Students looking for solid footing in the job market after college need look no further than a career in computer science, according to a recent survey assembled by USA Today.
By combining U.S. Census data with a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, USA Today has created a list of the five highest-paying degrees in higher education, and in the No. 2 spot is computer science — missing the top spot by less than $2,000 annually. A similar survey conducted in 2014 also had computer science in second place.
USA Today's Top 5 highest-paying degrees of 2015
- Engineering ($62,998 annually)
- Computer science ($61,287 annually)
- Math and sciences ($56,171 annually)
- Business ($51,508 annually)
- Agriculture and natural resources ($51,220 annually)
A career in computer science could land students in a number of job roles in the vastly expanding technology industry. But the success stories of mobile app creators and the big-ticket buyouts of services like WhatsApp have placed the programming career path in the limelight.
Millions of students are eager enough to get their foot in the door of coding that they've sought out programming courses independent of school. Online startups such as One Month and Codecademy have made names for themselves by offering basic courses in programming.
It's no secret that computer science has become one of the fastest-growing areas of higher education. An introduction to computer science course at Harvard College broke course registration records in the fall when 819 undergraduates signed up for the class. The timing for this thirst for knowledge couldn’t have been better. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected in late 2013 that 1.4 million new computer science-related jobs would be created by 2020, with only 400,000 graduates with the skills to fill those positions.
Events like Code.org’s Hour of Code are also beating the drum of computer science for the next generation of higher learners. Following 2014’s event, more than 70 million young coders from around the world have produced an hour’s worth of code each. The event, which coincided with Computer Science Education Week, had some help: President Barack Obama kicked it off with a video on YouTube.