Title image of Computer science major salaries and stats

Computer Science Major Salary: Stats and How to Negotiate More

While computer science is one of the highest college paying majors, competition is steep. As graduation approaches, you may feel pressured to quickly find a high paying computer science job at a top company. Since your first computer science major salary and job is so important, this pressure is generally healthy. Data suggests your computer science major salary out of college can define the salary over your entire career.That’s why it is so important to understand the average computer science major salary and land the role with the highest salary possible. That way, you can negotiate for higher compensation and start your career on the right foot.

Average Computer Science Major Salary

Before you start to negotiate with a company, it is important to understand the average computer science major salary. Since computer science is one of the most in-demand and highest earning college majors, the average computer science major salary is over $71,000 nationwide.

However, computer science majors work in an extremely wide variety of fields and salaries range almost as widely. Common jobs for computer science majors include software engineering, data science, web development, IT, and much more. Salary and required skills vary by role. 

To help you know your worth and prepare for salary negotiation, we’ve outlined the salaries for some of the most common computer science major jobs, as reported by Payscale, Glassdoor, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These averages do not include location or salary, which can have a big effect on salary. A software engineer working for Netflix in San Francisco could make 3x the salary of an entry-level software engineer working for a startup in Montana 

Growth percentage of tech roles with a CS degree


Software Engineer

  • Entry level salary: $85k – $128k+ base pay
  • Average salary: $93,710 base pay in July 2024
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (or bootcamp)
  • Projected growth in the next 10 years: 25% (Much faster than average)

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. According to Glassdoor, the  average base salary for a software engineer is $115 per year. Payscale puts the average base salary at $93,710. Either way, software engineers earn some of the highest salaries for computer science majors. Of course, salary varies widely by region and experience. But software engineering remains an extremely in-demand role with an almost guaranteed potential for growth. .

Machine Learning Engineer

  • Entry level salary: $100k-$162k+ per year
  • Average salary: $118,000 per year base salary
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (or bootcamp)
  • Projected growth in the next 10 years: 23% (Much faster than average)

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 $118k according to Patscale. On the lower side, machine learning engineers are paid $83k and on the higher side, their salary is $162k+.

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. $79,369 is the average base salary for a UX designer according to Payscale, with $56k as the low end and $113k as the high end.

Mobile Developer

  • Entry level salary: $85k – $128k+ base pay
  • Average salary: $93,335 base pay in July 2024
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (or bootcamp)
  • Projected growth in the next 10 years: 15% (Much faster than average)

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 $87,175 according to Payscale and $93,335k according to Glassdoor. The lower end of the spectrum is $55k and the higher side is $138k.

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, according to Payscale. The lowest end of the spectrum is $45k and the highest end is $95k.

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 $100,588, with $72k on the low side and $140k 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 interview process. 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.

Expert Help Landing Computer Science Jobs 

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. We’ve helped hundreds of computer science majors land roles in software engineering, data science, product design, and web dev with salaries. On average, fellows earn over $12,600 more than the average, the average the highest paying jobs of those from at companies like Linkedin and Apple. 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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