Computer science major ranks No. 8 for salary potential

Engineering, math, science and technology alumni rank among highest paid graduates

PayScale ranked 129 college majors based on earning potential. Engineering, math, science and technology fields dominated the rankings.

In the working world, a degree in computer science is linked to enviable paychecks.

PayScale, which analyzes salary data, ranked 129 college majors based on earning potential. Engineering, math, science and technology fields dominated the highest rankings in the College Salary Report, which provides the median starting pay and median mid-career pay for the alumni of more than 1,000 schools.

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Engineers, in particular, nabbed seven of the top 10 spots. Petroleum engineering ranked first with a median starting salary of $103,000 and a mid-career median salary of $160,000.

Tech personnel made a strong showing, too, with eight computer-related majors appearing among the top 30 majors by salary potential. They are:

Computer Engineering (CE)Rank: 6

Starting salary: $65,300

Mid-career salary: $106,000

Computer Science (CS)Rank: 8

Starting salary: $59,800

Mid-career salary: $102,000

Software EngineeringRank: 12

Starting salary: $60,500

Mid-career salary: $99,300

Management Information Systems (MIS)Rank: 18

Starting salary: $53,800

Mid-career salary: $92,200

Electrical Engineering Technology (EET)Rank: 24

Starting salary: $57,900

Mid-career salary: $87,600

Computer Information Systems (CIS)Rank: 25Information Systems (IS)Rank: 26Information Technology (IT)Rank: 30

Starting salary: $50,800

Mid-career salary: $87,400

Starting salary: $51,900

Mid-career salary: $87,200

Starting salary: $49,900

Mid-career salary: $84,100

To come up with its rankings, PayScale surveyed 1.4 million civilian employees working full-time in the U.S. Only employees who possess a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees are included its College Salary Report.

The rankings are based on the median mid-career earnings of graduates. PayScale defines mid-career employees as those with at least 10 years of experience in their career or field. In the College Salary Report, the typical (median) mid-career employee is 42 years old and has 15 years of experience.

In addition to ranking the most lucrative majors, PayScale also analyzed which schools produce the highest-paid graduates in each major. In the computer science arena, California schools snared the first five spots in the ranking. (See related story, Top 20 colleges for computer science grads, based on earning potential)

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and reach her via email at abednarz@nww.com.

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