New CS Grads’ Wages Down 9%

I’ve often cited data from NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a widely-respected organization that tracks the salaries of new graduates.  I believe most universities are members.  It has always shown in the past few years that Computer Science graduate salaries have basically been flat — up 2% one year, down 3% the next.  But the current figures show the biggest one-year change I can ever recall seeing — and it is downward.

The 2014 mean starting salary for new CS bachelor’s degree grads was $67,300, according to NACE.  But the organization’s projection for 2015 is only $61,287.  If that projection holds, it will be a drop of 9%.

Yet the tech industry continues to say, “We’re desperate to hire.”  And Congress continues to believe them; so does President Obama.

As I’ve said, the new grads still have it pretty good.  No, they are NOT all immediately being snapped up by employers, but their situation is still far better than those who are 10 or 15 years out of school.  I’ve written about this many times, but I direct your attention to an article in Venturebeat, sarcastically titled “Disposable Employees May Be the Tech Industry’s Greatest Achievement.”  Lots of interesting layoff data in there.

The industry would counter, of course, that those being laid off don’t have the background to work on the latest technology.  I’ve explained before why that’s a red herring — the short answer is that if only young new grads have that background, how is it that they acquired that knowledge from old guys like me? — but again, Congress believes it (or claims to).


5 thoughts on “New CS Grads’ Wages Down 9%

  1. The “latest technology” is a farce. It’s like the market for psychology books, which are out-of-date in 6 months, because the terms are redefined overnight, and the “rules” are changed on a whim. Windoze is still Windoze, no matter what kind of juggling they do with menu options or pretty icons. They are just milking the cash cow on the sales side, and they want cheap labor on the production side. How else to make a profit of tens of billions a year for selling 1’s and 0’s?


  2. The wage decline trumps the age argument as well as the H-1B argument.

    My own little IT niche seems to have collapsed, wages have been declining on the order of 10% per year for at least two years – in a long-term trend of real decline over twenty years, of course, with occasional blips up to merely flat or up a couple of percent. Some of this has been a “maturing of the field” that the H-1B has played into.

    But, I will note also the paradoxically declining standards in the field. Want yet another example? The job board DICE just put up a new site design a few weeks ago. They’ve thrown away half their features. They use a full-screen design optimized for a tiny smart-phone screen. And best of all, it doesn’t work. If you post a resume there, it will be marked non-searchable within an hour. So employers must be getting zero results to searches. This was reported, then fixed, then broken again, has remained broken so far for weeks. Now and then the site fails entirely, some possibly because they are deploying “fixes” mid-day, and lack a “please stand by” function. Other bugs are evident in even a few minutes of clicking around other functions, broken links rather than jobs or employers, etc.

    I don’t know that the work is being done (and managed!) by low skill H-1B, but I do know it’s incompetent and will bet that the wages of the developers involved are horribly low.


  3. Does anyone remember the Business Week comparison of salaries in 1999 and 2005 for verious computer-related occupations? It would be interesting to find the source and bring it up to date.


  4. > As I’ve said, the new grads still have it pretty good. No, they are NOT all immediately being snapped up by employers, but their situation is still far better than those who are 10 or 15 years out of school.

    Yes, I’ve long suspected that one reason that employers like young workers is because, in certain ways, they can be fooled once or twice. I think that most every young programmer buys the idea that, if they work hard and put in lots of extra hours, their talent and dedication will be recognized and they will be rewarded in wealth and recognition. When they figure out that this is not the case, they invariably start to pace themselves and ask for present compensation rather than a promise of great future compensation. Many companies are then tempted to move on to the next group of young, naive workers.

    This is one reason why new grads may have it a bit better than experienced workers. Still, H-1B workers have the additional advantage that they are likely to work for less and are tied to the company. Also, as can be seen in the third chart and tables at [](, over 80 percent of new H-1B hires are under 35. New grads have their youth working for them but so do the great majority of H-1B workers.


  5. I am glad I got out with hopefully enough money to avoid being a Walmart greeter. I was there when the whole fraud known as H-1B started. I remember an IEEE article where some engineer put in a request for an H-1B for minimum wage and it was accepted. In those days the only requirement was filling out the paperwork correctly. All of the changes since then have only made it about 10% harder than a complete lie to shaft American tech workers.

    If anybody thinks anybody in Congress is fooled by what is going one, think again. These guys know every loop-hole in these bills because most of them are put there purposely. The goal is to fool the public just long enough to push something through in the middle of the night.

    Unfortunately, you can’t believe how many idiots there are in the so-called conservative camp who believe what any businessman will tell them. I don’t know how many times I have tried to rebut somebodies claim of “Americans aren’t getting the right education” or “Americans aren’t keeping up” nonsense. That stupid belief is widespread in the public at large.


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