Technology Grad Starting Salaries Drop, but Top the List

By Don E. Sears  |  Posted 2010-07-14

Buck up, recent computer science bachelor's degree holders. You are earning (or have the potential to earn) more than your peers by a nice margin.

Computer and engineering graduates are receiving some of the highest starting salaries at present, although year-over-year starting salaries for these groups are down, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Summer 2010 Salary Survey.

Information science graduates are averaging $55,084, which is a 5.7 percent increase from 2009. Computer science slipped slightly by .5 percent to $61,112; engineering graduates-who had fared really well at the beginning of the 2008 recession and even in to 2009-have seen a bit of a decline, also seeing a .5 percent decrease, to $58,970.

"Within the engineering fields, chemical engineering graduates enjoyed a 1.1 percent increase, for an average offer of $65,628, but many of the disciplines-including computer engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering-saw their average offers decrease," NACE said July 8. "Computer engineering graduates saw the biggest decrease in the group: Their average offer fell 2.9 percent to $59,917. Electrical engineering graduates' average salary offer dropped 1.2 percent to $59,381 and the average offer to mechanical engineering graduates dipped less than 1 percent to $58,457."

Graduates in technology-related fields are faring much better than accounting, business, liberal arts and social sciences graduates, however. Accounting graduates are garnering starting salaries of $48,691 while business administration graduates have lost a chunk of starting-salary change and are only taking in $43,879. Liberal arts graduates are even worse off, taking in only $34,747.

The only business-centric areas that saw slight increases were economics, up 2.1 percent to $50,885, and finance, up .8 percent to $50,356. English majors saw an increase of 7 percent to $37,154, and sociology graduates saw an increase of 5.7 percent to $35,173.

No doubt the economy is dragging down most starting salaries, giving an across-the-board average of $48,661-down 1.3 percent from 2009.

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