Many students go into computer science not from any particular passion for the subject, but because they see it as a lucrative career. Since this plays well with the current media bias of college as a private good, there are now “best” lists that look at Return on Investment for colleges in a purely financial way. For example, AffordableCollegesOnline.org reports in Top Colleges for Computer Science Majors – ROI
Computer science programs at top schools offer tremendous breadth and depth – a wide range of course options with the ability to study at the professional level. And while cutting-edge tech attracts many students, the chance to earn top dollar upon graduation may be a higher priority, especially with tuition and fees on the rise. But which computer science programs have a track record of producing high-earning graduates? Check out our list below to see which programs truly stand out.
I was interested to see that six of the top twenty colleges listed were University of California campuses and 9 of the top 20 were in California (probably because Silicon Valley provides high salaries and a fairly high probability of a windfall from a successful startup). Some people might be surprised at how high UCSC is on the list, but we have a pretty good CS department, and we’re really close to Silicon Valley.
- UC Berkeley
- University of Pennsylvania
- UC Santa Cruz
- University of San Francisco
- UC Santa Barbara
- UC Davis
- Stony Brook University
- Carnegie Mellon
- UC San Diego
- UC Irvine
- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
- University of Maryland-College Park
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Virginia Tech
- U. Washington (UW)
Of course, this list does not correspond particularly well with lists that track what undergrad colleges are best at producing students who go on to get CS PhDs or NSF Fellowships. A PhD is not good for maximizing financial return.
Some colleges appear on both lists (MIT, UCB, CMU, Stanford, UW, UCSD). We have visited or will visit 4 of those—we’ve not been able to schedule a trip to San Diego or Seattle yet.