The Highest-Paying
Computer Science Careers: 2021 List

Careers in computer science continue to show plenty of promise. Whether you’re working as a software engineer, a database administrator, or an application developer, many organizations are constantly hiring new employees for computer science jobs.

Because consumers expect even the smallest companies to have a tech presence, most businesses are hiring computer science experts. Computer science degrees can open lots of doors, but coding bootcamps can also get you started in this field. Learn more about the computer science industry and take a look at the best computer science careers below.

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science is the discipline of studying computers, their computational processes, and connections between computer systems. The field is broad, so people working in computer science careers can choose between many different job options.

Some of the fastest-growing careers in the United States fall under this umbrella. If you can master hardware and software design and development, you can access some of the highest-paying careers in the country. Our world is becoming more reliant on tech, so this field is here to stay.

Computer Science Job Outlook
and Salary Potential

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects computer science jobs to grow rapidly over the next few years. Its research indicates that the number of job opportunities in computer science will grow by 11 percent by 2029. This is a much higher rate than the four percent average across all occupations.

Salaries for computer science jobs can vary depending on your experience, education, and location. The BLS states that the median wage in this field was $91,250 as of May 2020, which is higher than the median wage of all occupations of $41,950. This median wage takes into account both higher-earning and lower-earning jobs.

Computer science graduates with bachelor’s degrees or higher will earn more than those who have less education. If you don’t have a degree, you can become a computer support specialist making $55,510 per year, which is still higher than the national average. No matter which career you pursue, you can earn a high salary in computer science.

At a Glance: Highest-Paying
Computer Science Careers

Below is our list of 10 of the highest-paying careers in computer science. The salary statistics below have been sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and PayScale. Each job growth percentage refers to the projected number of new jobs between 2019 and 2029.

Job Title Projected Job Growth Median Pay
Computer and Information Systems Manager 10%* $151,150
Computer and Information Research Scientist 15% $126,830
Software Architect 22%** $125,991
Computer Network Architect 5% $116,780
Software Developer 22%** $110,140
Senior Systems Engineer 22%** $108,233
Information Security Analyst 31% $103,590
Database Administrator 10% $98,860
Technical Project Manager 10%* $93,731
Computer Systems Analyst 7% $93,730

*Both statistics originate from the BLS report on computer and information systems managers.
**Both statistics originate from the BLS report on software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers.

The Best Computer Science Careers: 2021 List

The Best Computer Science
Careers: 2021 List

If you’re interested in a career in computer science, take a look at our in-depth list below. There are many options and different ways to enter the field, but these jobs are some of the best. You can earn a high salary and move up in the field with the top computer science careers of 2021.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Computer and information systems managers have different roles depending on their company and department size. Usually, they’re in charge of managing a team that analyzes a company’s hardware and software needs and secures, implements, and maintains that technology.

To do well in this job, you have to start with at least a bachelor’s degree. The personality traits that will help you in this job include a drive to succeed, a good grasp of technology, and sales and negotiation skills. You’ll have to stay on top of the latest technology that can help your IT team succeed.

Min. Education Required: Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Data Science, or Information Technology

Computer and information research scientists have two roles. They try to solve computer problems with theories and research, but they also work to develop new software, computing languages, and more tools. This helps tech workers to do their jobs more efficiently.

Computer research scientists often team up with hardware and software engineers to tackle problems. Because of this, you’ll usually work for larger companies, technology nonprofits, or the federal government. To do well in this position, you need to stay up-to-date with the current trends in tech and implement them within businesses and organizations.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Software architects are senior-level software developers with years of experience. They supervise teams of software engineers throughout the process of building applications. They also communicate with their team and stakeholders to ensure that the project is manageable and progressing on schedule.

Software architects supervise either internal or external projects. To do well in this position, you need training in software management techniques like the Agile methodology and DevOps. If you become a software engineer, you can transition to a software architect role later on in your career.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Computer network architects build and maintain internal and external networks that transmit data. These networks can be as small as one corner of an office or as large as a nationwide cloud-based solution. Private companies and governments of all sizes rely on massive networks every day that connect to desktop computers and mobile devices.

Though this job is showing a slower growth rate than many other careers on this list, it’s still a reliable option. To succeed as a network architect, you need to be organized and motivated. You’ll need to be an expert in cloud systems and computer networks so you can solve problems when they arise.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Software developers serve a similar but slightly broader role than web developers. Software developers create computer applications after studying consumer needs and choosing the right tools for the job. They also make sure their software works properly and plan how the application fits together.

Software developers build and maintain desktop and web applications for organizations and companies of all sizes. These applications can range from financial software to video games, and different industries require different skillsets and tools. To be successful in this position, you need programming skills and attention to detail.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Senior systems engineers supervise the construction and maintenance of systems for businesses. They work with executives to understand the system’s requirements and ensure that all of the technology is consistently updated. As these systems are integral to the way that organizations of all sizes work, you can find employment just about anywhere.

Like other supervisory tech positions, you’ll need a good grasp of your organization’s technological needs. Stakeholders in systems engineering can include management, other employees that may use the systems, and the team that works under you.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security, Computer Science, or Information Technology

Information security analysts ensure that an organization’s internal and external data stays secure from unauthorized access. They install software, test security measures, communicate precautions, and prepare reports when breaches do happen. Most information security analysts work in large organizations that have a lot of sensitive data.

To succeed at this job, you need people skills, an investigative mind, and attention to detail. A computer network or system is only as strong as its weakest link, so you’ll have to be able to communicate and enforce security measures wherever necessary.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, Computer Science, or Information Technology

Database administrators create and maintain databases for organizations. Some of their key duties include keeping an organization’s data safe and ensuring that data is properly backed up. Database administrators work at organizations of all sizes. In all cases, data must be properly stored in a safe, secure, and accessible way.

This job exists at the intersection of cyber security, networking architecting, and systems engineering. You’ll need to know how to build and maintain networks that anyone can use. You will also need to know how to keep that information safe from unauthorized users.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Technical project managers are product managers that work specifically on technical projects. They set deadlines, create budgets, organize meetings with stakeholders, and more to ensure these projects stay on track. They usually work internally, supervising the development of new hardware and software for their company.

To become a product manager or project manager, you need good communication and planning skills. You will act as the liaison between tech departments and non-tech executives. You also have to plan every detail and make sure the timeline and budget are realistic. Most of the planning skills required for this job come from extensive experience.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Computer systems analysts ensure that an organization’s computer systems are running as efficiently as possible. They work with managers and executives to set financial targets, increase efficiency, and keep track of new technology. These individuals can either work internally for a larger company or as contractors from an information technology firm.

You’ll need a mathematical mind and an interest in technology to succeed as a computer systems analyst. Many analysts have degrees in mathematics as well as information technology because this job requires budgeting different systems and analyzing financial outcomes.

What Education Do I Need to Pursue a Career in Computer Science?

You can start a computer science career with a bachelor’s degree in most cases. Some jobs will also accept people with associate degrees. For senior-level positions, you may have to get a master’s degree.

Most computer science careers require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. Bachelor of Arts degrees focus on the philosophical aspects of the field, whereas Bachelor of Science degrees focus more on the technical side. It’s up to you to decide whether a BA or BS is right for your goals.

Common Entry-Level Computer
Science Jobs

If you’re going to earn one of the high-paying jobs we’ve listed above, you’re going to need years of experience and training. Whether you’re fresh out of school or looking for a career change, these entry-level jobs can help you start out. Below we’ve listed a few of the best entry-level computer science jobs in 2021.

Cyber Security Analyst

Entry-Level Pay: $63,235

Cyber security analysts are typically a step below information security analysts, though sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Entry-level cyber security analysts may take care of smaller tasks like checking security updates or training new employees in an organization’s cyber security policies.

Computer Programmer

Entry-Level Pay: $57,186

Computer programmers help build and maintain computer applications in a variety of programming languages. They are also largely responsible for ensuring these applications run without bugs. By starting as a programmer, you can later progress to more senior software developer and architect jobs.

Network Engineer

Entry-Level Pay: $59,847

Network engineers maintain an organization’s computer network and help troubleshoot any problems. If you decide to pursue a career as a network engineer, you will learn the skills you need to build user-friendly computer networks.

Web Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $50,655

Web developers help build and maintain websites. They ensure that these sites are visually pleasing, can handle traffic, and function as needed. Most coding bootcamps train their students to start working as web developers. If you want to become a web developer in a short time, a bootcamp is a great choice.

Digital Designer

Entry-Level Pay: $47,635

Digital designers create the look of a website. They also, to some extent, make sure that the site is easy to navigate and that it works properly. This job can prepare you for a technical project manager role due to its emphasis on both form and function.

Can I Study Computer Science Online?

Yes, you can study computer science online, no matter what your career goals are. For example, you can find an online bootcamp for almost any tech topic. You can also find many online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

Online programs add an extra level of convenience for people that may have a packed schedule. You can also avoid extra fees and transportation costs. However, learning at home can be less motivating than going to class. You also might miss out on the college experience if you study online. You should choose the option that best suits your needs.

Should I Pursue a Computer Science Job?

Yes, you should pursue a career in computer science. There are plenty of different computer science jobs with different skills and responsibilities, but they all require a drive to succeed and a thirst for knowledge. Once you decide which career you want to pursue, go get your tech education and start your journey toward one of the best computer science jobs of 2021.

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