Skip to main content

Computer Science Salary Guide: How a Degree Can Impact Your Earning Potential

May 8, 2024

Businesses are rapidly hiring computer science professionals to implement new technologies, collect vast amounts of data, and improve cybersecurity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects computer and information research scientist employment to grow 23 percent between 2022 and 2032, or about 3,500 new job openings annually. 

Some computer science jobs could grow even faster than average. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 35 percent increase in information security analyst employment between 2021 and 2031. Job opportunities for web and software developers will also multiply, with expected 30 percent and 26 percent increases, respectively. Advanced computer science roles also command attractive salaries; computer and information research scientists earn $136,620 annually on average, and software developers can make $124,000 annually

Top computer science roles (and their handsome salaries) require advanced knowledge and skills. Enrolling in a computer science master’s program, such as an online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) from Tulane University, may expedite your career growth. Continue reading to learn how pursuing an advanced computer science degree can increase your earning potential. 

Boost Your Earning Potential With an MSCS From Tulane

Speak With an Enrollment Advisor or Apply Today
Find Out More

The Impact of Education on Salary 

Education level impacts earning potential across industries. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, master’s degree holders or higher earn 21 percent more than their bachelor’s counterparts. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce supports this, stating that individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn 74 percent more than those with just a high school diploma. Meanwhile, master’s holders can expect to earn double what a high school graduate earns in their lifetime, even within the same occupation.

A master’s degree can also improve your computer science employment prospects. Fortune Education found that people with only an undergraduate degree lack advanced computer science knowledge — computing theory, algorithms, programming languages, computer hardware and networks, and operating systems — which may lead to fewer job opportunities. Successful computer science job candidates should also learn rapidly emerging areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, which master’s degrees typically cover. 

Students who pursue online master’s programs part-time can continue working and gaining experience while studying, which could prepare them for the job market after graduation.

The Landscape of Computer Science Salaries 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), computer science master’s graduates earn an average starting annual salary of $102,782. However, various factors impact an individual’s earning potential, including specialization, industry, and geographical location.

In-Demand Specializations: A Look at Salary Variations 

Some computer science specializations — especially those related to emerging technologies or current challenges, like cybersecurity — may yield higher earnings than others. Professionals working in the most in-demand positions enjoy high salaries. Robert Half Technology’s 2024 IT salary report suggests that systems security managers earn between $137,000 and $198,500 annually, based on experience. Network cloud architects earn between $133,000 and $196,750; big data engineers earn between $122,000 to $174,000 annually. 

Choosing a specialized field of study can bolster your earning potential. The online MSCS at Tulane offers six specialization areas to prepare students for in-demand careers. Students can specialize in computational geometry, computational biology and bioinformatics, algorithms and theory, systems, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Industry Insights: Salaries Across Sectors 

In addition to your role or specialization, your industry also impacts your earnings. For example, the BLS reports that computer and information research scientists working at software publishers can earn $186,000 per year on average. In contrast, those working in government agencies earn just over $115,000 yearly. 

According to the 2023 Dice Tech Salary Report, the industries with the highest tech salaries are: 

  • Consulting 
  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Software
  • Aerospace and defense 
  • Consumer products
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities and energy
  • Telecommunications
  • Insurance

The online MSCS at Tulane prepares students for various computer science roles, enabling graduates to pursue jobs in multiple sectors.

Navigating Job Markets: Regional Trends  

Geographical location also plays a role in determining computer science salaries, with some regions paying more than others. According to BLS data, high-paying areas for computer and information research scientists include: 

  • Washington (annual mean wage: $202,910).
  • California (annual mean wage: $187,420).
  • Virginia (annual mean wage: $145,860)

Salaries are often related to the cost of living in a specific area, with lower cost-of-living areas yielding lower earnings. However, with the skills and expertise gained through an advanced degree, you are more likely to attract employers in top-paying geographies. Furthermore, an online master’s program can prepare you for remote computer science roles.

Complete Your Computer Science Master’s Online to Maximize Your Earning Potential 

The computer science industry is rapidly growing. Numerous factors impact computer science salaries, including specialization, industry, and geographical location. However, skills and in-depth industry knowledge have the most significant impact. An advanced degree focusing on in-demand skills and expertise can qualify you for top computer science jobs. 

The online MSCS at Tulane puts you at the forefront of the expanding digital space, offering specializations in industry-relevant technologies like algorithms, data science, and artificial intelligence. The program is entirely online, allowing you to study from anywhere without putting your career or personal commitments on hold. 

Contact an enrollment advisor to learn how the online MSCS at Tulane can advance your computer science career. If you’re ready for the next step, you can attend an informational webinar or start your application today.

Pursue In-Demand Computer Science Specializations

Earn Your Master’s Degree 100 Percent Online
Apply Now