Career Salary Overview

Software Developer $100K
Computer Programmer $90K
Network Architect $110K
Database Administrator $90K
Information Systems Manager $140K
70K90K110K130K150K

Careers in Computer Science

In the coming years, job prospects are expected to be far better for software professionals with specialized, comprehensive knowledge than they are for those whose expertise is limited to programming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 32% increase in jobs for software engineers during the years 2008 to 2018. During those same years, jobs for programmers were expected to decline by 3%. According to the BLS, software engineering positions are less likely to be outsourced.

A degree in software engineering, meanwhile, may become the norm for those working with embedded software or other high-stakes applications. A licensing exam is currently being developed at the request of ten states. Organizations like the IEEE-USA predict that engineering licensure will become the norm for some, though not all, software development roles.


What can I do with a master's in computer science?

After graduating with an M.C.S., you’ll have workplace knowledge and skills related to:

  • Software development, which includes creating business applications, game development, web programming and scientific computing.
  • Finding and creating new uses for computers, searching for cancer and other disease treatments, automating medical images such as mammograms, developing self-driving vehicles for use in agriculture and more.
  • Solving computer problems, which may include advanced research in computer theory and creating more effective data algorithms.
  • Managing computer systems for a wide variety of industries and companies.

Software Developer

Software developers have a hand in the design and execution of nearly every technology we interact with on a daily basis. They design both applications-based and systems-based software. This can mean instructing programmers to write and test the code required to build software or writing code themselves.

Software applications vary widely, but they include all user-facing programs, from Netflix and Instagram to online banking and Google Maps. Systems are defined as the platforms that keep computers running applications effectively. The operating systems on our phones and computers are the most obvious example, but many organizations require specific internal systems to collect and manage industry-specific data. Software developers are responsible for designing both.


$99,530 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Analyze user needs and design, test and develop software accordingly
  • Recommend software upgrades for customer’s current programs
  • Design every feature of an application or system
  • Create models and templates to help instruct programmers how to code software
  • Ensure software continues to function as new features and bandwidth are added
  • Document all development as a manual for future maintenance and upgrades

Salary and Employment Expectations

Best Paying States

  1. California$119,970
  2. Washington$115,370
  3. Massachusetts$109,670
  4. Maryland$108,300
  5. New York$107,020

Job Numbers by State

  1. California106,660
  2. Washington48,890
  3. New York44,050
  4. Massachusetts26,900
  5. Maryland12,940

Work Environment

  • Computer systems design firms
  • Electronic product manufacturing companies
  • Financial firms and insurance agencies
  • Software publishing companies

Education Required

Writing code is not necessarily a primary task for developers, but these professionals need a strong background in programming to instruct programmers to execute a software design.

Career Advancement

With experience, software developers can advance to become IT project managers or computer and information systems managers that oversee the entire software development process.


Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write the code that allows software programs to run. Basically, they write directions in C++ and Python or another language, and the computer follows the programmer’s detailed instructions to accomplish certain tasks such as storing or retrieving data. Programming is highly detailed work, and it usually involves fluency in several languages. Projects can be short and require only a few days of coding, or they can be very long, involving upward of a year to write.


$82,690 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Write, modify and debug software for websites
  • Test and document software for client applications
  • Use source debuggers and visual development environments

Salary and Employment Expectations

Best Paying States

  1. Washington$115,430
  2. New Mexico$96,510
  3. Colorado$92,070
  4. District of Columbia$89,650
  5. California$89,250

Job Numbers by State

  1. California37,990
  2. Washington13,670
  3. Colorado4,160
  4. District of Columbia1,470
  5. New Mexico1,380

Work Environment

Programmers often work independently on projects and collaborate with their teams after their portion of a project is complete. Since this type of work can be done from anywhere, many programmers opt to work remotely.

Education Required

While some programmers are self-taught, many of the most successful earn a foundational C.S. degree in school at the bachelor's degree level.

Career Advancement

Computer programmers who advance their education or gain enough experience in product development can advance to become software developers or project managers. Programmers who have received instruction on complex, multi-step software projects often know best how to lead other programmers to create a clean and efficient tool.


Network Architect

Network architects design and build data communication networks like local area networks, wide area networks and intranets. Their job is to facilitate the fastest, most secure level of connectivity that can meet the bandwidth needs of an organization or a series of globally distributed communications systems. Aside from specific, technical understanding of the way networking and server administration operates, these professionals must have a high level understanding of an organization’s current and future needs in order to build a reliable system that can grow with the business.


$100,710 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Create a plan and layout for a data communication network
  • Present this plan to project managers
  • Consider all possible information security concerns, accounting for contingencies
  • Select the hardware (including routers or adapters) and software (including network drivers) that will best support the network
  • Map the layout of cables and hardware throughout the building
  • Research new technology and build a system that could integrate these new options

Salary and Employment Expectations

Best Paying States

  1. Oregon$126,230
  2. California$120,590
  3. New Jersey$117,370
  4. Massachusetts$115,760
  5. Maryland$114,530

Job Numbers by State

  1. California13,990
  2. New Jersey5,540
  3. Maryland5,430
  4. Massachusetts4,390
  5. Oregon1,170

Work Environment

  • Computer systems design firms
  • Telecommunications providers
  • Financial firms and insurance companies

Education Required

Network architects usually require at least a bachelor's in computer science, information systems, engineering or a related field. Employers also often prefer master's degrees in one of these areas, as well as 5-10 years of experience working with IT systems or network administration.

Career Advancement

Network architects may advance to become computer and information systems managers, but with experience, the usual course is to take on larger network planning projects and with them, higher pay and higher levels of responsibility.


Database Administrator

Database administrators specialize in software programs used to store and organize major data systems, like financial information, patient medical records or customer shopping records. The idea is to ensure that users that need to access and analyze these databases can do so quickly and securely. Aside from maintaining these software, database administrators often play a role in the development of proprietary databases. In these cases, DBAs require specialized knowledge of the database, the needs of its users and all possible ways in which this database might be vulnerable to unauthorized access or exploitative use.


$82,280 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Identify users needs to create and maintain databases
  • Ensure that the database functions efficiently and appropriately for users
  • Make and test modifications to the database structure
  • Archive old data and when needed, merge it with new systems
  • Build reliable backup and restore catches within the systems to prevent data loss
  • Ensure the security of the database

Salary and Employment Expectations

Best Paying States

  1. New Jersey$102,350
  2. Colorado$94,050
  3. California$93,370
  4. District of Columbia$92,220
  5. Washington$91,760

Job Numbers by State

  1. California10,870
  2. New Jersey3,180
  3. Colorado2,490
  4. Washington2,230
  5. District of Columbia960

Work Environment

  • Computer systems design firms
  • Financial firms and insurance companies
  • Information management companies
  • State, local and private educational companies

Education Required

Database administrators often hold a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field or management information systems and are required to be fluent in the Structured Query Language, or SQL. Organizations with the largest databases may also require administrators to hold a master's degree related to data management, either in computer science or information systems and technology.

Career Advancement

Database administrators who have completed large-scale projects effectively often move on to positions in computer and information systems management where they can oversee multiple data storage and networking projects on an ongoing basis.


Information Systems Manager

Information systems managers, often called IT project managers, oversee all computer-related activities and initiatives in an organization. They are responsible for planning, coordinating and directing the information technology goals of the firm and then managing and maintaining the systems and staff required to support those ongoing goals.


$136,280 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Analyze their organization’s computer needs and recommend possible upgrades
  • Plan and direct the installation of network upgrades
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of new projects and ongoing maintenance and draft budget proposals accordingly
  • Study new technologies and look for opportunities to upgrade computer systems
  • Determine long-term personnel needs for the IT department
  • Plan and direct the work of their computer systems analysts, software developers and information support specialists
  • Negotiate with vendors and plan for synchronous and easy future upgrades

Salary and Employment Expectations

Best Paying States

  1. California$158,660
  2. New York$157,360
  3. Delaware$153,540
  4. New Jersey$152,520
  5. Virginia$151,460

Job Numbers by State

  1. California49,760
  2. New York25,020
  3. Virginia14,050
  4. New Jersey13,830
  5. Delaware1,090

Work Environment

  • Computer systems design firms
  • Financial firms and insurance companies
  • Information management companies
  • State, local and county level government agencies

Education Required

Computer and information systems managers must hold at least a bachelor's degree in a computer- or information science-related field. Many are also required to hold a master's degree in business, computer science or information systems and have spent several years already working in IT in their industry.

Career Advancement

These professionals often start out as lower level analysts and make their way up to managerial positions. After 5-10 years managers may be considered for major positions like CTOs or CIOs (chief technology officer and chief information officer). C-level employees in many firms have a chance to advance to major executive positions.