Computer Scientist Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about computer scientist salaries and responsibilities as you grow in this field.

[Featured image] A computer scientist is working at an office with a laptop on their desk.

Computer scientists are responsible for using technology to solve problems, researching how computers work, and having an understanding of theoretical frameworks. As technology continues to evolve, the demand for computer scientists continues to rise.

Let’s take a closer look at how much computer scientists typically earn, as well as some of the factors that can influence your salary.

What is a computer scientist? 

A computer scientist applies principles of computer science to design, develop, and analyze computer algorithms and software systems. The role requires a range of tasks, including designing and testing computer systems, writing code, analyzing algorithms, and researching new technologies.

The primary focus of a computer scientist is to find efficient solutions to complex problems using technology. Computer scientists may also work with teams of software developers, designers, and testers to ensure software applications meet the needs of their users.

How much do computer scientists make? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information scientists in the US earn a median salary of $136,620 [1]. Your salary and total compensation depends on a variety of factors, including the company you work for and the industry you choose.

Read more: How to Negotiate Your Salary: 10 Tips to Earn More

Job outlook

The future job outlook for computer scientists is strong according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer science jobs are projected to increase by 23 percent from 2022 to 2032. This is well above the average job outlook for all occupations, which is only projected to be 5 percent.


Factors that affect salary

Earning potential for computer scientists is dependent on factors, including education level, industry you work in, location, and experience level. The following sections cover the different salary ranges depending on each factor. 


Computer scientists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or some other related field to be qualified for positions.

According to Zippia, 66 percent of computer scientists have a bachelor’s degree, 19 percent hold a master’s, and 6.7 percent have an associates [3]. Relevant majors include computer science, mathematics, and electrical engineering. 

Read more: Your Guide to the Master's in Computer Science

Linked image with text "See how your Coursera Learning can turn into bachelor's degree credit at University of London"


Different industries pay varying amounts to computer scientists. For example, technology and finance are two industries that pay more on average in the computer science field. The table below lists the top five industries for average computer scientist salary [2].

IndustryAverage Annual Salary
Information Technology$144,703
Financial Services$141,878


Location is another big factor that determines your salary due to variances in cost of living between cities, as well as the demand in certain locations. Computer scientists working in major cities tend to make more money on average, with Seattle, New York, and San Francisco being some of the top options. Check out the top-earning cities for computer scientists below [2]:

  • San Francisco, CA: $157,547

  • Seattle, WA: $176,412

  • New York, NY: $146,292

  • Washington, DC: $170,586


The earning potential for a computer scientist increases with the amount of experience and years worked in the industry. With more relevant work experience on your resume, you can expect a higher salary for your expertise. Here are some annual base salary ranges for computer scientists in the US according to years of experience [2]: 

  • 1-3 years experience: $96,140

  • 4-6 years experience: $113,040

  • 7-9 years experience: $123,058

  • 10-14 years experience: $135,275

Elevate your computer scientist salary

Check out the Computer Science: Programming With a Purpose course offered by Princeton University. It covers basic programming concepts like conditional loops, arrays, and input and output, providing a purpose-driven introduction to computer science.

If you already have basic prior experience in the computer science field, consider enrolling in Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization offered by the University of Illinois. This intermediate-level Specialization takes around three months to complete.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Computer and Information Research Scientists,” Accessed February 15, 2024.

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