Highest Paying Computer Science Careers 2023

Written by Katy Mcwhirter
Published on February 26, 2023 · Updated on April 8, 2023

Highest Paying Computer Science Careers 2023

Written by Katy Mcwhirter
Published on February 26, 2023 · Updated on April 8, 2023

Working in the computer and information technology sector netted median annual wages of $91,250 in 2020 – far higher than the median annual wage for all occupations at $41,950. Computer science careers are set to boom in the coming decade, with many projected to see double-digit growth between 2020 to 2030. 

However, many of the highest-paying occupations for computer scientists require a master’s degree in computer science, ideally with a specialization related to the career field. 

If you’re considering a computer science career but aren’t sure which one works best with your skills and interests, you’ve come to the right place. Check out the highest-paying computer science careers currently available and figure out which one sounds like the best fit.

Highest Paying Computer Science Jobs

1. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Sometimes called information technology managers, professionals in these roles spend their days managing the computer and information systems needs of their organizations. They typically oversee staff members carrying out upgrades and maintenance, create strategic plans, manage budgets, and maintain relationships with outside vendors.

As of May 2020, the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers stood at $151,150. Professionals at the top of the field received annual wages in excess of $208,000, while those in the lowest 10% of workers received less than $90,430 during the same time frame.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for computer and information systems managers will grow by an impressive 11% between 2020 to 2030, faster than the national average for all jobs. In total, 52,700 new positions will be added to the economy, while there should be 42,400 existing and new openings combined each year for the next decade.
Anyone hoping to work as a computer and information systems manager must hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science information science, or a related topic. Many decide to pursue a master’s degree in computer science or an MBA. Due to the managerial nature of these positions, plan to work in support roles for several years before qualifying for this job.

2. Computer and Information Research Scientists

As the name implies, computer and information research scientists use their research and development skills to identify new uses for existing technology and explore how new technologies can help improve industries and solve problems. 

Typically working in laboratory settings, these professionals may design new systems or innovate new uses. They often publish their findings in academic journals and present them at conferences.

As of May 2020, these professionals earned median wages of $126,830 per year. Computer and information research scientists working for software publishers earned the highest wages by far at $145,920. Those working for colleges universities, or professional schools earned far less at $82,220.
Individuals looking for a secure job that is sure to be in demand for decades often gravitate towards this position. The BLS projects that jobs for computer and information research scientists will grow by an astounding 22%, far faster than the national average. All told, approximately 7,200 new positions should be added to the industry by 2030.
Most professionals aspiring to work as computer and information research scientists must complete a master’s degree. Computer science is an acceptable area of study, as is information science. If working in a particular area, such as biomedical research, workers may need to take classes in that specific subject.

3. Computer Network Architects

Working as a computer network architect entails designing, building, and testing various data communication networks and intranets. These professionals must be fluent in several programming languages and know how to design networks that work with individual client needs. After creating a design, they typically present these to managers to make suggestions and approve their proposals.

Computer network architects working as of May 2020 earned median salaries of $116,780 each year. That said, those working with insurance carriers and related activities earned closer to $121,730. On the low end, working in educational services netted yearly salaries of approximately $84,570. The top 10% of earners received more than $175,570 annually.
While these positions may be growing a bit more slowly than other positions at a projected 5% between 2020 to 2030, the BLS says there should be about 11,000 job openings each year across the decade. All told, some 9,000 new jobs will be added by 2030.
Entry-level computer network architect positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in engineering, information systems, or computer science. Some individuals decide to pursue an MBA in information systems to gain managerial skills. Regardless of the degree, applicants should typically possess 5-10 years of experience within the IT arena to compete for these roles.

4. Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

These professionals design, write, and create the applications used on computers, tablets, and smartphones across the world. Whether working in-house to meet specific organizational needs or serving in a freelance capacity, they build applications based on specifications, perform tests to check for bugs, and meet with clients to address any outstanding needs.

Software engineers working as of May 2020 received median annual wages of $110,140. Those working for software publishers earned the highest wages of the year at $125,050, while those employed by insurance carriers and related organizations earned $102,380. Software engineers in the top 10% of earners can expect to bring home more than $170,000 each year.
As the world continues to rely heavily on software applications to perform both business and personal functions, the need for software developers will only continue growing. The BLS projects a 22% growth in these roles between 2020-2030, leading to the creation of nearly 410,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.
Working as a software developer typically requires a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, mathematics, or engineering. They will also need a strong understanding of computer programming and coding languages. Those looking to advance their skills can take on several different certifications to become specialists or managers.

5. Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts concern themselves with keeping their organizations’ networks and systems safe from security threats. They install anti-breach firewalls and encryption applications, work with ethical hackers to conduct penetration testing, and create a set of best practices for employees to follow when accessing sensitive data.

Working as an information security analyst netted a median annual wage of $103,590 as of May 2020, far higher than the national average for all occupations. While little changes based on the industry you work in, where you fall in terms of percentiles can vary greatly. Those in the top 10% of earners received more than $163,300, while those in the bottom 10% received just $60,060.
As cybersecurity threats become more common, companies need experts to help keep their data safe. Jobs for information security analysts are projected to skyrocket by 33% between 2020 to 2030, leading to the creation of more than 47,000 new positions in the coming years.
These positions require at minimum a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information assurance, programming, or computer science. After working in the field for several years, some professionals decide to go back to school and earn an MBA in information systems. Because these roles are not entry-level, don’t expect to garner one straight from college — you’ll need a few years of experience first. 

6. Database Administrators and Architects

Businesses naturally have a lot of data to keep up with, be it customer files, financial reports, or internal HR information. Database administrators and architects develop and maintain systems for keeping data organized and secure. They consult with users to understand needs, build databases to those specifications, and perform maintenance to ensure they stay functional.

The BLS found that database administrators and architects working as of May 2020 earned median annual salaries of $98,860. Those working in data processing, hosting, and related services earned the highest wages at $108,520, while individuals who chose to work in educational services earned the least at $78,890.
Companies will continue relying on databases to manage information and data, making database administrators and architects indispensable. Jobs for these professionals should grow by 8% over the coming years, leading to the creation of approximately 13,200 new jobs.
The vast majority of these professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related subject. Some earn a master’s degree in database management or information systems. They can also pursue certification in specific database languages.

7. Computer Systems Analysts

Also known as systems architects, these professionals find ways of improving computer systems and networks for their clients. Whether working in-house or in a consulting role, computer systems analysts look for ways to increase effectiveness and security, create reports on available upgrades and changes, and oversee the installation of new systems once they receive approval.

Computer systems analysts earned median yearly salaries of $93,730 in 2020, with those in information-related services garnering the highest wages at 496,430. Working in government services netted the lowest annual wages at $82,560.
Jobs for these professionals are projected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. In addition to an average of 47,500 openings each year due to individuals retiring or changing careers, approximately 42,800 new roles will be added across the decade.
Completing a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, information science, or mathematics serves as the first step in the process. Some employers prefer candidates with an MBA in business administration or information systems as well as a few years of relevant experience.

8. Computer Programmers

Computer programmers spend their days writing the code that creates applications, software, websites, and a bevy of other types of information technology. They use coding languages such as Java and C++ to meet client specifications before testing the codes for any errors or issues. Computer programmers may also write updates for existing programs.

Computer programmers earned median annual wages of $89,190 as of 2020, with those working for software publishers bringing home $103,710 during the same timeframe. Those who worked in computer systems design and related services earned the least at $88,510.
The BLS projects that jobs for computer programmers will contract by 10%, leading to the loss of approximately 18,000 jobs by 2030. Reasons for this decline include many companies relying on international workers who can do the work for less. That said, nearly 10,000 job openings should pop up each year due to retirement and job transfers.
The vast majority of computer programmers possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or software development. Any program a student chooses should include several classes on computer coding languages and the application of those languages.

9. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Valued and needed in businesses of all sizes, these professionals are in charge of keeping local area networks, wide area networks, intranets, and other network systems running smoothly and securely. They conduct maintenance on existing hardware, install new hardware and software as needed, and look for ways to optimize performance.

As of May 2020, network and computer systems administrators averaged wages of $84,810. Those in the top 10% of earners received salaries in excess of $134,970, while those in the bottom 10% brought home less than $52,830. Working in the finance and insurance industries often nets the highest pay.
Individuals interested in these roles can expect them to grow by 5% between 2020 and 2030. The BLS found that 350,300 network and computer systems administrators currently work in the United States; this number should grow to 369,100 by 2030.
If you aspire to this position, plan to complete a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, computer engineering, network and system administration, or a related subject. You can also undertake several industry certifications to stay current.

10. Web Developers and Digital Designers

As the name suggests web developers and digital designers build websites and manage the technical aspects of the site. They may write website codes, install and test applications and interfaces, locate vendors who can handle related aspects such as graphic design, and integrate needed content to a new or existing website.

The median annual salary for web developers stood at $77,200 as of 2020. That said, professionals working in the publishing industries (excluding the internet) received wages of $123,870. Meanwhile, those working in management, scientific, and technical consulting services earned just $70,790.
Companies and individuals will always be in need of both new websites and existing website upgrades. Because of this, the BLS projects that jobs will grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030 – faster than the national average for all jobs. More than 25,000 new positions will be added by the end of the decade.
Educational requirements can vary substantially. Some employers may hire those with only a high school diploma if they possess significant experience. Others look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, digital design, or computer science.