The Average Yearly Income for a Person in Computer Science

by Aurelio Locsin
Computer software professionals earn their pay by pushing the limits of hardware.

Computer software professionals earn their pay by pushing the limits of hardware.

There's plenty of growth in this industry. Professionals in computer science design the software and the hardware that store, organize and process the bits and bytes necessary for individuals and businesses to thrive. Their efforts reward them with compensation that is higher than average.


Over two dozen computer occupations made an average $80,180 per year, as of May 2011, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Annually, the lowest paid 10 percent received less than $40,330; the best paid 10 percent made over $125,940. Compare these amounts to the average $45,790 paid to all US workers. An example of individual computer salaries and jobs includes an average $76,320 yearly system administrator who took charge of digital operations. Hardware engineers made an average $103,980 per year for designing and testing computer equipment and peripherals. Software developers received an average $90,470 annually for creating the programs that make hardware function. Support staff help users with problems in hardware and software. They made an average $50,130 yearly.

Regional Comparisons

California, the most populous state, offered the greatest number of jobs for computer science professionals, with 13 percent of the total positions, and average wages at $91,810. The location with the highest, however, was the District of Columbia, which the BLS classified with states. Compensation was an annual $92,960. Among metropolitan regions, the area around Washington, DC boasted the greatest employment, with five percent of the total jobs, and annual salaries of $97,750 yearly. The urban area with the highest pay was San Jose, California, at an average $108,610.

Contributing Factors

One of the contributing factors to employment and salary is the type of employers. Over a quarter of all computer science positions were in computer systems design and related services, which paid an average $84,690 a year. The highest wages were in securities and commodity brokerages at an average annual $98,770. This industry required computing to store, organize and process financial transactions amounting to millions of dollars. Another contributing factor was education. With a bachelor's degree, computer science majors earned an average $70,000 yearly, according to a May 2011 report by Georgetown University. Going for a graduate degree boosted that amount by 31 percent.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects jobs for computer occupations to increase by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is far greater than the 14 percent predicted for all occupations in all industries. While the reasons for the increase vary by job title, one factor is the demand for more hardware and software to meet the needs of a growing population and economy. Mobile technology, the health-care industry, computer consulting and cyber security are just some of the fields expected to provide good employment opportunities.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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