Which Pays More Computer Science or Software Engineering?

Irene Olsen

When it comes to choosing a career in the tech industry, two of the most popular options are computer science and software engineering. Both fields are highly lucrative and offer a wide range of job opportunities.

However, many people wonder which one pays more. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two fields and see which one offers better earning potential.

Computer Science

Computer science is an academic field that covers the theory, design, and application of computers. It involves learning about various programming languages, algorithms, data structures, and computer hardware. Computer scientists often work in research and development teams to create new software or improve existing ones.

Job Opportunities

Computer science graduates can find jobs as software developers, database administrators, network architects, cybersecurity analysts, artificial intelligence/machine learning engineers, and more. They can work in a variety of industries such as finance, healthcare, government agencies or tech companies like Google or Microsoft.

Earning Potential

According to a report by Glassdoor.com (2021), the average base salary for computer scientists is around $83k per year in the United States. However, this number may vary depending on location, experience level and industry.

Software Engineering

Software engineering is a discipline that focuses on designing and creating software systems that are efficient, reliable and scalable. It combines principles from computer science with project management techniques to develop high-quality software products.

Software engineers can work in various roles such as full-stack developers, front-end developers or backend developers. They can also specialize in areas such as mobile app development or game development. Additionally they may find themselves working with different programming languages including Java or Python.

According to Glassdoor.com (2021), the average base salary for software engineers is around $92k per year in the United States.

Which Pays More?

When considering which field pays more, it is important to note that software engineering tends to offer slightly higher salaries on average. However, the difference in salary is not significant enough to make a definitive conclusion. Both computer science and software engineering offer high earning potential and have a strong demand in the job market.


In conclusion, both computer science and software engineering are excellent career choices for those interested in technology. While software engineering may offer slightly higher salaries on average, both fields have high earning potential and a wide range of job opportunities. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your interests and career goals.