Doctorate in Computer Science Salary
A computer science degree can lead to diverse careers. Graduates may work in software development, data science, database administration, or software engineering. Earning a doctorate in computer science can help professionals increase their earning potential. So, what's the average doctorate in computer science salary?
Most computer science career paths for doctoral graduates pay six-figure salaries. On average, professionals with a doctorate in computer science earn $129,000 annually, according to Feb. 2022 Payscale data. Senior data scientists, computer scientists, and lead software developers all report salaries of over $100,000 per year. Strong technical and soft skills can help computer science doctoral graduates increase their earning potential. Choosing a high-paying career path can also lead to a higher salary.
Our guide covers the benefits of earning a doctorate in computer science. This page also explains how to get hired in the field and includes potential computer science salary levels.
Questions About Computer Science Careers
What Is the Highest-Paying Job in Computer Science?
Computer science salary levels are highest for computer and information systems managers. These professionals earn a median $151,150 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Computer scientists earn nearly $126,830.
Do Certifications Increase Computer Science Salary Potential?
Tech professionals can increase their earning potential with certifications. A graduate degree also qualifies professionals for higher-paying roles like computer scientist, data scientist, and computer and information systems manager.
Do Computer Science Jobs Pay Well?
Many computer science salary levels remain above the national average. Computer and IT professionals earn a median $91,250 annually. This figure more than doubles the median $41,950 for all occupations.
Is a Doctorate in Computer Science Worth It?
A doctorate in computer science can pay off. Doctoral degree-holders can pursue lucrative roles like computer scientist, senior data scientist, and computer and information systems manager.
Why Get a Doctorate in Computer Science?
The degree prepares learners for competitive, high-paying careers. Like other science and engineering degrees, graduates can pursue many computer science career paths.
During a doctoral program, computer science students specialize in areas like machine learning, information security, or computational theory. Many schools offer their computer science doctoral programs online. This flexibility lets enrollees continue working while earning their degree.
How to Get Hired in the Computer Science Field
Computer science professionals work in a growing field. The BLS projects jobs for computer and IT professionals to grow 13% from 2020-2030.
Many entry-level computer science jobs only require a bachelor's degree. However, a graduate degree can help professionals move into senior-level roles and take on more responsibilities. Some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree or higher. Several other computer science career paths require a graduate degree, including computer scientist and computer science professor.
Major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple hire applicants with a doctorate in computer science. Tech companies often look for strong technical skills along with soft skills like interpersonal communication and teamwork.
Employers also typically prioritize creativity, independence, and strategic risk-taking. By focusing on hard and soft skills during a doctoral program, graduates can launch or advance their computer science career.
Computer Science Career Paths
A graduate degree in computer science prepares professionals for diverse computer science career paths. With a doctorate in computer science, graduates may work as data scientists, computer scientists, or computer science professors. They may also work in software development, software engineering, or database administration.
See below for some potential careers, including computer science salary levels.
These professionals analyze raw data and draw useful information from that data. In tech, data scientists often work with large data sets. They use techniques like data modeling, data visualization, and data mining. Data scientists earn a median $100,910 annually. The BLS projects jobs for these scientists to grow 31% from 2020-2030.
Prospective data scientists often need a graduate degree. A doctoral program that emphasizes machine learning, big data, and natural language processing helps graduates launch data science careers. With a doctorate, data scientists can increase their earning potential. The highest-paid data scientists make over $167,000 per year.
Database administrators manage organizational systems to store data. They create, secure, and upgrade databases. Database administrators earn a median $98,860 annually. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 8% from 2020-2030.
These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree. Earning a graduate degree can help them break into the field and stand out in the job market. Some employers prefer candidates with a graduate degree in computer science or information technology. Graduate degree-seekers study database management, data science, and database languages.
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists create new programming languages, algorithms, and technologies. These professionals earn a median $126,830 annually. The BLS projects jobs for these scientists to grow 22% from 2020-2030.
Computer scientists need at least a master's degree in computer science. Some employers prefer a doctorate.
Software developers design software applications, including mobile apps. They need a background in programming with experience in developing and testing programs. Many software developers complete an internship to gain hands-on experience. These professionals earn a median $110,140 annually. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 22% from 2020-2030.
Entry-level software developers need a bachelor's degree. Earning a doctorate can help professionals qualify for senior-level and leadership roles. For example, many employers reserve lead software developer jobs for doctoral degree-holders. While this computer science career path does not require a doctorate, the degree can help developers advance their careers.
Computer Science Professor
Computer science professors teach undergraduate and graduate classes in computer programming, software development, and operating systems. These professionals need a doctorate. During a doctoral program, students gain advanced skills and often gain teaching experience. Some doctoral degree-holders complete a postdoctoral research fellowship.
Academic careers typically pay less than those in the tech industry. The median doctorate in computer science salary for computer science professors is $80,560. The highest-paid college professors make nearly $180,000 per year.
Software engineers design and test software. This computer science career path overlaps with software developer. However, software engineers may bring a stronger background in computer engineering. Software engineers earn a median $110,140 annually. The BLS projects more than 400,000 new jobs for these professionals from 2020-2030.
Aspiring software engineers need a computer science or computer engineering degree. They often complete an internship. A graduate degree can help professionals move into senior roles and increase their earning potential.
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects create data communication networks for organizations. They bring a strong tech background along with an understanding of business technology needs. These professionals earn a median $116,780 annually. The BLS projects about 9,000 new jobs for computer network architects from 2020-2030.
Professionals pursuing this computer science career path need at least a bachelor's degree. Those with an advanced degree may stand out on the job market and command higher salaries. A doctorate in computer science provides the network security and database design experience necessary for leadership roles.