Computer Science Grads See Boost in Salaries

Due only partly to the damage done by the dot-com bust and media hype around outsourcing, there is a widespread conception that IT is not a viable career path.

Perpetuated further by well-intended guidance counselors, parents and even IT professionals who do not feel safe sending their technically inclined children down their same career path, most come to the conclusion that computer science graduates have a difficult time finding work.

Yet actual studies often paint a different picture. Not only are computer science majors faring well in the job market, but starting salary offers since the bursting of the IT bubble have been about 15 percent higher than those that came before it, finds a study published in the fall 2007 issue of Salary Survey, a quarterly report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"There is no sign that a career in IT is going away. The demand for technology and business-skilled workers is only going to increase," Liz Brady, senior analyst with Forrester Leadership Boards, told eWEEK.

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In addition, some of the highest salary offers among all college majors, exceeded only by a few in the engineering field (chemical, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering, specifically), went to graduating computer science majors. Computer science majors saw a 4.5 percent increase in salary offers between 2006 and 2007, bringing the average to $53,051. The increase for information sciences and systems graduates was even greater (5.9 percent), resulting in an average offer of $49,966.

While salaries for starting employees with CS degrees jumped to their highest point since 1989 in 2000 to 2001, $60,000, these levels were not sustained for more than one year, as the economy fell because of the dot-com crash.


Average starting salary offers to the class of 2007 across all academic fields rose as well. Those with business/managerial and finance degrees posted average salary offers of $47,782 and $46,442, respectively, around $5,000 below that of computer science students.

Management information systems grads received a 4.7 percent increase to their average salary offer, bringing it to $47,407. And marketing graduates saw a healthy increase of 5.6 percent, boosting their average offer to $39,269.

The NACE said that its preliminary research for the class of 2008 indicates that they’ll be entering a healthy job market, as well.

"This last look at the average starting salary offers shows increases in many disciplines compared to last year’s reports," said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. "In various studies we conducted throughout the academic year, we saw that demand for many disciplines was up, which may account for the corresponding increase in starting salaries."

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