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CS, Engineering Jobs Top WSJ-PayScale Study

The starting salaries of engineering and computer science degrees top those of liberal arts majors by a margin of $22,000 from the top of the scale to the bottom, according to a Wall Street Journal/PayScale.com study that interviewed 11,000 workers. These workers graduated college between 1999 and 2010 with adjustments

The starting salaries of engineering and computer science degrees top those of liberal arts majors by a margin of $22,000 from the top of the scale to the bottom, according to a Wall Street Journal/PayScale.com study that interviewed 11,000 workers. These workers graduated college between 1999 and 2010 with adjustments made for inflation.

At the top of all majors was engineering clocking in at $56,000 right out of school. Compare that to the bottom of the 13 major categories--English--which showed starting salary of $34,000. In the No. 2 spot was computer science, just under engineering at $50K, followed by civil engineering at $49K.

Also in the $40K range were three other majors: accounting ($43K), economics ($42K) and finance ($41K). In the $30K to $40K range were seven majors including biology ($38K), business ($38K), marketing ($37K), political science ($36K), psychology ($35K), communications ($34K), and of course, English.

"The pay advantage of graduates with technical degrees often persists throughout their careers, said Fort Collins, Colo.-based career counselor Katy Piotrowski. Although liberal arts majors have a wide range of salaries, Ms. Piotrowski said that mid-career liberal arts majors she works with in northern Colorado make between $60,000 and $70,000. Those with technical degrees make at least $10,000 more.Technical majors even have an advantage in fields that are typically hotbeds for liberal arts majors, she said. "Technical degrees are valued in all fields. I've a seen a [company] communications department actually prefer that someone have an engineering degree rather than a communications degree," she said."