Photo of computer science major salary: Stats and how to negotiate

Computer Science Major Salary: Stats and How to Negotiate More

As you near graduation with a degree in computer science, your mind turns towards your future. Finding a great first job out of college with a high starting salary can exponentially increase your net worth as you move through your career. That is why it is so important to understand the average computer science major salaries. That way, you can negotiate for higher compensation and start your career on the right foot.

We have worked with hundreds of computer science majors on their job search. We have helped them land roles in software engineering, data science, product design, and web dev with salaries that are over $12,600 more than the average the highest paying of those from companies like Linkedin and Apple.

Before you start to negotiate with a company, it is important to understand the average computer science major salary. You should also research the average salary for the role you are offered. Once you know this information, you can work with them to increase your total compensation (salary, equity, and benefits) in a fair way.

There are a variety of jobs for computer science majors, so we have outlined the general responsibilities for each and the average salary, as reported by Payscale. These averages do not include geographical location. Those in the Bay Area can often expect higher salaries.

Software engineer

Responsibility of a software engineer: Software engineers develop, sometimes design, and test websites, apps, platforms, and many other systems. For info on how to get a software engineering job, check out our guide.

Average salary for a software engineer. The average salary for a software engineer is $86,005, with $62k on the low end and $127k on the high end.

Photo of computer science major salary

Machine learning engineer

Responsibility of a machine learning engineer. For computer science majors who have focused on machine learning, AI, or data science in their studies, internships, and projects, machine learning engineer might be a good fit. This role mainly uses machine learning to develop experiments, analyze data, find solutions, and optimize current workflows or projects within the company.

Average salary for a machine learning engineer. This role is highly specialized and often requires an additional degree or course of study. The average salary is $110,739. On the lower side, machine learning engineers are paid $75k and on the higher side, their salary is $153k.

UX designer

Responsibility of a UX designer. User experience (UX) designers create wireframes, develop prototypes, run experiments, analyze results, and ultimately, design products. The goal is to create products that are intuitive and lead to the desired end result (conversions, continued use, etc). Check out our guide to landing a job as a UX designer for more information on the role.

Average salary for a UX designer. $73,868 is the average salary for a UX designer, with $50k as the low end and $107k as the high end.

Mobile developer

Responsibility of a mobile developer. Often split based on iOS or Android, mobile developers design the look, feel, and mechanics of an application around the intended purpose. They often QA and debug their work, documenting their findings as they go. 

Average salary for a mobile developer: Mobile developers can expect an average salary of $73,257. The lower side of the spectrum is $50k and the higher side is $113k.

Web developer

Responsibility of a web developer. Web developers build websites from the ground up, focusing on the back-end and front-end of the sites. They need to know relevant programming languages, such as Javascript, HTML, and CSS. They often spend time running QA and debugging the pages before launch.

Average salary for a web developer. This role requires less experience than some of the others, so the salary is typically lower. The average salary for a web developer is $59,343. The lowest end of the spectrum is $40k and the highest end is $87k.

Data scientist

Responsibility of a data scientist. Data scientists need to have a fair amount of experience and proficiency in the common data programming languages like R and SQL. They often have additional degrees or advanced coursework. The role requires solving complex business challenges using predictive analyses and other models. To learn more about how to get a data science job, check out our guide.

Average salary of a data scientist. Because of the advanced degrees often required, data scientists can expect an average salary of $96,072, with $66k on the low side and $134k on the high side of the scale.

How to negotiate your salary

Now that you know the average salaries and ranges for jobs for computer science majors, you can plan how to negotiate for a higher compensation. Remember that your salary includes more than just the amount of money you are making. Equity, benefits like PTO and healthcare, as well as perks, all combine to form your total compensation. 

The key to successful negotiation is to stay quiet about numbers throughout the whole session. If you say what you are expecting or what you currently make, then you are pigeonholing yourself. Instead, tell the recruiter you are doing research on salaries in this field and location so you know what is fair.

When they present you with an offer, move the conversation to email so that you can take your time. On the phone, you might get flustered. But, over email you will have time to think about their offer, ask questions to family or a mentor, and draft a well thought out response. 

Big tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are known for offering high salaries and good benefits in the starting offer. So, you might see better results negotiating with them on equity, relocation funds, signing bonuses, and other benefits.

With smaller startups, their first offer might include a lower salary. Therefore, you should try to increase that through your negotiations, unless they explicitly mentioned that they cannot go higher. In that case, focus your attention on bonuses, equity, and benefits, which all add to your total compensation. For more info on how to increase your salary, check out our guide.

For more information on Pathrise

With this background knowledge on the average computer science major salary and these tips, you should be able to successfully navigate offers for these roles and negotiate to increase your compensation.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our guidance, we’ve seen a 5-20% increase in salary from our fellows in the program.

If you want to work with any of our mentors 1-on-1 to get help with negotiation or with any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise. 

Apply today.

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Brian Wong

Brian Wong is an experienced senior software engineer and has worked at top bay area startups and organizations. In his free time, Brian works with Pathrise SWE fellows to help them land their dream job and learn insider tips on how to ace technical interviews.

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