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General Computer Science Major

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General Computer Science

23,342 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
9,768 Master's Degrees Annually
#2 in Popularity
$93,610 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Computer Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general computer and information sciences graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 23,344
Master’s Degree 9,768
Basic Certificate 6,334
Associate’s Degree 5,337
Undergraduate Certificate 869
Doctor’s Degree 655
Graduate Certificate 182

What General Computer Science Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, computer and information sciences majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Computer and Information Sciences Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Computer and Information Sciences Majors

When studying computer and information sciences, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Computer and Information Sciences Majors

As a computer and information sciences major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a General Computer Science Major?

People with a computer and information sciences degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19.0% $118,370
Computer and Information Systems Managers 12.0% $142,530
Computer Network Architects 6.5% $109,020
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Database Administrators 11.5% $90,070
Informatics Nurse Specialists 9.1% $88,740
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 6.1% $82,050
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers 9.3% $90,270
Telecommunications Engineering Specialists 6.5% $109,020
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General Computer Science?

23,344 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
19% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major attracts more men than women. About 81% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of computer and information sciences majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Computer and Information Sciences Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 3,433
Black or African American 1,683
Hispanic or Latino 2,394
White 11,725
International Students 2,355
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,754

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Computer and Information Sciences. About 10.1% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do General Computer Science Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $92,030 to $111,130 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to computer and information sciences. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a General Computer Science Major  ( 92030 to 111130 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with computer and information sciences may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to computer and information sciences have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 5.6%
Some College Courses 7.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 9.5%
Bachelor’s Degree 46.6%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.4%
Master’s Degree 17.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.9%
Doctoral Degree 7.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.3%

Online General Computer Science Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,043 schools offered some type of general computer and information sciences program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 201 43
Certificate (1-2 years) 112 18
Certificate (2-4 Years) 4 1
Associate’s Degree 356 74
Bachelor’s Degree 42 10
Post-Baccalaureate 201 43
Master’s Degree 210 44
Post-Master’s 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 81 5
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Computer Science Worth It?

The median salary for a computer and information sciences grad is $93,610 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 135% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,074,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to computer and information sciences.

Major Number of Grads
Information Technology 26,468
Informatics 2,056
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,143
Artificial Intelligence 326

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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