firms such as Amazon, the starting salary for software engineers is in the low six figures, and includes bonuses and stock options.
Of course, even with a high starting salary, it can still take quite some time to pay off even a substantial fraction of student loans. However, an argument can be made that someone who specializes in something like machine learning has a better chance at eliminating significant debt than someone who majored in, say, art history. In light of that, engineering and CS majors having fewer regrets than their liberal-arts peers certainly makes sense.
No career comes with a guarantee of regret-free happiness, but it seems that many engineers and CS majors aren’t upset about their choices. Hopefully they remain optimistic throughout their current and future jobs.