Salary Guides

Computer Science and Computer Information Systems Salary Guide

Computer Science salaries are on the rise as a whole, but there is still a strong degree of variance according to geographic area within within the United States. For the purposes of this resource guide, Computer Science, Information Systems, and IT are interchangeable. The following is a detailed IT salary guide

Average Computer Science Salary = $102,000/yr.

Across all levels and geographic areas, the average computer science salary is currently on the rise. The average starting computer science salary for 2014 is $59,800.

IT Computer Science Salary Range

Salaries do vary significantly by subset field within IT (see below for more), but we can generalize some from the data sets. The following is a range of salaries in the IT field:

Avg. Entry-LevelAvg. Mid-CareerPeak/Maximum
Computer Science Pay$59,800$86,500$122,000+
National Average Pay$45,400$60,400$234,000+

*statistics assume college degree or professional certifications, courtesy of BLS.

Computer Science Salary by State

Certain states are more IT-friendly than others in terms of pay. The following table illustrates the disparities for each state:

State/TerritoryTypical Salary
American Samoa$91,000
New Hampshire$85,000
New Jersey$94,500
New Mexico$77,000
New York$100,500
North Carolina$85,500
North Dakota$80,500
Puerto Rico$81,000
Rhode Island$87,000
South Carolina$77,000
South Dakota$67,000
Virgin Islands$98,000
Washington D.C.$98,000
West Virginia$81,500

*Higher typical salaries do not necessarily equate to a better job market. Some states – like Texas – have more job positions being posted than other states, but a lower cost of living and better supply of IT talent keeps the average salary lower.

Computer Science Jobs by Major Metro Area

IT jobs tend to be concentrated around major metropolitan areas. While salaries might be higher in some states, certain areas have significantly more job openings than others.

Metro AreaAverage Job Listings
Washington D.C.12,000
New York City8,800
San Jose7,800
San Francisco7,000
Los Angeles3,600

Computer Science Careers Salary Guide

Because there is a high degree of variance within the IT industry depending on your job title, the following section breaks out each specific IT concentration by the average entry level, mid-career, and peak expected salaries. This is a general outline based off of U.S. national data and is not specific to particular geographic areas (which can vary considerably depending on cost of living and supply/demand).

IT Infrastructure Support Salary Range

IT Infrastructure support refers to a variety of different IT infrastructure positions, ranging from low-level technical support, up to large-enterprise systems engineering. As it sounds, these positions are critical to maintaining ongoing operations for most companies. There are a wide array of technology specific certifications and platforms, but most infrastructure support staff will have a strong familiarity and interest in networking concepts and server maintenance, support, and design principles.

IT Help Desk/Technician/Support Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*IT support positions vary by title, but generally refer to the same type of generalized IT support. Note: There is significant crossover between Help Desk positions and Desktop Support (below), but the later tends to have specialized certifications specific to the role and hence a slightly higher salary range.

Desktop Support Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

LAN/Network Technician Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Towards the higher end a Sr. Network Technician becomes comparable to a Network Administrator (below).

Network Administrator Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*In some company structures a Network and Systems Administrator are combined roles.

Systems Administrator Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. Systems Administrator

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Most Sr. Systems Administrators will start out as regular Systems Admins (see above). “Entry-level” in this case refers to what you can expect in the first 1-2 years at this level.

Network Engineer

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*There is a wide degree of variance between a junior Network Engineer and a Sr. Network Engineer.

Systems Engineer

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. Systems Engineer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Systems Architect

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Database Administrator/DBA Salary Range

DBA’s or Database Administrator’s are another popular IT career specialization. DBA’s are responsible for designing and administering relational databases (otherwise known as RDBMS) that are integral to the operation of most large companies. DBA’s can be proficient in a variety of database languages. The most used are SQL Server and Oracle, but you may also see others such as DB2, MaxDB or PostgreSQL. Most DBA’s have an data analytic’s background and can execute data search and retrieve queries for Business Analyst’s an d Business Intelligence Analyst’s (BI).

Intermediate DBA

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. DBA Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Database Architect

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*There is often cross-over between Sr. DBA’s and Database Architect positions. Some combines will opt to combine these two roles into one core responsibility for both administering and supporting existing databases while also designing and building new ones.

IT Quality Assurance Salary Range

The QA process is a critical component for enterprise engaged in developing new software and systems. Within most development methodologies, quality assurance is an important “pre-production” phase. At this step, the QA teams do their best to “break” the system or software to uncover bugs and problems. At a junior level, QAs will be responsible for testing automated scripts and logging errors while at the higher levels QA’s are responsible for designing test cases and even some light coding to fix bugs and create new scripts to run (both manual and automated).

Junior QA Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Jr. QA’s are also sometimes referred to as QA Tester’s with a similar salary scale.

Mid Level IT QA Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. IT QA Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

STE/Systems Test Engineer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Also can be referred to as Software Test Engineer.

Software and Web Development Salary Range

For the purposes of this guide, web development refers to the area of software developers, coders, and programmers who make up the bulk of IT spending for most companies. Software development usually represents the focus of large IT shops and salaries are representative of this. Skilled software and web developers are hot commodities. There is some degree of variance between the different programming languages (e.g. C#/.NET, Java, etc…), but the general ranges listed below serve as a solid general benchmark.

Junior Developer/Programmer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Mid-Level Developer/Programmer/Software Engineer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. Developer/Software Engineer/Programmer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

IT Security Salary Range

IT security is one of the fastest growing fields within IT. As the web expands and companies move more of their operations onto virtual frameworks, the list of potential threats exponentially increases. Almost every large Fortune 500 company will have dedicated resources for endpoint security and intrusion detection. Most skilled IT security specialists will have a strong networking background and often will share dual specialties in network engineering principles. As it currently stands, professionals in IT security will find generally higher salary ranges and better demand for their skills and expertise.

IT Security Analyst Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Network Security Engineer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

IT Security Systems Manager/Sr. Security Engineer Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Because this is a relatively new emerging field, the higher levels of IT security are not always clearly defined across industries. IT Security Manager’s and IT Security Engineer’s are often responsible for similar levels and and oversight of systems.

IT Management and Analysis Salary Range

On the other end of the IT spectrum are the Project Managers, Business Analysts, and other supporting staff who help shape overall IT business development and direction. They are critical in supporting and defining the scope of both projects and ongoing operations. Many who join the ranks of management will have experience on the developer or infrastructure support side of the house, usually depending on the nature of project. Having knowledge of Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC) and management principles (including certifications) are critical. While some of these professionals will have a traditional IT background, others will integrate or bring business management training or experience to the table.

Help Desk Manager Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

*Also can be referred to as “Help Desk Supervisor”, although peak salaries will be lower for this job title.

IT Quality Assurance Manager Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

IT Data Analyst Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

IT Business Analyst/Business Systems Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

IT Project Manager Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Sr. IT Project Manager Salary

Avg. Entry LevelAvg. Mid CareerPeak/Maximum

Computer Information Systems and Computer Science Degree Salary

How Much Further Does a Degree Get You?

Degrees are a significant upfront investment, so it makes sense to ask the question of how much further does it really get you? There is certainly a noticeable bump in salary across the board for those who have degrees in IT, but it becomes a bit more difficult to attribute the increase in salary directly to a degree. Computer science is one of the few areas where degrees were historically not needed, mainly because it becomes clear very quickly if you actually know what you are talking about on the job. Similarly, during the early years as IT careers developed, educational institutions could not always keep up with the ever changing technologies and specialties within IT.

In recent years, the importance of an IT degree has grown as the industry has matured. You can still get by with a few certifications, but it will be harder to get on the right career track and get your foot in the door without a degree. Smaller IT shops will probably still take a chance on those without degrees, but you will have to substitute a degree for a lengthy IT work history and references. As it stands, a Bachelors degree will help you most in terms of pay when you are just starting out your career.

A Bachelors degree in an IT related field (Comp Sci, Information Technology, Information Systems, Computer Networking, etc…) in general gets you the follow salary bumps:

Avg. Starting PayMedian Pay (overall)
With Bachelors in IT$58,100$84,500
Without Bachelors in IT$36,500$78,700

The short answer is, yes, a degree is worth it. Especially in the early years, the salary differential will be crucial. However, as you progress in the IT field, the importance of degrees becomes less important. Specialized certifications and past work history and track record become the post pivotal measuring sticks.

Masters in Computer Science Salary

How Much More Can You Make with a Masters?

It is even more difficult to ascertain whether a Masters degree in IT is worth it, mainly because many people who go back for a Masters already have a lengthy track record of work history. We do have some data to go on, however. Stanford University reports that the median salary for their graduates with an MS in Computer Science is about $105,000, higher than the $93,800 that their BS in Computer Science grads are making. This general pattern seems to hold true across the board, as the chart illustrates below:

Median Pay (overall)
With Masters in IT$105,000
With Just Bachelors in IT$84,500
No Degree in IT$78,700



Stay tuned as we continue to update this page with the latest IT and Computer Science salary information!

IT Career Central Team

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