Best-Paying Computer Degrees

Beating all odds stacked against them, computer degrees seem to have regained favor with students. At least that’s what the data released by the Computing Research Association (CRA) suggests.

According to the CRA Taulbee Survey report, Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends, 2010-11, enrollments in undergraduate computer science degree programs rose 9.6 percent in the 2011-12 school year. This was the fourth straight year of increased enrollments in computer science degree programs*.

The increase in demand for computer degrees among students indicates a corresponding growth in computer-related careers that can be monetarily rewarding, personally fulfilling, and intellectually stimulating. Here’s a selection of some computer degree programs and the careers they can lead to:

1. Computer Science Degree: The computer science degree has been ranked among the top ten undergrad college programs by salary in a 2011-12 college salary report published by payscale.com. According to the report, computer science graduates earn a starting median pay of $56,600, and by mid-career, it can go up to $97,900, depending on location, education, and experience**.

And what kinds of career can you pursue once you graduate from this program? Computer science graduates have the option of choosing from a variety of exciting careers.

For instance, software engineers are responsible for designing and developing software applications that allow people to complete specific tasks on the computer, while an information systems manager or information technology manager plans, coordinates and directs computer-related activities in an organization.

2. Computer Programming Degree: Like the name suggests, a computer programming degree is focused on training graduates in various programming languages and providing them the skills to keep learning new languages as and when they are developed. This degree program can be pursued at both the associate’s and bachelor’s levels, depending on your personal and professional aspirations.

A computer programming degree prepares graduates for the role of a programmer, who writes the code needed to convert the designs developed by software engineers into actual software applications. They do this by writing a series of instructions using a programming language such as Java or C++ that the computer can follow.