back to article Compsci grads get the fattest pay cheques six months after uni – report

Computer science graduates are some of the highest earners six months after leaving university, according to The Sunday Times' annual Good University Guide. The guide assesses UK universities for research and teaching quality, student experience, and graduate opportunities and earnings. It found that computer science courses …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Fair play to them who get it. But no amount of compensation is worth spending hours of your life working in a job, career or company where you're made to work your fingers to the bone without getting any satisfaction from it.

    Source: 10 years working in a career I've grown to despise and loath.

    1. Semtex451

      I'll second that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My advise to anybody in your position: Get out, or burn out!

      5 years working for a company that scrimps.. being a "lead developer" and responsible for developing, managing the 3 others developers whilst also hands-on managing all the back-end infrastructure. I used to delude myself that it kept my job secure, but in actual fact, its was miserable and I finally burnt out and gave up development :(

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "My advise to anybody in your position: Get out, or burn out!

        5 years working for a company that scrimps.. being a "lead developer" and responsible for developing, managing the 3 others developers whilst also hands-on managing all the back-end infrastructure. I used to delude myself that it kept my job secure, but in actual fact, its was miserable and I finally burnt out and gave up development :("

        Already there. Planning on doing it for 11 more months then quitting development altogether and going in to primary school teaching. Probably out of the frying pan in to the fire but at least I can see far more reward teaching than I can in development.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          @ wolfetone

          Planning [...] quitting development altogether and going in to primary school teaching

          My partner recently quit teaching. They loved the teaching and working with the kids. They hated spending all evening and a fair amount of the weekend marking, lesson planning, writing reports, plus loosing lunch breaks to meetings, etc.

          I had a friend who quit teaching after just one year because they said the amount of work you were expected to do was unsustainable.

          Six week summer holidays sound great. But a 60-70 hour working week - often with little respect from kids or their parents ain't worth it.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: @ wolfetone

            My sister is a secondary school teacher and I see the work load she has, but she seems to love it all. Surprising really as it was the one profession I never thought she'd take to as she's got a short fuse and a huge temper. I floated the teaching idea and she thought I meant secondary, and I said no I wanted Primary. She said there's no money there. To be honest, if I wanted money I'd stay in development.

            I taught for 1 year at a college, but they weren't very supportive. Wouldn't put me through for the PGCE and that was that really. I was handy in the way I filled a gap in staffing. I had one lovely class, all willing to learn, then another class who were complete arseholes. Only there to pick up the EMA and wondered why they hadn't got it one week when they didn't bother showing up to class.

            However, I know other people in primary education and they seem to love it. I need to look in to it alot more, but my time in development is over and I need to move on. Just in to what remains to be seen, but teaching I feel is a good fit.

            1. 0laf Silver badge

              Re: @ wolfetone

              Most teachers love teaching and accept the marking and report writing.

              It's the additional government paperwork, benchmarking and assorted other bureaucracy that sucks the life out of people. That and the fact many schools are fundamentally toxic work environments with institutionalised staff that are bullies and utterly hellish to talk to never mind work with.

              [Late wife was a teacher of 20yr experience]

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ wolfetone

                "It's the additional government paperwork, benchmarking and assorted other bureaucracy that sucks the life out of people. That and the fact many schools are fundamentally toxic work environments with institutionalised staff that are bullies and utterly hellish to talk to never mind work with."

                That is a pretty accurate description of the atmosphere my mother used to bring home with her from her last school. After starting at that place she changed from the best mum in the world to something else completely.

        2. Ucalegon

          "Already there. Planning on doing it for 11 more months then quitting development altogether and going in to primary school teaching. Probably out of the frying pan in to the fire but at least I can see far more reward teaching than I can in development."

          Good luck with that and be prepared to be exhausted in new and interesting ways.

          I'm 5 years ahead of you in secondary ed. and loving every (nearly) minute of it. Huge amounts of bullshine in the institutions, natch, but working with students is far more rewarding than working with a team of developers. On top of that there's every chance students actually grow up and mature :)

      2. IDoNotThinkSo

        The article doesn't say what job they were doing.

        I'm guessing a large number were in the City, and not necessarily doing development. That's where a lot of Oxbridge science graduates end up.

        Hence why the salaries bear no relation to normal computing jobs...

    3. EarthDog

      I ruined my health

      I am about 50 I have high blood pressure and the arteries of a 70 year old. Too many 10 and 12 hours a day and a sedentary life style. And yes, I have tried to quit. I retrained but where ever I apply they want to make me their IT department. It's like being in the Mafia, once in never out. They just reel you back in.

      It isn't worth it.

  2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Unhappy

    £41k for Electronic Engineering?

    Nobody seems to have told the agencies out there. I see £35k for experienced positions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £41k for Electronic Engineering?

      A respected university with good industry contacts can bypass those agency recruiters. Competition to cherry pick the best graduates directly from preferred institutions is going to skew the 6 month figures. The contacts you should have picked up at university can last a lifetime and keep that advantage going.

      After sitting on the hiring side I sometimes wonder how those agencies stay in business, with the total unsuitability of many candidates they sent for interview.

  3. DuchessofDukeStreet

    Value for Money?

    How on earth can a child with less than 6 months working experience be worth £45k in any job? That's ridiculous.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Value for Money?

      Not if you're an OxBridge student! Fnar fnar.

    2. Christian Berger

      Actually

      If there are tuition fees, and students therefore have significant debt, the employers will have to pay for it.

      Money doesn't depends on value, it only does in economic fantasies. I mean look at sales-people of stock traders. Those get paid part of their money by sheer luck. People actually buy Apple products.

      BTW, 6 works out of university doesn't mean they only have 6 month of working experience. I for one, have worked for several years before even starting to study.

    3. william 10

      Re: Value for Money?

      Your making many assumptions, some so called 'children': work before going to uni; some courses have a year in industry; some work during the holidays etc... If the child has a: good work ethic; is not arrogant; does not have a chip on his shoulder, then yes.

      For example, my son will leave uni at the grand old age of 22 with more than two years in industry under his belt, so six months after leaving UNI he will have nearly 3 years of experience and easily worth £45K.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Value for Money?

      Many of those 'children' will already have more than a decades experience wrangling computers and the highest paid are often heading to companies with much less rigid working environments where working experience doesn't count for as much.

    5. Lusty

      Re: Value for Money?

      maybe those children know what median means so don't read pointless articles lacking information on the web so much and can therefore spend time working :)

      for all we know all of them could earn this, or some may be earning £200k

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Value for Money?

      "How on earth can a child with less than 6 months working experience be worth £45k in any job?"

      Pretty easily. First and foremost, you're not buying them for the value they'll deliver now, but across the next three years (i.e. until the attrition curve kicks in). If you're not offering 40-50k+ to new graduates now, they'll get hoovered up by facebook, google, the big banks and (to a lesser extent) the consultancy companies who can and will offer that money.

      They won't make anywhere near that much money for the first six months, but neither will any employee. Six months after that? Maybe. A year later? Almost certainly. If not? Sack 'em.

      Break even on a grad at 40k is about 20ish months for a consultancy gig, and their margins are atrocious. In banks and high-end tech jobs yielding over 70k per employee (i.e. 45k + nics etc.) is a doddle; 200k+ is more common.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They might get a fat pay cheque initially but when its discovered how fucking useless they are at doing anything useful its back to the drudgery

    1. Semtex451

      I fear it may never be discovered.

  5. CharlieM

    How many are actually employed?

    I haven't looked into this recently. But it used to be that Computer Science graduates had one of the lowest employment rates 6 months of after graduation. Presumably because they had higher expectations than a lot of other graduates.

    I wonder if the debt mountain students now graduate with has made them focus more on the starting salary?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: How many are actually employed?

      To be fair to the Comp. Sci. graduates, at least they're getting a qualification that is vaguely applicable to the modern world.

      What about those doing "Classics" or "History of Art" (to name but two). There can't be that many openings for people with useless degrees: I mean, the House of Commons only has 650 seats...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many are actually employed?

        "What about those doing "Classics" or "History of Art" (to name but two). There can't be that many openings for people with useless degrees"

        I don't know; how many helicopter pilots are there with royal connections?

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: How many are actually employed?

      I suspect there's a huge difference between places like Cambridge, Imperial etc. and some of Britain's more errr "academically inclusive" universities.

  6. Chris Miller

    Oxford? Tick. Imperial? Tick. Cambridge? Tick.

    Bournemouth?? WTF?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Isn't Bournemouth quite strong in computer gaming?

      1. M E H

        They have the National Centre for Computer Animation or something.

        I've seen some of their grads' work and it is pretty impressive.

      2. Brenda McViking

        Might be, don't think there is that much money for CompScis in gaming (could be wrong). But J P Morgan Chase have a big site there, and that's probably what is driving the salaries IMHO.

  7. AMBxx Silver badge

    6 months?

    Why does earnings after 6 months matter? Loads of people take a year off after Uni. Would be better to measure after 5 years.

  8. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Pick a niche...

    I earn a six figure salary (self-employed) and have done since 2003. Only got O'Levels when I left school in 1986. Never even went to college. Went on a YTS earning £17.50 a week, and worked ever since. Never claimed the dole. Have been out of work but never claimed the dole.

    Degrees? I'm kind of meh about them, I recognise that if I *did* have one, I'm sure I'd be proud of it. I've met some really clever and fine people that are highly educated, and I look up to them and admire them. I've rarely, if ever, noticed/felt that they look down on me because I don't have any qualifications. You can either do the job or you can't.

    There have been one or two instances over my working life where I've been shown something by a university graduate and lamented that I never knew that particular thing. A case in point: How things like hamming codes and error detection and correction work. You're just not going to learn that "on the job" because there's too much "more important" stuff to do, like keeping everything running. You're only going to learn that on a Comp/Sci course, and it's very valuable knowledge indeed, so degree courses do definitely have a place and value.

    However, I can't say that not having a degree has ever held me back; well, certainly not in terms of ability to earn, which is the topic of the article.

    I think at the end of the day, it's *motivation to learn* that is important. *How* you go about it is less important. If you choose to do a degree, great - good luck to you. If you choose to learn on the job, that's great too.

    Eventually, you'll have enough knowledge and experience to be useful to an employer, and how you came about it will be less important.

    I'm in my late 40's, so nobody cares about any degree that I may or may not have done when I was, say, 20 years old. It would only be an issue for younger members of the profession.

    Whichever path you take, good luck to you! Not having a degree has never held me back financially, and I'm doing a job (as a contractor) that I absolutely love, to the point where I'm effectively getting "paid to play".

    Happy days!

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Pick a niche...

      These days I don't think that companies take on many junior staff in schemes like YTS; I guess they look for recent graduates instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pick a niche...

      "Never claimed the dole. Have been out of work but never claimed the dole."

      BTDT.

      Then when I did need the dole they said "No NI contributions here, here, and here. Less dole money for you".

      By registering for the dole, you get NI credits. It might make a difference to your pension as well.

      Your atatement isn't really something to be proud of.

  9. deive
    WTF?

    Anyone paying that much for a graduate with no experience deserves the fail that will inevitably happen.

  10. Neel0507

    Title

    Wrong title of the article. Should be "Top Universities' Compsci grads get the fattest pay cheques six months after uni – report".

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Recent report suggested a uni degree in Computer Science

    was worth £3k a year more. Whooo fucking pi!

    Must confess the Oxbridge grads I've worked with are very confident of their abilities but computer says no.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recent report suggested a uni degree in Computer Science

      This just illustrates the disparity between "hard" and "soft" computer science degrees. Good compsci grads from the good compsci unis, with a rigorous background in development, systems analysis and algorithms, are as-good-as guaranteed to walk into a secure, well paying job in the city or at a tech firm or at a consultancy and from there go on to do whatever they please.

      Someone who has spent 3 years building up to developing baby's first website in javascript and mysql is not.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Recent report suggested a uni degree in Computer Science

        And also continues the perpetual misunderstanding of the difference between computing (making stuff) and IT (using stuff).

        "I'm a computer engineer"

        "Ok, here, run my IT department"

        "Didn't you hear, I'm a *computing* *engineer*, not a secretarial pool administrator".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is it I can smell?

    Is is pig shit? Is it sheep shit? Horse shit, perhaps, if you’re American? Ahh, it’s bullshit I can smell. Truth is that that only a small number of graduates will earn that type of money from the get-go. The name of the university will matter. School ties will help. London or California will be largely necessary. Talent and hard work alone might not get you over the line.

    I did my degree in the early 90s, and everyone thought they’d be earning in excess of £30000 within a year. Thing is, reality was was a thing back then. It still is. This is also still a great line of business to be in, paying more than most lines of work. Just don’t believe the hype from the higher education sector.

  13. BigMon

    I left uni in 1999 and still don't earn that headline figure (though I do work in network support).

    However I'm happy with my salary and my employer and work more of a 40 hour week than a 60\70 hour one.

    Some things are more important than a big salary (for me anyway).

    Also taught for two years at an FE college. Left before I had a stress-related illness.

  14. Matthew Smith

    Oh rly?

    https://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/it-jobs?keywords=graduate

    I can only see salary ranges from 20-30K (Still a good salary) and that includes London.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh rly?

      With housing (rent/mortgage) costs and the terrifying levels of student debt that exist nowadays, £30k isn't really an especially good salary. 20 years ago it might have been reasonably respectable, but after factoring in inflation, etc…

      (BTW, you're not _that_ Matthew Smith, …are you?! 6031769)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh rly?

      Reed is where job adverts go to die. It's not a good barometer for anything.

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