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What is the typical starting salary for a computer science major?

I've Googled information about my major. I found out how much a software developer makes but I have been told by older students that companies will pay you less than what is listed online? I'm not sure if this is true or not. computer-programming educational-technology computer computer-science information-technology-and-services information-technology

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Daniel’s Answer

Facetious answer - anywhere between $50k/year and $200k/year.

Note in the below answers, I'm going to talk about total liquid compensation (i.e. salary, bonus, and stock that can be immediately converted to cash that year or whatever). Because some industries pay significant amounts of comp in stock (e.g. 30%++ is not uncommon), it's an unfair comparison to give only salary. Otherwise you make Netflix look too good :P (they pay all cash salary).

This varies a lot:

  • Location matters - coasts (NYC, Bay Area, Seattle, etc) will pay more than other places, even for jobs in the same exact company.
  • Industry matters - finance* and pure tech (think hedge funds, Facebook, Google, Netflix, etc) pay more, and e.g. the video game industry pays way less.
  • Experience matters - not just degree (undergrad vs. PhD), but also job experience (if you're coming out of Uni with a Facebook internship already done, you may be able to command a better salary purely by virtue of being able to get better jobs). For some niche areas (PhD in vision for the current VR/AR hype phase, or ML for instance), this can matter a lot too (see above, being able to land better jobs).

Some example numbers -

  • Big tech in aforementioned top areas (facebook/google/apple/amazon/netflix/microsoft/etc) are probably paying $150k-$200k or so straight out of undergrad. (Netflix will pay more, Amazon may pay less, but all in that general-ish area).
  • Defense contracting in the midwest (Honeywell / Lockmart / Raytheon / etc) are probably paying $70k or so straight out of undergrad.

Do also note that the potential for growth in different areas is way different too. Going from the above:

  • Big tech a couple of promotions and 10 years or so in to your career, you are pulling >>$350k-$400k/year or so.
  • Staying in engineering in defense in similar timeframe tops you out well under the starting salary at big tech (though if you switch to management, the equation changes a bit).

* for finance there's a lot of variation too - there's certainly jobs to be had at big banks that don't pay top competitive salaries, but there's also jobs to be had which pay more than big tech.

All very good points. Please keep in mind that cost of living in all of these areas vary dramatically. So don't just focus on salaries, also do the research on cost of living in these areas to understand the complete picture. You might have more money left in your pocket per se even if you are making less salary due to the cost of living. Debbie Johnson

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Jesmin K’s Answer

I think it depends on the candidate skills in certain technologies and work location.But it should be somewhere from 50k to 60 k per year.


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Manideep’s Answer


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Sumaa’s Answer

I think this has a lot to do with the company you apply for, the role requirements as well as your physical location. I'm in Atlanta, GA and I started off at 61k for a Java Web Developer role with a year of internship experience and I was a Junior in college.