Computer Scientist Salary and Job Description

by Publishing Team on July 31, 2019

Do you dream of creating new, groundbreaking advancements in computer technology? Do you have creative and innovative ideas and want to take the IT world by storm with your prowess? If so, a career as a computer scientist might be tailor-made for you. Not only does a career in computer science offer significant opportunities for upward job mobility and advancement, but it usually comes with an impressive salary package as well.

If you have ever even remotely considered pursuing a job within this sector, are curious to know what is required to get started, and are wondering what the typical computer science salary is, this detailed job guide is for you.

What Is a Computer Scientist?


Before delving into the computer science salary, it is crucial to know what this job entails and the skills required to be a success. In the simplest of terms, individuals working in the computer science field are always endeavoring to create fresh and advanced computer software technology to meet the demands of the modern digital age.

You may find yourself fine-tuning brand new applications or coming up with the latest answer to solve another technological bug. The requirements and abilities required for this job are varied and complex. Computer scientists work for many types of employers, including software publishers, government agencies, engineering companies, and in academia.

Job Description

If you are working as a computer scientist, you will typically be part of a larger team of programmers, IT experts, and engineers. These research factions often work together to create groundbreaking technological advances and answers to all various computer issues that arise. They work with questions and computers systems in businesses, corporations, educational entities, hospitals, in the government, and with private individuals. You could research advanced methodologies like robotics or artificial intelligence, develop and fine-tune computer applications, or create new software materials.

There is a wide assortment of skills required to meet the demands of this position and earn the optimal computer science salary. They vary slightly between the sector and area of focus, but there are several standard skills and duties associated with the role. As a computer scientist, you must be able to pinpoint and resolve issues that arise with computer software, applications, and technology in different industry settings. You must have the ability to create new technological solutions and have very strong abilities in mathematics, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication.

In addition, a computer scientist must have the ability to act as a researcher, creator, and consultant, working with other technology professionals, scientists, engineers, vendors, and managers to assess and activate computational objectives and demands. Anyone looking to earn an excellent computer science salary must also possess exceptional abilities in technical writing to create work that can be published for research and reference.

While you may not need to always use these abilities, as a computer scientist you must be able to code accurately and understand the various programming vernaculars, both old and emerging. Over time, many computer scientists train other professionals and students looking to enter the field based on their expertise and discoveries.

Educational Requirements 

If you would like to earn a computer science salary in a high-level research capacity, you will probably need to possess a doctorate in computer science. Despite this, there are many individuals working in the field who have only a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related discipline such as software engineering or information systems.

You must have keen attention to detail, exceptional communication skills, a mind for problem solving, endless creativity, keen time awareness, and strong math skills to achieve the educational and knowledge requirements associated with this job.

If you are pursuing the bachelor’s degree route, it is likely that you will return to school eventually to achieve a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in computer science, analytics, or engineering. This not only increases your knowledge to meet the ever-changing demands of the job but allows for wide latitude in a computer science salary. Courses usually cover concepts like program dialects, hardware, software, and computational design.

No matter what kind of degree program you choose, there are
a number of courses you should look for. Look for classes on topics like software programming, software development, hardware engineering, data analytics, technical writing and training, and information systems management. You should also take advanced-level courses in subjects like discrete mathematics, linear algebra, calculus, and statistics.

What Computer Science Jobs Are There?


Many computer scientists work as software or web developers. Software developers create computer programs for application use on computers or mobile systems. Web developers create and fine-tune internet-based technology for the user space.


Another type of computer science role is that of the database administrator. Individuals filling these roles research and examine the data requirements of web and application consumers, creating and honing related resources to solve issues and keep things running smoothly.


There are various categories of engineers within the computer science field, with one of the most common being computer hardware engineers. As a computer hardware engineer, you create, fine-tune, and test many physical computer technologies for use by the masses. This is an exciting area, often operating on the cusp of new computer design and development.


Computer systems analysts carefully research and examine all aspects of modern technology to make sure that user software is efficiently meeting needs. Information security analysts also work to fortify computer networks and sites from web-based attacks and security network break-ins. This often involves expecting hacking maneuvers and building and uploading software to prevent such attacks.


Computer network architects work in the branch of computer science responsible for creating, overseeing, and engaging vast technological communication structures and data stores. This includes local and outside computer networks, internet, intranet, and extranet sources.


Computer programmers are the coders who create the computer languages that enable software to reach optimal function.


The last two common branches of the computer science field are project managers and computer and information systems managers. The former are the managing heads of IT departments, working to create a cohesive unit out of all the analysts and programmers, and to spearhead and produce related projects. They may consult, solve, and analyze IT policy and procedures for companies or organizations.

Computer and information systems managers examine the technological demands of a particular company or client and take charge of measures to utilize and add the relevant data technology. To thrive in this role, you must be able to analyze effectively and select hardware, software, networking capabilities, and other computational effects to be created for or added to a company’s database.

What Is an Average Computer Science Salary?

Contributing Factors

Having examined the various subcategories within the field of computer science, it is important to remember that your education, knowledge, chosen area of specialty, and work experience affects your ultimate computer science salary significantly. There are many jobs within the larger field of computer science, and your salary will depend on your precise job.

That being said, the field is an ever-growing and usually lucrative one, offering many opportunities for advancement, creating groundbreaking technological offerings, and using enhanced research capabilities.

To earn the highest computer science salary, it is recommended that you complete a doctoral degree in computer science or a similar discipline. You may still have significant opportunities in the government sector if you have the requisite skill set and only a bachelor’s degree. However, you might still want to consider obtaining a doctoral degree down the line.

Overall Earning Potential 

The average computer science salary for qualified professionals falls is around $116,000 per year. Your computer science salary as an analyst or engineer is usually lower than if your specialty is in the science or research sector. A software engineer might expect to make around $90,000 per year, while a data scientist could earn upwards of $119,000 annually.

Location, experience, and education make a huge difference in your computer science salary, with the lowest end of the spectrum pulling in around $50,000 per year and those on the high end earning close to $130,000. The U.S. coastal cities provide the greatest opportunity for an increased computer science salary base, with many professionals consistently earning well over $100,000 per year. That being said, the coastal areas are also where cost of living is highest and competition fiercest.


A career in computer science can be an exceptionally rewarding one, not only providing excellent opportunities to earn a lucrative computer science salary but offering the chance to be on the very forefront of modern technological advances. To achieve optimal career mobility and increase your earning potential, it is important to pursue advanced degree options and develop your soft skills in creativity, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving. Location, experience, and education will often be the greatest determinants of your ultimate computer science salary, so bear this in mind when looking into this exciting career and determine the best course of action to achieve your goals.

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