Highest Paying BS in Computer Science Careers In 2021

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations are projected to grow by an impressive 11% between 2019-2029, leading to the creation of more than half a million new jobs – in addition to standard turnover and retirement positions that come available. 

Whether a computer science graduate wants to work as a computer network architect, information security analyst, software developer, or any other myriad positions available, they can find a wide range of professional options. 

Earning a master’s degree often leads to even higher salaries: while computer programmers with a bachelor’s degree earn median salaries of $89,190, computer and information research scientists with a master’s degree earn median salaries of $126,830.

Even without a master’s degree in computer science, those with bachelor’s degrees can still secure some high-paying positions in a rapidly growing field. 

Jump To A Career

  1. Computer Network Achitects
  2. Computer Programmers
  3. Computer Support Specialists
  4. Computer Systems Analysts
  5. Database Administrators
  6. Information Security Analysts
  7. Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  8. Software Developers
  9. Web Developers and Digital Designers
  10. Computer Hardware Engineers

Highest Paying Bachelor’s of Computer Science Careers

1. Computer Network Architects

These professionals manage both local and wide area networks, intranets, and communication frameworks. They work in both public and private organizations, including those focused on computer systems design, telecommunications, and educational services.

Career Salary

The annual median pay for computer network architects as of 2020 was $116,780, with those in the top 10% of earners commanding salaries in excess of $175,570.

Career Job Outlook

Jobs for computer network architects are projected to increase by 5% between 2019-2029, leading to the creation of 8,000 new roles.

Requirements to Become a Computer Network Architect

Most employers require computer network architects to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, or a similar topic. Those in advanced 

positions may need a master’s degree in business with an information systems specialty.

Before qualifying for one of these positions, applicants usually need at least 5-10 years of relevant experience. They do not need to hold licensure but may need to participate in some network certifications to gain relevant knowledge.

2. Computer Programmers

Computer programmers use their skills to write and test codes used in software and applications. They decide which programming language best works with the task, create the program, and test for bugs. They can work in private and public settings, including computer systems design, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.

Career Salary

As of May 2020, computer programmers earned median salaries of $89,190. Those working in software publishing earned the highest salaries ($103,7100 while those in computer systems designs earned the lowest ($88,510).

Career Job Outlook

Jobs for computer programmers are expected to decline by 9% in the coming years. Reasons for this decline include employers contracting workers outside the United States where lower wages are acceptable.

Requirements to Become a Computer Programmer

Nearly all employers expect computer programmers to possess a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, computer science, or mathematics. They must also understand programming languages. While licensure is not required, professionals can receive certification in certain languages.

3. Computer Support Specialists

Computer support professionals can work in both network and user support roles, with daily tasks including testing and improving existing networks, performing maintenance requests, and helping customers diagnose computer problems, either in person or over the phone/internet. Most of these professionals work in computer systems design and related services, but can also be found in telecommunications, finance, and insurance.

Career Salary

Computer support specialists received median salaries of $65,450 in 2020, while those in the top 10% of earners received annual wages above $110,450. The telecommunications industry offered the highest pay at $74,220.

Career Job Outlook

Professionals in this field can expect to see an 8% growth in roles between 2019-2029. This growth will be due in part to companies looking to upgrade existing software and equipment. 

Requirements to Become a Computer Support Specialist

Given that these professionals work in support positions, education requirements can vary. Few employers require a bachelor’s degree, but companies do look for applicants who have taken at least a few postsecondary computer science and related classes. These roles do not require a license but certification opportunities do exist.

4. Computer Systems Analysts

Also known as systems architects, these professionals determine the IT needs of their companies, create reports on available upgrades and costs, and install new systems as needed. They can work independently or as an employee, with the majority finding jobs in computer systems design and related services.

Career Salary

Computer systems analysts earn ample salaries, bringing home median wages of $93,730 as of May 2020. The Information systems industry pays the most at $96,430, while those in government positions earned the lowest at $82.560.

Career Job Outlook

Jobs for these professionals are projected to grow by 7% between 2019-2029, leading to approximately 46,600 new jobs by the end of the decade. The healthcare industry in particular is set to see record growth for these workers.

Requirements to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

Whether studying information science or computer science, these are the most commonly required degrees for computer systems analysts. While not all employers require a bachelor’s degree, earning a four-year qualification can help with future career growth. No types of licenses or certificates are required to fill these roles.

5. Database Administrator

Database administrators fill critical roles in companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. They ensure sensitive and important data is digitally filed safely, oversee the storage and backup of data, and train users how to use the database application. They’re most commonly found in computer systems design, but also work in educational services, company management, and data processing and hosting.

Career Salary

Database administrators earned median salaries of $98,860 in May 2020, while the top echelon of earners commanded salaries above $155,660. Those working in data processing, hosting, and related services typically earn the most at $108,520 per year.

Career Job Outlook

Jobs for these professionals are projected to grow by an impressive 10% between 2019-2029, far faster than the national average for all occupations. All told, nearly 13,000 new positions should enter the economy.

Requirements to Become a Database Administrator

The majority of professionals in these roles possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science, or a related topic. They must understand database languages and stay up-to-date on changes in the field. Database administrators can find relevant certificates from both universities and vendors.

6. Information Security Analysts

With a focus on keeping their companies’ and clients’ data safe, information security analysts oversee security measures across networks and applications. They keep an eye out for security issues, install encryption systems and firewalls, and work with ethical hackers to look for weak spots. They work in public and private settings alike.

Career Salary

As of May 2020, information security analysts earned median annual salaries of $103,590. While the lowest 10% of earners only brought home $60,060, the top 10% deposited more than $163,300 in their bank accounts. Working in the information systems industry will likely net the highest salary.

Career Job Outlook

Graduates looking for job stability in the coming decade should look no further than this position, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job will expand by an astonishing 31% between 2019-2029. This growth will lead to an additional 40,900 positions.

Requirements to Become an Information Security Analyst

Most information security analyst roles require applicants who possess a bachelor’s degree in programming, information assurance, or computer science. They may also prioritize candidates who possess an MBA. Before qualifying for one of these roles, professionals typically need at least a few years of experience in a related position. Many organizations and universities also offer certificates in information security.

7. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Functioning in a managerial position, these professionals oversee all of the daily operations of a company’s computer and network systems. They manage the systems, install new hardware and software, optimize performance, and train new users. Network and computer systems administrators play vital roles in organizations and agencies of every type.

Career Salary

Professionals working in these positions earned $84,810 as of May 2020, with those working in finance earning the highest wages. Other well-paid industries for network and computer systems administrators include information and management of companies and enterprises.

Career Job Outlook

More than 16,000 new jobs for network and computer systems administrators are projected to be added to the economy between 2019-2029, leading to a 4% overall growth in these positions. As with other computer positions, healthcare positions are expected to lead the growth.

Requirements to Become a Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Be sure to include minimum degree requirements, preferred degree requirements, licensure, and experience. 

8. Software Developers

Software developers create applications that serve a variety of purposes for individuals, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and corporations alike. They develop these applications according to user needs, test beta versions, and make upgrades and updates as needed. They must be fluent in programming languages.

Career Salary

Software developers earned median annual wages of $110,140 as of May 2020, with those working in software publishing earning the highest wages at $124,050 per year. Software developers working in insurance and related activities earned the lowest at $102,380.

Career Job Outlook

Nearly one and a half million software developers currently work in the United States, and this number is expected to grow by an impressive 22% between 2019-2029. This growth will lead to an additional 316,000 new positions. 

Requirements to Become a Software Developer

The majority of organizations expect prospective software developers to hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information technology, mathematics, or engineering. While entry-level positions exist, these professionals can progress to roles as managers or project directors.

9. Web Developers and Digital Designers

Simply put, web developers and digital designers develop and run websites. They consult with clients on their needs, write design codes, and develop websites that function effectively and efficiently. They may work in a freelance or in-house capacity for any type of employer imaginable.

Career Salary

As of May 2020, web developers and digital designers earned median salaries of $77,200 per year. Those working in publishing industries earned substantially more, at $123,870 per year. 

Career Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that roles for these professionals will grow by 8% between 2019-2029, leading to an additional 14,000 roles added to the existing 174,300. The continued development of e-commerce is expected to predicate this growth.

Requirements to Become a Web Developer or Digital Designer

Educational requirements for these professionals tend to vary based on employer. Some prioritize hires with experience over postsecondary training and hire candidates with high school diplomas or associate degrees. Others prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. In terms of career advancement, earning a four-year degree can help professionals climb the ladder.

10. Computer Hardware Engineers

Whether working at the U.S. Department of Defense or a small startup, computer hardware engineers spend their days designing computer equipment and hardware. Examples can include memory boards, routers, networks, and processors. After developing these tools, they test them, identify bugs, and continue improving upon them. 

Career Salary

Individuals working in these roles earned median salaries of $119,560 as of May 2020. Those working in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry earned the highest wages of their peers, receiving $146,640. Computer hardware engineers working in computer systems design and related services, conversely, earned $114,190 during the same timeframe. 

Career Job Outlook

Jobs for computer hardware engineers are slated to grow by 2% in the coming decade, adding approximately 1,100 new jobs to the existing 71,000. Growth is projected to be slower than some other positions due to the centralizing of some services, leading to coverage of larger networks.

Requirements to Become a Computer Hardware Engineer

The vast majority of these professionals possess a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, but some also come from computer science or electrical engineering backgrounds. Graduates who hope to work at larger, more corporate firms may need to pursue a master’s degree in computer engineering or an MBA.

Highest Paying States for BS in Computer Science Graduates

Computer science graduates looking to maximize their salaries may decide to move to one of the five highest paying states. When reviewing this list, keep in mind that some states may offer a higher wage due to higher costs of living, and that average salaries do not guarantee a specific salary amount for graduates. 

Computer ProgrammersSoftware Developers
Washington – $177,210Washington – $131,790
Washington D.C. – $119,010California – $127,950
California – $107,300New York – $116,830
Virginia – $103,150Massachusetts – $113,690
Texas – $102,650Washington D.C. – $112,510
Source: BLS

What Is The Best Computer Science Degree Specialization?

Given that computer science covers such a wide span of topics and related disciplines, many colleges and universities provide specializations to help learners concentrate their knowledge in a particular area.

Some concentrations you may come across when researching prospective computer science degrees include:

  • Game Design
  • Networks
  • Information Security
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science
  • Programming Languages
  • Software Engineering

After completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, some students decide to pursue advanced education. Completing a master’s or doctorate degree can unlock more advanced positions and higher salaries.