Whether you are a student, adviser, or potential career switcher, finding out about different fields and the steps it takes to be successful can be overwhelming. It’s often difficult to know if you will enjoy—or even be good at—a certain job until you have put in a significant amounts of time and effort.
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Engineering and computer science majors command the highest salaries upon graduation, a trend that has continued for years. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for new engineering graduates in 2014 was $62,719 a year, up slightly from 2013. New computer science majors received an average of $61,741 – a 3 percent increase over last year.
But some colleges are standouts in the salary race. Combing through three years of self-reported data from 130 colleges, NerdScholar has compiled a list of the top 15 schools whose engineering and computer science grads earn the biggest bucks.
Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science heads the class, with a starting salary of $89,832 – more than 37 percent higher than the national average.
The California Institute of Technology and Stanford University’s engineering school round out the top three.
Did your school make it onto the scoreboard?
For international students, gaining admission to a U.S. university is one challenge. Staying in the United States after graduation is another one entirely. While engineers are in high demand and some surveys show that American students are less interested in technical fields than their foreign counterparts, the barriers to acquiring and keeping an engineering job are high for young international graduates.
In tech fields such as software development, computer science and IT, companies are lobbying for looser regulations. But for the second year in a row, the number of H-1B visa petitions (that are normally given to foreigners working in such skilled fields to allow them to work in the U.S. legally) reached the cap in less than a week. This year, employers filed 172,500 petitions altogether for the foreign employees they wanted in 2015, but the process — essentially a lottery — allows for just 65,000 visas, in addition to 20,000 visas awarded to graduates with advanced degrees.
AfterCollege.com provides career guidance and leads to open entry level positions for recent college graduates. According to its website, AfterCollege is the largest career network for students and recent graduates, and features 400,000 entry-level jobs and internships from more than 25,000 employers. AfterCollege reaches more than 5,000,000 users each year, including 18,000 faculty, student group and administrative contacts at over 2,000 colleges and universities.
Students can find opportunities by entering their school, course of study, and graduation date on the home page. As users give more feedback on job titles, job types and location, the system provides more personalized opportunities. Students can also create a profile, portfolio, and follow companies on the site to find new opportunities. AfterCollege has also awarded scholarships and student aid, and has given out over $1,000,000 to date.