Who Earns More Software Engineer or Computer Science?

Tyler Yates

When it comes to choosing a career in the tech industry, two of the most popular options are software engineering and computer science. While both fields may seem similar at first glance, there are significant differences between them.

One of the most common questions asked by aspiring tech professionals is which field earns more – software engineering or computer science? Let’s explore this topic in detail.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering involves the application of engineering principles to design, develop, and maintain software systems. Software engineers use various programming languages and tools to create software that meets the specific needs of a business or organization. They work closely with other tech professionals such as developers, testers, and project managers to ensure that the software is functional, reliable, and user-friendly.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is a broader field that encompasses various areas such as programming, algorithms, data structures, computer architecture, and artificial intelligence. Computer scientists use their knowledge and skills to solve complex problems related to computing systems. They develop new algorithms and tools that can be used in various industries such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Salary Comparison

When it comes to salary comparison between software engineers and computer scientists, it’s important to note that both fields offer lucrative career opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of how much you can expect to earn in each field:

  • According to Glassdoor.com, the average base pay for a software engineer in the United States is $92,046 per year.
  • The same website lists the average base pay for a computer scientist in the United States as $84,863 per year.

It’s worth noting that these figures are just averages and can vary depending on factors such as location, company size, industry sector, and level of experience.

Factors That Affect Salary

Several factors can impact the salary of a software engineer or computer scientist. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • Experience: As with any profession, experience plays a critical role in determining salary. Generally, the more experience you have, the higher your salary will be.
  • Industry: The industry you work in can also influence your earning potential.

    For example, software engineers who work in finance or healthcare tend to earn more than those who work in e-commerce or social media.

  • Location: Salaries can vary significantly depending on where you live and work. Tech hubs such as San Francisco and New York City typically offer higher salaries than smaller cities or rural areas.
  • Education: While not always necessary, having a higher education degree such as a master’s or Ph.D., can increase your earning potential.


In conclusion, both software engineering and computer science offer excellent career opportunities with high earning potential. While software engineers currently earn slightly more on average, this can vary depending on various factors such as experience, industry sector, location, and education level. Ultimately, the best choice between these two fields depends on your interests and career goals.