Computer Science Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about computer science salaries for various computer science professionals. You’ll see how a computer science salary can be influenced by factors like industry, location, education, certifications, and company.

[Featured image] A computer programmer is working on a laptop and holding a VR set.

As a computer scientist, you are needed almost anywhere computers are used. With this in mind, let’s examine computer scientists' salaries and the various factors that can influence compensation, such as education level, location, and certifications.

What does a computer scientist do?

Computer scientists are experts in working with computers and technology. They study how data is processed, stored, and communicated in order to apply it to software and programs. 

What jobs are available for a computer scientist?

Computer scientists work as computer hardware engineers in computer programming, research, analytics, and information security, to name a few. Jobs in the computer science field cover a vast spectrum, as technology accounts for a large part of our lives.

In Canada, computer scientist graduates typically start out in the following roles:

  • Computer programmers

  • Interactive media developers

  • Software engineers and designers

  • Information systems analysts 

  • Web designers and developers

  • User support technicians

  • Computer network technicians

Computer scientists automate systems, create the processes in our smartphones, and fly us to the moon—given these accomplishments, the possibilities are nearly endless. Since computers are used in almost every business, typical employers are information technology (IT) service providers. There are opportunities available in IT departments in all major organizations in various sectors, such as financial services, aerospace and defence, and manufacturing.

How much do computer science professionals make?

In Canada’s most recent census, computer scientists made a median salary of $69,884 [1]. According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a computer scientist in Canada is $77,050, with a range of $57,000 to $90,000 [2]. 

Factors affecting salary

Your computer scientist salary can be influenced by several factors, such as industry, experience, training, and location. Consider looking into the following to maximize your earnings.


Many Canadian colleges and polytechnic schools offer diploma or certificate programs that can give you a starting foundation in computer sciences. You might study:

  • Software development

  • Computer engineering technology

  • Cybersecurity

  • Computer systems technology

  • Information technology management

  • Computer network management

Having a degree in computer science or a related field could optimize your chances of getting hired. Depending on your goals, you may even want to pursue a graduate degree in computer science. However, a computer science degree is not always required to become a computer scientist. In such a fast-paced, evolving discipline, experience is valued highly, along with keeping up with trends and engaging in self-directed learning.  


Additional certifications in computer science can help you enter specialist positions, which often come with a higher earning potential. You can pursue several certifications, including ones that are vendor-specific, such as Microsoft and Cisco. Another option is vendor-neutral certificates, such as those offered by CompTIA and ISC. Vendor-neutral certifications can usually help you progress your career across companies rather than staying limited to a particular vendor. 

To maximize your salary in computer science without a degree, you may consider an entry-level certificate as a starting point.

Level of experience

Your experience level may also have an impact on your salary potential. Salaries in this field tend to increase with the number of years you’ve been a computer scientist and as you rise to more senior positions. According to, entry-level positions start at $46,235 per year, while more experienced workers earn $98,740 per year [3]. The following is an average breakdown according to PayScale [4]:

  • Less than 1 year experience: $58,555

  • 1–4 years experience: $64,162

  • 5–9 years experience: $84,625

  • 10–19 years experience: $87,049


Computer science salaries vary from employer to employer. This can be due to the industry and company size but also the area of expertise. Smaller firms with lower budgets tend to have wages that reflect this. A small company with a smaller budget will most likely prioritize positions that are most important to its organization. Rather than a whole IT department, a smaller company may have a CTO who has multiple roles until it has the budget to recruit more people. 

In Canada, according to Future Workforce, the top 10 employers for computer scientists are [5]:

  1. Google

  2. Apple

  3. Microsoft

  4. Amazon

  5. Facebook

  6. Netflix

  7. Tesla

  8. NASA

  9. Government of Canada

  10. Ubisoft 


In many industries, where you live and work can impact your earnings as well. When comparing average salaries, it’s important to consider the cost of living, as higher salaries often compensate for higher living costs.

According to, the highest-paying computer scientist jobs are typically in Nova Scotia at $103,304. Quebec and Alberta follow at $59,352 and $55,058, respectively, with British Columbia’s average at $70,189 [3].

Job title variations 

Computer science salaries also vary across the different roles. Here are some roles  that computer scientists may work in and their average salaries:

  • Computer programmer: $69,305

  • Database architect: $116,174

  • Computer systems analyst: $76,328

  • Information security analyst: $73,156

  • Computer network architect: $93,719

  • Computer and information systems manager: $106,584 

*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of April 2024.

Next steps

If you’re looking to get started as a computer scientist, explore a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science offered on Coursera. Consider this fully online Bachelor of Computer Science to help put you on the path to higher-paid opportunities.

If you have no experience in the field, you can consider taking an entry-level course in computer science as a starting point.

Article sources


Job Bank Canada. “Studying in Computer Science,” Accessed April 25, 2024.

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