Top Salaries: The Highest Earning Engineering and Computer Science Degrees

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Computer Science and engineering are areas of study that have increasingly shown a high return on investment. Since 2005, the number of students enrolled in computer science programs has doubled, according to the Office of Institutional Research. According to 2008-2018 projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be jobs awaiting every newly minted computer science graduate.

Clearly, computer science and engineering continue to be areas of study where students get a very good bang for their buck. In fact, the latest data from the Computing Research Association has shown that enrollment rates in undergraduate computer science programs keep increasing– last year alone showed a 9.6% rise.  Naturally, these sectors have jobs in demand and colleges and universities are putting forth strong efforts to diversify their student body by having strong curriculums that play to interdisciplinary learning and programs that help balance their gender ratio.

From having mentorship programs and professional development initiatives to close the gender gap in engineering to creating avenues by which students can optimize their goals, engineering programs are preparing their graduates to have great experience and earn good salaries along the way.

As part of NerdScholar’s grad survey series, this week we highlight the schools that earn graduates the top ten salaries in engineering and computer science. Additionally, we also highlight programs that have helped students get unique experiences and specific efforts to help women—who currently make up an average of about 20 percent of all engineering and computer science schools–close the gender gap in such male dominated fields. Here are the schools who help their graduates earn top salaries:


1) Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science: $84,409

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science was the top earner for its graduates—an impressive $84,409. Drawing from multiple disciplines—including engineering, science, mathematics, social sciences, linguistics, and design—SCS aims to explore and address the issues and opportunities created by computer technology.

Under the leadership of President Subra Suresh, who was a former director of the National Science Foundation and Dean of the College of Engineering at MIT, faculty have the resources to not only teach based on their vast expertise in multiple fields but also help guide students through new research and experiential learning.

Furthermore, women at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Engineering have amazing mentoring opportunities. From their undergraduate Sister’s Program, which organizes social events and matches first year students with junior and senior women, to their grad/undergrad sisters project, women have a strong and tight knit community to call home at CMU. The Women @SCS is helping to close the gap for women in engineering.

2) Stanford University’s School of Engineering: $74,466

The second top salary comes from Stanford University’s School of Engineering at $74,466. To face the worlds’ most pressing global problems, students and faculty get to continue laying the groundwork for some of the most transformative technological innovations in engineering, computer science, medicine, and business.

Mehran Sahami, Associate Chair for Education in the Computer Science Department at Stanford put it this way, “At Stanford, the goal of an education in engineering is to train the next generation of leaders in the field. We want students to have a solid understanding of engineering principles, while also seeing the bigger picture of how engineers can help solve some of the world’s pressing problems. Tackling big problems successfully involves creativity, working with others, and understanding how engineering skills can be applied in novel ways. Those are characteristics we seek to instill in our students as part of a world-class education in engineering.”

To encourage more women to gain leadership in the engineering sector, the Stanford Society of Women Engineers was founded providing career and academic development opportunities for their female collegiate members. It is one of many women focused engineering organizations at Stanford. They give the opportunity to do community outreach through the SWE mentorship program where young girls have the chance to meet a Stanford engineer to motivate and guide them in their pursuit of an engineering career.

3) Harvey Mudd College: $68,833

Committed to providing their engineering undergraduates with broad-based, hands-on experience in engineering analysis, Harvey Mudd College is known to produce the most competent engineers. Their curriculum is heavily focused on an interdisciplinary approach to problem solve.

To give students top-notch research and design experience, they created the Clinic program, which brings together teams of juniors and seniors—which work under faculty advisors and other external engineers—to solve real problems for clients in the public and private sector.

Furthermore, this year’s incoming class will be 52 percent women. As Harvey Mudd’s first woman president, Maria Klawe aims to tip the balance to be 50/50 and they are very well on their way to do accomplish this goal.

4) University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering & Applied Science: $66,483

At the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, students could expect to link real-world practice with theory. Their curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts, surrounded by extensive and rigorous professional preparation.

For example, one of their most well known efforts to give students real experience is their Senior Design Project Competition in which seniors compete to assemble and design a project to “succinctly articulate [their] design project’s objective, strategy and results to a diverse audience.” The judges represent a very diverse set of technology disciplines and they force students to be innovators and entrepreneurs.

Currently composed of 32% of students who are women, the engineering department at the University of Pennsylvania has the “Advancing Women in Engineering” program, which is dedicated to develop, enhance, and create a supportive environment for women at Penn to pursue their engineering goals. Students can get the mentoring and support they need to study and grow while also having opportunities to collaborate with peers and faculty. Additionally, they help women to great scholarship opportunities.

5) Cornell University’s College of Engineering: $66,235

Cornell University’s College of Engineering encourages innovative education and having a broad education, specifically in the liberal arts due to the fact that in today’s global economy, engineers work with people of many different cultures in addition to community groups, business people, and politicians. Graduates here earn an average of $66,235.

The top engineering program among Ivy League universities, Cornell offers resources like the Engineering Leadership Program in which students can attend workshops spanning from setting goals and leadership ethics to team communication, innovation and creativity.

Sara Hernandez, Head of Diversity Programs at the College of Engineering, put it this way, “Creating access to opportunities for students to network with and learn from alumni and key figures in the public and private sector is a critical component to many of our programs. Our Biennial Empowering Women in Science and Engineering (EWISE) Symposium, which focuses on the professional development of women graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and junior faculty, is one such example that provides these types of opportunities.”

All students learn how to become leaders and experts in their chosen fields and use their skills to solve pressing societal problems. For example, some students can also get involved in their “Think Big, Live Green” campaign meant to decrease waste and improve energy consumption on campus.

6) Georgia Tech Institute of Technology’s College of Computing: $66,000

Georgia Tech’s College of Computing’s goal is to define the foundations and push the frontiers of computing. Through their Algorithms & Randomness Center and ThinkTank (ARC), students can be part of exciting research that helps them solve real-world problems.

They also have a great network of industry partners who bring to the table real world problems and a data and evaluation environment in which students can both solve problems and get experience. It is not unusual for companies in such partnerships to hire students involved in this program—including Boeing, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo and many others. In other words, career opportunities for Georgia Tech Students start the moment they start their degrees here.

7) Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering: $65,616

Students at the Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering also made it to the top 10 list making $65,616. Offering a rigorous and technical education, CMU’s college of engineering makes sure that students have a robust education to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

One of CMU’s biggest points of pride is providing students with a global experience. To this end, they have opportunities for students to go abroad and work on engineering projects through the CIT Travel Grant Program.

Additionally, their many undergraduate research opportunities give students an edge when applying to jobs after graduation. One of the biggest benefits of research is getting to know yourself and determine what fields interest you most. Sometimes that research can mean that you’ll go to graduate school or sometimes that means that your job prospects are enhanced. Women can also enjoy participating in many programs—such as the Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)– to foster their growth and aspirations in engineering.

8) Montana Tech’s School of Mines: $64,434

Among all the top salaries, Montana Tech School of Mines earned their graduates $64,434.  In fact, it has been considered the Best Lifetime ROI for its students in the state of Montana.

Their undergraduate research programs, specifically the Research Assistance Mentorship Program–which funds small research teams consisting of undergraduates and faculty members—are a great opportunity for students to get experiential experience.

As a leader for undergraduate engineering education and research in the Pacific Northwest, Montana Tech looks to diversify their student body in engineering. Their Society of Women Engineers provides support and encouragement in addition to plenty of scholarship opportunities.

9) Colorado School of Mines: $63,739

Colorado’s School of Mines helps their graduates earn an average of $63,739, according to their latest data.  They are devoted to public research in engineering and applied science. Their mission is to develop a “curriculum and research program geared towards responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources. “

Their heavy emphasis on the environment is reflected on the needs of society. “The world faces a crisis in balancing resource availability with environmental protection and Mines’ programs are central to the solutions.”

In terms of diversifying their student body, Colorado’s School of Mines has the largest section of “Society of Women Engineers” (SWE) in the nation with a whopping 395 members. They are committed to not only providing support for women in engineering, but jumpstarting careers due to their corporate-like officer structure where women are given many leadership opportunities.

10) Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering: $63,000

Georgia Tech was the second school to make it to our top-ten list twice, earning their engineering students $63,000. Their College of Engineering offers more than 50 degree programs and has satellite campuses around the world.  Students can study specialized fields in aerospace engineering, industrial systems in engineering and many more.

Their Women in Engineering  (WIE) Program helps motivate women to thrive in the field, increase female enrollments in engineering, and ensure the highest rate of retention. They also are involved in the Atlanta community as they could participate in their Mentors and Mentees (M&M) program where they can be team leaders or mentors to younger college students.

Top Salary Ranking

University

Undergraduate College

Specialty 

Overall Avg. Salary 

1 Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science Computer Science  $84,409.33
2 Stanford University Engineering Engineering  $74,466.50
3 Harvey Mudd College Engineering|Science  $68,833.33
4 University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering & Applied Science Engineering  $66,483.00
5 Cornell University College of Engineering Engineering  $66,235.00
6 Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing Computer Science  $66,000.00
7 Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Institute of Technology (College of Engineering) Engineering  $65,616.05
8 Montana Tech School of Mines & Engineering Engineering  $64,434.50
9 Colorado School of Mines Engineering  $63,739.25
10 Georgia Institute of Technology College of Engineering Engineering  $63,000.00
11 University of Notre Dame College of Engineering Engineering  $61,781.67
12 Lehigh University College of Engineering & Applied Science Engineering|Science  $60,647.35
13 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineering  $60,000.53
14 South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Engineering  $59,709.50
15 Michigan State University College of Engineering Engineering  $59,681.00
16 Ohio State University College of Engineering Engineering  $59,492.63
17 Purdue University College of Engineering Engineering  $58,739.83
18 Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering Engineering  $57,140.50
19 University of Wyoming College of Engineering & Applied Science Engineering  $57,047.00
20 Clemson University College of Engineering & Science Engineering|Science  $56,487.44

**Data collected from individual’s colleges’ self-reported data by NerdScholar**

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