Computer Occupations: Salary Overview
The term “computer occupation” can refer to a variety of different professions, including computer and information research scientists, computer programmers, computer support specialists, software developers, or web developers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 as of May 2019- higher than the national median wage of all occupations, which was $39,810.
However, since this field includes a variety of different professions each one with is own job description and education requirements, salaries vary widely depending on the job title and the area of expertise.
Salary by Occupation
According to the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best-paid computer occupation is the computer and information research occupation- profession with a median annual wage calculated at $122,840.
Computer and information research specialists are the ones responsible for inventing and designing innovative ways of using existing technology.
The second-highest median annual wage was reported by computer network architects- an occupation that is remunerated, on average, with $112,690 per year.
Network architects are the ones who design and build data communication networks.
Another profession that is well-remunerated is software developer- profession with a median pay of $107,510 in 2019.
Software developers create systems and applications that help computer users perform a variety of tasks.
The lowest median pay was reported by computer support specialists- profession remunerated with $54,760, on average.
Computer support specialists have the role of offering help and advice to computer users.
The average annual wage reported by web developers was $73,760 as of May of 2019.
Database administrators reported a median annual wage of $93,750.
Web developers design and create websites while database administrators use specialized software to organize a large amount of data.
Information security analysts, the ones who carry out security measures to protect computer networks and systems, reported a median annual wage of $99,730.
Computer programmers (the ones who write and test code) reported a median annual wage of $86,550 as of May 2019.
For each computer-related occupation, salaries are also influenced by the worker’s level of experience, education, the industry of employment, and the region.
Computer and information research specialists, for example, can earn anywhere between less than $70,000 and more than $190,000 per year while salaries for computer network architects range between less than $65,000 and more than $170,000.
The wages reported by computer support specialists vary between less than $32,000 and more than $89,000 annually.
Salaries for some occupations also vary depending on the workers’ area of expertise.
For example, developers of system software reported a median annual wage of $110,000 while the median salary for application developers was $101,790.
Computer Occupation Salary by Industry
Salaries for computer occupations vary widely depending on the industry of employment.
For example, computer and information research scientists who worked for the federal executive branch earned $108,160 per year, on average, while those who work for companies in the computer system design and related services field earned $137,450 per year on average.
The highest-paying industry for this profession in 2019 were manufacturers of navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments- a field where this profession was remunerated, on average, with $172,810 annually.
The biggest employer for system software developers was the industry of computer systems design and related services- where the average annual wage for this profession was $112,810.
The highest average annual wage was reported by system software developers who worked in the field of advertising, public relations, and related services- an industry where the average annual wage for this profession was $131,410.
In conclusion, salaries for computer occupations vary widely depending on the field of expertise and the job title and some earn close to $200,000 per year while others make less than $50,000 annually.
If you want to start a career in this field, then it would be best if you earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science because this will qualify you for better-paid positions, such as a network architect, computer programmer, or software developer.
As a software developer, it is also important to know more than one programming language, because this will increase your earning and employment prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Computer Occupations. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.