Top Careers in Computer Science

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One of the most critical decisions you will make in your education centers on finding your niche in computer science. Researching available options can be overwhelming and exhausting, but honing in on what you want to do and pursuing it relentlessly will give you the best chance of success. This page exists tomake the process as simple and stress-free as possible.

Written By Kathleen Swed

Graduates in search of computer science careers can take advantage of a growing field, with abundant choices and an array of potentially lucrative opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for computer and information technology occupations will leap significantly from 2018 to 2028. The BLS projects a 12% job growth rate in the field during that time period, a significantly faster rate than the national average for all occupations. Some jobs, such as computer and information research scientist, boast even higher projected increases.

Computer science job opportunities vary depending on the degree each graduate obtains. Students with an associate degree often pursue roles as computer support specialists or web developers. A bachelor's degree opens the door to many more computer science career possibilities, including software development, database administration, and computer programming. Employers typically expect computer and information research scientists to hold a master's degree at a minimum.

On this page, readers can learn more about top careers in computer science. Occupational outlook varies by specific position, as does salary potential, and this page provides helpful charts with in-depth descriptions. Since location impacts salary potential and job availability, readers can also find information on the top paying states for computer science jobs.

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Top Careers in Computer Science

Career Outlook and Salary Potential in Computer Science

Between 2018 and 2028, the BLS projects that the computer science field will add 546,200 new jobs across the country.

Some positions outpace the projected average of 12% growth across all computer science jobs. The BLS projects a 21% growth in demand for software developers, as well as a staggering 32% increase in the need for information security analysts between 2018 and 2028. Projections for some computer science careers, such as network and computer systems administrator, indicate growth at a pace with the national average for all occupations -- about 5% in the same time period.

The BLS reports a median annual income of $88,240 across all computer and information technology careers as of May 2019. As the chart below demonstrates, median salary can vary widely by job title. Computer support specialists make an annual median salary of $54,760, while computer and information research scientists earn $118,370. The chart below lists the top computer science careers by salary.

Computer Science Top Five Careers By Median Salary
Career Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientist $122,840
Computer Network Architect $112,690
Software Developer $105,590
Information Security Analyst $99,730
Database Administrator $93,750
Source: BLS, 2019

Top Paying States for Computer Science

Location plays a major part in salary potential for computer science graduates. For computer and information research scientists, the top paying states include Virginia, California, and Idaho. In Virginia, computer and information research scientists earn an annual mean wage of $143,390, while California employees make $140,020. The chart below illustrates further salary potential by top-paying states.

Other computer science careers carry different salary potential, depending partly on the location. Virginia pays the highest wage for computer network architects, with an annual mean wage of $128,530. Rhode Island ranks next at $128,300, with California coming in third at $128,100. For software developers, California tops the list at $134,370, followed by Washington at $131,870, New York at $119,570, and the District of Columbia at $118,580.

Top Five States for Computer and Information Research Scientists
State Annual Mean Wage
Virginia $143,390
California $140,020
Idaho $138,120
New York $137,810
Washington $136,890
Source: BLS

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