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General Computer Science Major

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General Computer Science

31,724 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
11,587 Master's Degrees Annually
#1 in Popularity
$96,200 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Computer Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer science graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 31,737
Master’s Degree 11,600
Associate’s Degree 2,944
Doctor’s Degree 1,182
Basic Certificate 299
Graduate Certificate 102
Undergraduate Certificate 42

What General Computer Science Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, computer science 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 Science 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Computer Science Majors

computer science majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Computer Science Majors

Computer Science majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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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.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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.

What Can You Do With a General Computer Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with computer science:

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 Support Specialists 8.2% $62,770
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Computer Systems Engineers/Architects 9.3% $90,270
Document Management Specialists 9.3% $90,270
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists 9.3% $90,270
Information Security Analysts 28.5% $98,350
Search Marketing Strategists 9.3% $90,270
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers 9.3% $90,270
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270
Web Developers 14.9% $69,430

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

31,737 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
20% Percent Women
39% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major attracts more men than women. About 80% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Computer Science Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 6,709
Black or African American 1,361
Hispanic or Latino 3,033
White 14,409
International Students 3,762
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,463

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Computer Science. About 11.9% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do General Computer Science Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $89,580 to $114,000 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to computer science. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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  ( 89580 to 114000 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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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 science may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.0%
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) 6.1%
Some College Courses 4.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 9.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 57.3%
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. 4.3%
Master’s Degree 11.2%
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. 0.7%
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. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 4.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online General Computer Science Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 915 schools offered some type of computer science 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) 27 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 23 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 234 20
Bachelor’s Degree 24 9
Post-Baccalaureate 27 0
Master’s Degree 260 45
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 111 5
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Computer Science Worth It?

The median salary for a computer science grad is $96,200 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 141% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,126,000 after 20 years!

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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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