What are the top non-tech jobs

Salary in IT: The highest paid jobs as a computer scientist

Who gets the highest starting salaries?

They are considered masters who would rather sit in front of the computer and solve equations than go to parties. Dudes who "speak" multiple programming languages ​​- nerds. Of course, these prejudices do not correspond to reality. But what is true: you can earn good money as an IT specialist.

Because the lack of specialists in the computer industry trembles some employers, IT professionals have a good chance. However, not all industries pay equally well. The location of the company as well as the specialization of the employee have an effect on the salary to be achieved. The more in demand your workforce is, the higher your salary can be.

What do computer scientists earn?

People with the highest income in the IT sector (but also rather the exception) are managing directors with an annual salary of around 168,000 euros. If you take on a management position, you can expect a significant increase in salary. The desired jobs and qualifications in the management area of ​​the IT sector are paid above average. But managers also have more responsibility and usually work more (weekly hours).

Personnel responsibility is reflected in the IT manager's remuneration: his average annual salary is around 111,000 euros. This is followed by IT project managers with around 66,000 euros and product managers with 62,500 euros. IT consultants and employees in the IT security sector earn around 59,000 euros per year. Java developers still go home pretty well paid at 47,500 euros. Anyone who works in the field of computer training earns around 47,600 euros. System and network administrators receive 38,500 euros and application administrators 36,000 euros.

It is important to note:
It is an average income, because factors such as the size of the company, the industry or the region still play a major role in the salary for computer scientists. This principle applies particularly to the size of a company: the larger the company, the higher the remuneration. A similar picture emerges for regional differences. It is also important to know in which higher-level industry you want to work: IT specialists in banking and finance, in the electricity industry, in consulting companies and in the automotive industry earn an above-average amount. Other sectors such as advertising, media, public administration, government, healthcare, and wholesale pay less on average.

Graduation is crucial

The IT industry is booming. People with the necessary qualifications have the best career prospects and can earn above-average salaries. The degree also determines the professional opportunities. The average starting salary of IT specialists in Germany in 2017 was 44,739 euros gross and (for tax class 1) approx. 27,000 euros net. In Hesse (average EUR 48 448) and Bavaria (average EUR 47 599) the graduates received the highest starting salaries.

Starting salaries for computer scientists

In general, of course, your salary depends on several factors. The average starting salary for computer scientists in Germany is around EUR 44,700. This number will help you get a rough understanding of the merit. The best salaries can be achieved in engineering and consulting. But project and software developments are also very lucrative, especially the area of ​​SAP development. As an IT specialist, the starting salary is slightly lower than with a completed IT degree. It is often financially optimal if you can work in consulting. For this purpose, it makes sense to study business informatics. This also helps to develop a great understanding of business processes. Basically, of course, it should be noted that the salary depends on the size of the company and the region in which you work.

Starting salary with a bachelor's degree in computer science

In the meantime, bachelor's and master's degrees have become part of everyday life in many companies. It is interesting that there is currently only a small difference in salary between a bachelor's and master's degree in applied sciences at universities and technical colleges, while the computer science degree with a diploma still has significant differences in salary. On average, young computer scientists with a bachelor's degree earn less than those with a master's degree or diploma.

However, if you want to start with a bachelor’s degree, the differences to the master’s degree will even out after about two years. According to a study by the Staufenbiel Institute, more than half of the companies pay young professionals with a bachelor's degree in computer science an average annual salary of around 40,000 euros. With a few exceptions, entry-level salaries for the Bachelor's degree are also included for computer science graduates 30,000 or over 55,000 euros possible. Bachelor graduates can benefit from joining larger companies: On the one hand, there are more opportunities for growth and further training and the wage structure is much more attractive, especially since wages are often regulated by collective agreements.

Starting salary with a master’s degree in computer science

More than four fifths of Bachelor graduates from the subject are planning a Master’s degree - which is often not absolutely necessary on the part of the employer. Because even without a master's degree and doctorate, there are really good jobs with good salaries. The differences between the master’s degree and the bachelor’s degree are very small, at least in the first quartile and the medians.

The difference in remuneration varies on average between 200 and 500 euros per year. Only with high earners is higher education with a master’s degree, with the difference of 3,400 euros, above what Bachelor’s graduates can achieve. On average, the starting salary can be with a computer science master 46,422 euros be. Many universities offer further bachelor's and master's degrees. In this way they replace previous diplomas. This only becomes difficult if graduates of the Bachelor's degree in Computer Science cannot find a Master's degree in Computer Science. Financially, the master’s degree is not always worthwhile.

Starting salary with training (e.g. IT specialist)

As an IT specialist, you will be trained, for example, in application development or system integration. Depending on your specialization, you are responsible for the planning and programming environments or coordinate and configure all structures and servers. During the apprenticeship you will receive a monthly salary for a computer scientist, which increases with each year of training according to the development of skills during the apprenticeship. As a new trainee, you will receive an average of 695-755 euros per month.

If you do not want to shorten the training, the trainee salary increases up to the third year of training, where you can expect over 800 euros. The starting salary for trained IT specialists is between 1,500 to 2,200 euros gross per month. But entry-level salaries of up to 2,500 euros are also possible, but have become very rare. In the next five professional years it is possible to work as a computer scientist with a minimum income of 2,500 to 3,000 euros. It is important to take advantage of further training opportunities right from the start in order to sustainably increase your own qualifications and thus also your wages.

Starting salary in the departments

Since today's professionals are needed in all areas of the economy - from banks to scientific institutions - your income as an IT professional depends on the industry in which your company operates. In addition, as in many other professions, an IT specialist often receives a flat-rate remuneration within the framework of a collective agreement or has to negotiate it directly with his employer.

Security professionals make the best money. Computer security graduates work flat out against permanent threats to the computer security of companies, government agencies or critical infrastructure. With an average annual salary of 59,000 euros in Germany, these professionals are usually among the best-paid professionals in the industry. Even for a support employee, however, a salary of a little more than 36,000 euros per year still falls. This is what computer scientists earn, depending on the industry:

  • Advice (approx. 60,000 euros per year)
  • Project management (approx. 63,000 euros per year)
  • Development of JAVA (approx. 47,000 euros per year)
  • Training (approx. 48,000 euros per year)

Average starting salaries by occupation:

System engineering / adminEUR 40,085
Application developer44,200 EUR
ConsultingEUR 41,444
Quality assurance40,450 EUR
IT security44,750 EUR
Risk / Compliance Management44,200 EUR
Business Analysis40,325 EUR
Database development / BI43,319 EUR
researchEUR 48,770
Project management44,285 EUR
UX / UI37,600 EUR
Embedded Systems Development44,250 EUR
Web development39,675 EUR
Product managementEUR 42,800

Starting salaries by industry

You have very good chances with IT service providers and in software development. There is a lot of potential, especially in the development of apps, but also in cloud computing and big data. Several sources indicate that over 15,000 positions in software development are advertised annually. Here, too, there is a discrepancy between the various industries when it comes to the question of salaries. A position in finance or in aviation, for example, is paid more than in the media industry.

The classic information technology sector, such as computer equipment, is in the lower quartile with the health, retail and public services sectors. Traditionally, the public sector pays lower wages than industry, although other factors, such as safety or ethical requirements for employers, may also play a role for these employers.

Starting salaries in a group, medium-sized company or start-up?

As already mentioned, the size of the company naturally also affects your starting salary. The following rule of thumb applies here: the larger the company and the more employees work in this company, the higher your starting salary will usually be.

There are also differences to consider when choosing a company. Basically, a distinction can be made between a group, medium-sized company or start-up. Which type of company is best for you depends on your individual preferences. The following representation of the properties may help you in making a decision:

Concert with the highest salary

In a corporation, the salary is generally higher and there are many trainee and further education programs. This also results in good internal promotion opportunities. Furthermore, the risk of the company going bankrupt and losing one's job is rather low. In addition, such companies are mostly internationally active and there is also the possibility of working internationally.

However, everyday work in corporations is often very impersonal and the hierarchies are clearly set, but the level of personal responsibility is not always clearly recognizable. That is a difference to the middle class.

Often a medium salary in the middle class

In medium-sized companies it quickly becomes clear how much responsibility you have and which tasks fall into your personal area. The working environment is usually more familiar than that of international corporations. In a nutshell, it can be said that everyday work in medium-sized companies is not entirely dissimilar to that in large companies, but everything takes place on a somewhat smaller scale and there is usually more scope for design and independent work is made possible.

Start-up: high learning potential, flat hierarchies, the lowest starting salary tends to be

Then there are the startups. In these you usually have a lot of individual freedom and can contribute your own thoughts and ideas. They also usually have less formal requirements for curriculum vitae and qualifications than large companies - the performance principle is more widespread. If your grade point average is rather mixed, you can find your career entry easier through a start-up. The risk that such a company will fail is of course much higher and therefore there is no financial security. However, the hierarchies are flatter and your personal responsibility is very clearly visible. So you see: everything has its advantages and disadvantages.

Starting salary by state

It doesn't matter whether you are from Swabia, Northern Lights or Rhinelander: The question naturally arises as to whether you are flexible about the state in which you want to work or whether it is most beautiful at home. In order to make a decision, it is advisable to compare the earning potential in the individual federal states.

Despite the above-average initial salaries of IT specialists, there are large regional differences. In any case, there is still a clear difference between the new and old federal states. In the countries of the former GDR, salaries are usually lower and the proportion of computer scientists in the total working population is very low. In contrast, it is very high in Hamburg, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Bavaria. Many companies are based in these federal states and there are IT metropolitan areas.

In Frankfurt am Main, Stuttgart and Munich, known as the booming metropolis, the chances of above-average IT wages are very high. The incomes here are often between 10 and 17% above average. If you want to apply in Nuremberg, Erfurt or other regions in Franconia or Thuringia, you can expect a minimum wage of 77-106% of this average wage.

Become a freelancer or are you looking for a permanent position? Advantages and disadvantages

It's no secret that some people get up early while others don't run at full speed until late at night. As a normal worker, you can only choose your working hours to a limited extent. If you are self-employed, you have the luxury of dividing your working hours freely. There is nothing better for productive work and work-life balance. Because as long as the work is done, it is up to you to decide when to call it a day. This is a great advantage for freelancers - but it also entails the duty of self-control and increased discipline, because of course the tasks still have to be completed.

As an independent computer scientist, you have the advantage that you will not need anything other than your laptop to work. Whether at home, at work or on the go - if you have a stable internet connection and mobile phone reception, you can also work anywhere - whether that is productive is another matter.

This creates another advantage: rail travel and flights in themselves are practically profitable, because waiting times are now potential working hours. If you want to work as a permanent employee in a company, you get security, you have a regular income and regular working hours and you don't have to worry (at least not primarily) about your pension and health insurance.

There are also downsides to working as a freelancer

The supposed advantages of the nominally often higher income as a freelancer, however, also have disadvantages.
As a freelancer, you will first be transferred the total amount of a project. This means that for the time being it looks as if you are earning much larger sums of money.

As a freelancer, however, you are responsible for your health insurance and retirement provision yourself. Since these items are deducted directly from the wages of employees, the direct comparison of salaries lags somewhat. You are also responsible for paying attention to tax aspects. This can drastically shrink your nominal income.

As a freelancer, however, you can (and must) usually serve several customers and projects at the same time and set your own hourly rates at least within a framework. As an employee of a company you give freedom, but you get security in return. One of these guarantees is that work will be waiting for you the next day. The daily struggle of a freelancer for orders is a matter of course for every employee. As a self-employed person, you have to look for your own tasks.

Salary development after joining

Last but not least, it is important to know how the salary has changed over the years.

In general, there is a very good chance that the salary of computer scientists will continue to rise. Some predictions suggest it. With increasing experience, more knowledge comes and as a logical consequence, at some point a high level of responsibility and a corresponding salary. If you develop yourself continuously and acquire extensive knowledge in the business administration area, you can look forward to an excellent future. Especially since IT skills can usually be used in a wide variety of ways in a wide variety of companies.

As a computer scientist, you have the best chances of working in an important industry and receiving above-average remuneration for it.What kind of company you want to work in depends on your wishes and needs. However, it can be said with a high degree of probability that you will find a suitable company. Also think about your personal fulfillment and not necessarily primarily about the salary.

Outlook: How will the salary for computer scientists develop?

Sharp wage increases are not to be expected in the next few years in terms of salaries for computer scientists either. Nevertheless, the IT industry will continue to grow positively. This is also an assessment of the industry association ITC Bitkom, which expects a further increase in the demand for IT personnel in the digital transformation of companies. However, this does not automatically mean that wages will rise above average.