COMPUTER SCIENCE

CAREER PROSPECTS

Jobs in computing and information technology are in high demand and offer high job satisfaction. Students with a degree in computer science are qualified to pursue a career in a wide variety of computing careers, dealing with software development or system design and analysis. CNN's Money and PayScale.com ranked the "Best Jobs in America", and three different computing jobs appear in the top ten: "Software Architect" at number 3, "Database Administrator" at number 5, and "Software Developer" at number 9 (computing careers took the number 1 spot in 2009, 2010, and 2011). While the Greensboro area is not a leading tech industry region, there are jobs to be found in the area, and even greater prospects are found nearby in the Research Triangle Park and Charlotte areas. For students willing to get out and move to areas of the country with particularly strong computing industry, such as Washington DC, Boston, or Silicon Valley, very attractive jobs are available.

There are some excellent resources on the Internet for learning about career prospects in IT and computing fields. The following are particularly good:

Salary Information

Our graduates do not generally report back to us on the salary they are making after graduation, but we can provide some information on salary and job prospects from two highly-respected national sources: The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook. Keep in mind that these are national averages, and local Greensboro averages tend to be lower (although the cost of living is also significantly less than California!).

Starting Salary

One of the first questions our students ask when thinking about life after graduation is "How much am I going to make?" According to NACE's 2012 survey, computer science majors ranked 3rd among all bachelor's degree majors (and the top-paid major offered by UNCG), with an average starting salary of $64,400. We don't have access to the current survey data for master's degree recipients, but the 2009 survey reports an average starting salary of $69,464 for students receiving a master's degree in computer science. While we don't track these numbers for UNCG graduates, our "feel" is that job offers in the Greensboro area are roughly $10,000 lower than the national average at both levels.

Mid-Career Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a wealth of information about different careers, including job outlooks, typical salaries, educational and training required, typical job functions, etc. Listed below are the 7 occupations that BLS reports and are common for computer science graduates. The link will take you directly to the BLS web site for detailed information on that job, and the average salary listed below is from the 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook (note that these are averaged over all salaries – they are not starting salaries of fresh graduates!):

Job Title 2010 Median Salary
Software Developers $90,530
Computer Systems Analysts $77,740
Informaiton Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects $75,660
Database Administrators $73,490
Computer Programmer $71,380
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $69,160

Where are the Computer Scientists?

At first glance, something seems to be missing in the table above. The degree is "Computer Science", so where is the job title of "Computer Scientist"? Like most fields of study (including Biology, Mathematics, Physics), an undergraduate or master's degree is designed to educate a student in the scientific foundations of the field, and the job pursued by someone with a B.S. or M.S. degree is generally considered an application of the science, and not a practitioner of the science. The BLS publication does report on the job title of Computer and Information Research Scientist, and points out that "A Ph.D. ... is required for most computer and information research scientist jobs." While we don't offer a Ph.D. in Computer Science at UNCG, we certainly prepare students for further study in a doctoral program. BLS reports that 2010 median annual wages of computer and information research scientists was $100,660.

Other Resources and References

The following links to external sites provide more information about the job market for computer science majors.

CAS Home
Give to this Department
Facebook LinkedIn
Connect with us!