Highest-Paying Computer Science Jobs in 2019 – Career Benefits and Disadvantages

Are you thinking about studying a Computer Science degree? Or maybe you’re already enrolled but would like to know: how rewarding are Computer Science careers?

You’ve come to the right place! We also find this question very interesting, which is why we’ve done some research and found the highest-paying Computer Science jobs. We’ll also share several entry-level positions and some of the most important advantages and disadvantages of a career in Computer Science.

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Highest-paying Computer Science jobs

Are Computer Scientists paid well? Obviously! That’s because the demand for IT specialists is higher than ever. Additionally, you’ll find that it’s not easy to become a Computer Science expert. Most jobs only require a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, but you might need a Master’s degree in management positions, which demand more specialised knowledge and work experience.

We’ve done our research and found a great report from PayScale, which reveals the highest paying Computer Science jobs in the US. We’ve included both the average annual salary and the mid-career pay – that’s how much you’ll earn after 10 years of work experience.

1. Software Development Director

  • Average annual salary: 143,000 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 157,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Plan & manage the software development process
  • Facilitate communication between different team members and departments
  • Communicate with clients & identifying possible product improvements
  • Train and guide junior programmers
  • Create detailed reports, evaluations, and presentations

2. Principal Software Engineer

  • Average annual salary: 135,000 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 142,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Scale projects efficiently
  • Maximise performance and minimise costs
  • Ensure design, application & maintenance standards are followed
  • Evaluate systems and networks

3. Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

  • Average annual salary: 116,600 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 135,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Develop systems & software that improve site reliability
  • Provide on-call support and manage incidents
  • Collaborate on designed solutions with product developers
  • Ensure software delivery pipeline is efficient

4. Security Consultant

  • Average annual salary: 85,600 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 111,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Assess potential threats and implement preventive measures
  • Design and improve data security systems
  • Create emergency plans for data breaches or data loss

5. Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer

  • Average annual salary: 93,000 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 107,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Create and maintain website platforms
  • Manage cloud infrastructure and system administration
  • Prioritise and repair problems quickly

Young female Computer Science student removes the hard drive from a computer case 6. Cyber Security Engineer

  • Average annual salary: 94,800 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 106,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Analyse and maintain the security of computer systems & networks
  • Test and screen security software, like firewalls or data encryption programmes
  • Identify potential threats and create preventive plans and policies
  • Monitor and report security incidents

7. Security Engineer

  • Average annual salary: 95,600 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 102,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Design new security software and infrastructure
  • Test existing infrastructure for vulnerabilities and keep it up to date
  • Maintain the integrity and security of data and data transfers

8. Full Stack Software Developer

  • Average annual salary: no data available
  • Mid-career salary: 98,700 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Work with both the front and back end of websites or applications
  • Maintain the quality and responsiveness of software and applications
  • Organise and maintain code integrity

9. Computer Scientist

  • Average annual salary: 78,300 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 93,900 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Create and maintain software & applications to improve the efficiency of organisations
  • Use applications and algorithms to find solutions to complex problems
  • Come up with research ideas, implement plans, and analyse research results

10. Software Developer

  • Average annual salary: 70,600 USD
  • Mid-career salary: 91,300 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Develop and debug various applications and software for clients
  • Test software and create detailed reports

Entry-level Computer Science jobs

The jobs mentioned above might attract your attention, but that’s not where most Computer Science graduates begin. We all have to start our careers somewhere, so we thought it would be useful to mention some of the most common entry-level Computer Science jobs.

Computer User Support Specialist

  • Average annual salary: 48,500 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Diagnose and troubleshoot hardware and software problems
  • Help clients install software and operate computers or cloud applications
  • Log and escalate support calls, emails

Web developer

  • Average annual salary: 59,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Talk with clients and establish the needs and preferences of a website design
  • Design, code, and modify websites
  • Develop user-friendly pages that are easy to navigate

Software Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

  • Average annual salary: 69,000 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Use test automation software to assess the functionality and user-friendliness of products
  • Estimate product performance, run tests and compare the results with the initial estimations
  • Use bug tracking systems to document problems

Computer System Analyst

  • Average annual salary: 67,800 USD

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Research and evaluate new technologies
  • Identify the hardware and software needs of organisations
  • Analyse costs and benefits
  • Tests systems and train new users

Computer Science professor examines work done by his students Benefits of careers in Computer Science

You’ve already seen that Computer Science jobs offer great salaries that increase as you gain more work experience and develop your skills. Now, let’s look at other benefits that make a career in Computer Science worth it.

Jobs opportunities and career stability

Yes, you probably already know this, but we need to mention it: a Computer Science job is a safe job. How do we know?

It’s simple. We’ve done our research, and here’s what the data from popular study destinations shows:

Freedom to work from anywhere

Code is code. Some write it better, some worse, but once you learn a programming language, you’re able to use in any country or even work remotely from home. The same thing is true for hardware. Despite various manufacturers coming up with different designs, the computer parts like processors, RAM sticks, hard disks, SSDs, or graphic cards, are the same everywhere.

Some jobs will even cover the costs of your travel and accommodation when your work requires providing evaluation or on-site maintenance to a client from a different country. I don’t know about you but travelling for free while doing what I love and being well-paid sounds like a dream come true.

Share your work with the world

You can make your code and software open source. This means anyone can see the code, make changes and add tweaks to create their version or make the tool work better according to their needs. Great examples of open source software include VLC Media Player, Mozilla Firefox, Audacity, LibreOffice (free alternative to Microsoft Office), and Chromium, which is the basis of Google Chrome and other browsers.

The most important open source code is Linux, which is used to run millions of websites, servers, and even the Android operating system. How important is Linux? The people at ZDNet couldn’t have said it better: “Every Facebook post you make, every YouTube video you watch, every Google search you run, is done on Linux.“

Now you understand the importance of open source, and a career in Computer Science allows you to become a contributor to this amazing community, which has a huge impact on our society.

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Disadvantages of careers in Computer Science

Prone to health problems

Due to the nature of Computer Science jobs, you’re likely to spend most of your working hours sitting in a chair, typing. This can lead to various health problems like:

Although you often hear that exercise is a great way to avoid them, new data shows that working out is not enough to combat the negative effects of a sedentary life. That’s why you need to find a way to include physical activity during work.

Working overtime

It’s not uncommon for Computer Scientists to work longer hours, especially when they need to fix serious bugs or oversee a server transition or maintenance tasks. Cyber Security specialists, for example, always need to be prepared for receiving an emergency call no matter what time it is.

Working in a different time zone

If you work remotely, you might have a schedule that involves working during the night and sleeping for most of the day. While this is great for night owls, it’s not ideal for every Computer Scientist. In time, this schedule can affect your social life and can make taking care of other aspects of your life more difficult.

Popular study destinations for a degree in Computer Science

If you’re now certain that you want to be a computer scientist, we’ve listed below some of the most popular countries where international students choose to do Computer Science degrees. If a different country is closer to you’re heart, feel free to use our portals, Bachelorsportal & Mastersportal and find the degree you want.

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