Highest paying jobs with a computer science degree

Computer science is a broad and rewarding field. Find out the computer science degree salary you can expect depending on your chosen career path.
Written by Doug Wintemute, Contributor

Everyone wants to know what kind of pay their education can get them. However, as with many fields, the exact computer science degree salary you qualify for depends on many factors. 

Let's answer these wage questions by looking at salary expectations for computer science graduates in the field's most common occupations. 

What's the average salary for a computer science graduate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. 

Computer and information technology degrees earn graduates a median annual wage of $85,000, approximately $25,000 more than the average degree-holder.  

Computer science salaries vary by location, employer, experience, education, and position. According to PayScale, bachelor's graduates earn average base salaries of $88,000, master's graduates earn $106,000, and doctoral graduates earn $129,000. 

Some of the highest-paying careers with a computer science degree include computer network architects, software developers, and computer and information research scientists. 

Computer scientists earn $68,000 in entry-level positions, $100,000 in mid-career positions, and $121,000 in advanced positions.

SEE: Best online master's in computer science 2022: Top picks

Top-paying computer science jobs, by specialization

Every specialization has an internal job market and economy. Below, we spotlight the computer science degree salary potential for common specializations. 

Salary data below is drawn from Payscale

Artificial intelligence

Professionals with artificial intelligence specialization skills earn average annual base salaries of $125,000. Several occupations have salaries that exceed $200,000 in their upper ranges. The following are some of the highest-paying positions. 

  • Chief data scientist
  • Head of analytics
  • Vice president of engineering

Computer information systems

Graduates with a bachelor's in computer information systems earn average annual base salaries of $74,000. Depending on their level of education and experience, professionals in this field can earn more than $150,000. Here are several of the careers with the highest computer science degree salary.  

  • Vice president of business development
  • Database architect
  • Product manager

Computer programming

Computer programming professionals earn average annual base salaries of $65,307. Once they acquire senior-level or management positions, programmers can earn salaries that can fall between $120,000-$160,000. Here are a few of the top-paying positions in this field.

  • Chief technology officer
  • Software engineering manager
  • Director of engineering


Professionals with cybersecurity skills earn average annual base salaries of $91,000. In upper-level roles, professionals can earn between $150,000-$230,000 each year. The highest-paying positions often include:

  • Chief information security officer
  • Security manager/director
  • Security engineer

Data science

Data science skills earn professionals average annual base salaries of $116,000. The top positions in this industry can reach salaries in the $200,000-$250,000 range. Top data scientist jobs include:

  • Director of analytics/data science 
  • Head of data science 
  • Principal data scientist

Game design

The average annual base salary for professionals with game design skills is $67,000. Top-paying positions in this field earned salaries between $130,000-$150,000 — and occasionally even more. Here are some of those top-paying positions.

  • Lead animator
  • Product manager
  • Software design director 

Hardware engineering

The average annual base salary is $86,282 for hardware engineers. The highest salaries available in this field typically range between $120,000-$150,000. Some of those fields are listed below.

  • Systems engineer
  • Information technology manager
  • Hardware architect

Network architecture

Professionals with network architecture skills earn average annual base salaries of $99,000. The leading positions pay wages that exceed $150,000-$200,000, and some of those are listed below.

  • Senior solutions architect
  • Network and enterprise architect
  • Head of IT and infrastructure

Software engineering

The average annual base salary for software engineers is $88,540. In the highest-paying positions, such as those listed below, professionals earn between $120,000-$150,000 and more.

  • Principal software engineer
  • Information technology director
  • Software engineering manager

Web design

The average annual base salary for web designers is $52,315. Some of the top-paying positions, however, provide salaries in the range of $100,000-150,000. Those leading positions may include:

  • Lead UX designer
  • Senior product designer
  • Information technology director.

Web development

The average annual salary for professionals with web development skills is $70,000. The typical high-end occupations in this field pay professionals between $100,000-$150,000. High-paying positions include: 

  • Software engineer
  • Development director/manager
  • Web architect

Unless otherwise noted, salary data is drawn from Payscale as of May 23, 2022.

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