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Which College Degrees Get the Highest Salaries?

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Which College Degrees Get the Highest Salaries?

Which College Degrees Get the Highest Salaries?

If you’re a college graduate, you likely went to school to pursue an important passion of yours.

But as we all know, what we major in has consequences that extend far beyond the foundation of knowledge we build in our early years. Any program we choose to enroll in also sets up a track to meet future friends, career opportunities, and connections.

Even further, the college degree you choose will partially dictate your future earning potential – especially in the first decade after school. If jobs in your field are in high demand, it can even set you up for long-term financial success, enabling you to pay off costly student loans and build up savings potential.

Data Backgrounder

Today’s chart comes to us from Reddit user /r/SportsAnalyticsGuy, and it’s based on PayScale’s year-long survey of 1.2 million users that graduated only with a bachelor degree in the United States. You can access the full set of data here.

The data covers two different salary categories:

Starting median salary: The median of what people were earning after they graduated with their degree.

Mid-career Percentiles: Salary data from 10 years after graduation, sorted by percentile (10th, 25th, Median, 75th, and 90th)

In other words, the starting median salary represents what people started making after they graduated, and the rest of the chart depicts the range that people were making 10 years after they got their degree. Lower earners (10th percentile) are the lower bound, and higher earners (90th) are the upper bound.

College Degrees, by Salary

What college majors win out?

Here’s all 50 majors from the data set, sorted by mid-career median salary (10 years in):

RankUndergraduate MajorStarting MedianMid-Career Median% Change
#1Chemical Engineering$63,200$107,00069.3%
#2Computer Engineering$61,400$105,00071.0%
#3Electrical Engineering$60,900$103,00069.1%
#4Aerospace Engineering$57,700$101,00075.0%
#5Economics$50,100$98,60096.8%
#6Physics$50,300$97,30093.4%
#7Computer Science$55,900$95,50070.8%
#8Industrial Engineering$57,700$94,70064.1%
#9Mechanical Engineering$57,900$93,60061.7%
#10Math$45,400$92,400103.5%
#11Physician Assistant$74,300$91,70023.4%
#12Civil Engineering$53,900$90,50067.9%
#13Construction$53,700$88,90065.5%
#14Finance$47,900$88,30084.3%
#15Management Information Systems (MIS)$49,200$82,30067.3%
#16Philosophy$39,900$81,200103.5%
#17International Relations$40,900$80,90097.8%
#18Chemistry$42,600$79,90087.6%
#19Marketing$40,800$79,60095.1%
#20Geology$43,500$79,50082.8%
#21Political Science$40,800$78,20091.7%
#22Accounting$46,000$77,10067.6%
#23Architecture$41,600$76,80084.6%
#24Information Technology (IT)$49,100$74,80052.3%
#25Business Management$43,000$72,10067.7%
#26Agriculture$42,600$71,90068.8%
#27History$39,200$71,00081.1%
#28Communications$38,100$70,00083.7%
#29Film$37,900$68,50080.7%
#30Nursing$54,200$67,00023.6%
#31Journalism$35,600$66,70087.4%
#32Geography$41,200$65,50059.0%
#33Art History$35,800$64,90081.3%
#34Biology$38,800$64,80067.0%
#35English$38,000$64,70070.3%
#36Forestry$39,100$62,60060.1%
#37Anthropology$36,800$61,50067.1%
#38Health Care Administration$38,800$60,60056.2%
#39Psychology$35,900$60,40068.2%
#40Graphic Design$35,700$59,80067.5%
#41Sociology$36,500$58,20059.5%
#42Hospitality & Tourism$37,800$57,50052.1%
#43Drama$35,900$56,90058.5%
#44Criminal Justice$35,000$56,30060.9%
#45Nutrition$39,900$55,30038.6%
#46Music$35,900$55,00053.2%
#47Interior Design$36,100$53,20047.4%
#48Spanish$34,000$53,10056.2%
#49Education$34,900$52,00049.0%
#50Religion$34,100$52,00052.5%

Based on this data, there are a few interesting things to point out.

The top earning specialization out of college is for Physician Assistants, with a median starting salary of $74,300. The downside of this degree is that earning potential levels out quickly, only showing a 23.4% increase in earning power 10 years in.

In contrast, the biggest increases in earning power go to Math, Philosophy, Economics, Marketing, Physics, Political Science, and International Relations majors. All these degrees see a 90% or higher increase from median starting salary to median mid-career salary.

In absolute terms, the majors that saw the highest median mid-career salaries were all along the engineering spectrum: chemical engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and aerospace engineering all came in above $100,000. They also generally had very high starting salaries.

As a final note, it’s important to recognize that this data does not necessarily correlate to today’s degrees or job market. The data set is based on people that graduated at least a decade ago – and therefore, it does not necessarily represent what grads may experience as they are starting their careers today.

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Data Visualization

All the S&P 500 Women CEOs in One Timeline (2000-2019)

Since the turn of the century, only a meager 5.6% of S&P 500-indexed companies have been led by women. Today’s interactive timeline highlights their tenures.

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All the S&P 500 Women CEOs in One Timeline (2000-2019)

Gender equality has made significant strides since the days of Rosie the Riveter. The iconic wartime image continues to symbolize womens’ empowerment in the present—especially in politics and the workforce.

Yet, the higher and further women get in their careers, it’s clear that barriers still remain. Today’s interactive timeline comes to us from Alex Architektonidis of BoardEx, and it tracks all the women chief executive officers (CEOs) of companies listed in the S&P 500 index since the turn of the century.

The kicker? Across the 500 large-cap companies in the index, only 70 women have ever held the position of CEO or similar titles—and only 28 women currently have this status.

Which Industries Have the Most Women CEOs?

The S&P 500 covers approximately 80% of the U.S. equity market by capitalization. Since the index is fluid and regularly updated, women CEOs were selected based on whether their company was listed in the index during their tenure.

Out of all the sectors represented on the timeline, the top categories are retail with 14 women CEOs, engineering and tech with 10 women CEOs, and finance with 9 women CEOs. Food & beverage and utilities are tied with 7 women CEOs each.

Women Leading in the Corporate World

Topping the list is Marion Osher Sandler, the first and longest-serving woman CEO in the United States. She held the title for nearly 27 years at Golden West Financial Corp (from 1980 to 2006), a company she co-founded and grew to $125 billion in assets.

The next person in line for the longest female-led CEO term is Debra A Cafaro, from the healthcare-focused real estate investment trust Ventas Inc. Cafaro has been CEO of Ventas for 20 years, and generated a cumulative total return of 2,559% since 1999—the S&P average for returns over the same time period was only 215%.

Only two women CEOs show up more than twice on the timeline. The first is Meg Cushing Whitman, who served as President/CEO of Ebay from 1998–2008, Chairman/President/CEO of HP Inc. from 2011–2015, and finally as the CEO of Hewlett Packard from 2015 to 2018. In total, Whitman has spent over 16 years as CEO of these S&P 500 companies.

However, Carol Ann Bartz also has an impressive CV, with nearly 17 years as a CEO under her belt. Bartz was the Chairman/President/CEO of the software corporation Autodesk from 1992–2006, and later on at Yahoo from 2009 to 2011.

The most recent addition to this list is Julie Spellman Sweet, who became the CEO of Accenture on September 1st. She was previously the CEO of Accenture’s North American division, and has been crowned on Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” list from 2016–2018 consecutively. Sweet’s appointment aligns well with Accenture’s corporate diversity targets—the company is aiming for 25% women in managing director roles globally by 2020.

There’s More Work To Be Done

There’s a growing body of evidence that corporate diversity improves a company’s financial bottom line. A recent CNBC analysis shows that in 2019, over half of female CEOs led their company’s stocks to outperform the S&P 500 index, with some even showing quadruple-digit percentage returns (as previously mentioned with Ventas).

Despite womens’ contributions to nearly half the labor force and consistent success as CEOs, they are disproportionately represented higher up the ladder. Women CEOs still lead a meager 5.6% of S&P 500 companies overall—in fact, women CEO appointments are actually slowing down, averaging less than 6% since 2015.

Such stunted growth is setting back equality at the C-suite level drastically. A joint report between the non-profit Lean In and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. offers some insight into the reasons underlying this disparity:

Since 2015… corporate America has made almost no progress in improving women’s representation. From the outset, fewer women than men are hired at the entry level. And at every subsequent step, the representation of women further declines.

Women in the Workplace 2018

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Data Visualization

Ranking the Top 100 Websites in the World

The top 100 websites ranking reveals how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.

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As a greater portion of the world begins to live more of their life online, the world’s top 100 websites continue to see explosive growth in their traffic numbers.

To claim even the 100th spot in this ranking, your website would need around 350 million visits in a single month. Using data from SimilarWeb, we’ve visually mapped out the top 100 biggest websites on the internet. Examining the ranking reveals a lot about how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.

Note: This is a ranking of biggest websites, specifically. Brands that extend across platforms or serve the majority of their users through an app will not necessarily rank well on this list. As a result, you’ll notice the absence of companies like WeChat and Snapchat.

The Top 100 Websites

The 100 biggest websites generated a staggering 206 billion visits in June 2019. Google, YouTube, and Facebook took the top spots, followed by Baidu and Wikipedia. Below is the full ranking:

Global RankDomainMonthly visits (billions)ParentCountry
1Google.com60.49Alphabet Inc🇺🇸 United States
2Youtube.com 24.31Alphabet Inc🇺🇸 United States
3Facebook.com19.98Facebook, Inc🇺🇸 United States
4Baidu.com9.77Baidu, Inc🇨🇳 China
5Wikipedia.org4.69Wikimedia Foundation🇺🇸 United States
6Twitter.com3.92Twitter, Inc🇺🇸 United States
7Yahoo.com3.74Verizon Comm. Inc🇺🇸 United States
8pornhub.com3.36Mindgeek🇨🇦 Canada
9Instagram.com3.21Facebook, Inc🇺🇸 United States
10xvideos.com3.19WGCZ Holding🇨🇿 Czech Republic
11yandex.ru3.06Yandex🇷🇺 Russia
12ampproject.org2.76N/A🇺🇸 United States
13xnxx.com2.47WGCZ Holding🇨🇿 Czech Republic
14amazon.com2.41Amazon.com, Inc🇺🇸 United States
15live.com2.25Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
16vk.com2.16Mail.ru Group🇷🇺 Russia
17netflix.com1.81Netflix, Inc🇺🇸 United States
18qq.com1.76Tencent🇨🇳 China
19whatsapp.com1.76Facebook, Inc🇺🇸 United States
20mail.ru1.64Mail.ru Group🇷🇺 Russia
21Reddit.com1.55Advance Publications🇺🇸 United States
22yahoo.co.jp1.5Verizon Comm. Inc🇯🇵 Japan
23google.com.br1.38Alphabet Inc🇧🇷 Brazil
24bing.com1.32Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
25ok.ru1.08Mail.ru Group🇷🇺 Russia
26xhamster.com1.06Hammy Media Ltd🇨🇾 Cyprus
27sogou.com1Tencent, Sohu Inc🇨🇳 China
28ebay.com0.95eBay Inc🇺🇸 United States
29bit.ly0.95Spectrum Equity🇺🇸 United States
30twitch.tv0.91Amazon.com, Inc🇺🇸 United States
31linkedin.com0.91Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
32samsung.com0.89Samsung Group🇰🇷 South Korea
33sm.cn0.81Alibaba Group🇨🇳 China
34msn.com0.8Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
35office.com0.79Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
36globo.com0.74Grupo Globo🇧🇷 Brazil
37taobao.com0.74Alibaba Group🇨🇳 China
38pinterest.com0.74Pinterest, Inc🇺🇸 United States
39google.de0.73Alphabet Inc🇩🇪 Germany
40Microsoft.com0.72Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
41accuweather.com0.71AccuWeather Inc🇺🇸 United States
42naver.com0.64Naver Corporation🇰🇷 South Korea
43aliexpress.com0.64Alibaba Group🇨🇳 China
44fandom.com0.61Wikia Inc🇺🇸 United States
45quora.com0.58Quora Inc🇺🇸 United States
46github.com0.57Microsoft Corporation🇺🇸 United States
47imdb.com0.57Amazon.com, Inc🇺🇸 United States
48uol.com.br0.56Grupo Folha🇧🇷 Brazil
49docomo.ne.jp0.56Tata Teleservices🇯🇵 Japan
50youporn.com0.55Mindgeek🇨🇦 Canada
51bbc.co.uk0.55Public owned🇬🇧 United Kingdom
52microsoftonline.com0.55Unknown🏴 Unknown
53paypal.com0.53Paypal🇺🇸 United States
54google.fr0.53Alphabet Inc🇫🇷 France
55yidianzixun.com0.51Particle Inc🇨🇳 China
56wordpress.com0.51Automattic🇺🇸 United States
57news.google.com0.51Alphabet Inc🇺🇸 United States
58sohu.com0.51Sohu🇨🇳 China
59duckduckgo.com0.51Duck Duck Go, Inc🇺🇸 United States
60google.co.uk0.51Alphabet Inc🇬🇧 United Kingdom
6110086.cn0.5China Mobile🇨🇳 China
62iqiyi.com0.5Baidu, Inc🇨🇳 China
63booking.com0.5Booking Holdings🇺🇸 United States
64amazon.co.jp0.49Amazon.com, Inc🇯🇵 Japan
65cricbuzz.com0.49Times Internet🇮🇳 India
66taboola.com0.48Taboola Inc🇺🇸 United States
67amazon.de0.48Amazon.com, Inc🇩🇪 Germany
68cnn.com0.47Turner Broadcasting🇺🇸 United States
69jd.com0.47Various (Tencent 20%)🇨🇳 China
70apple.com0.47Apple Inc🇺🇸 United States
71google.it0.45Alphabet Inc🇮🇹 Italy
72bilibili.com0.44Bilibili Inc🇨🇳 China
73google.co.jp0.44Alphabet Inc🇯🇵 Japan
74livejasmin.com0.44Docler Group🇱🇺 Luxembourg
75tmall.com0.44Alibaba Group🇨🇳 China
76news.yahoo.co.jp0.44Verizon Comm. Inc🇯🇵 Japan
77youtu.be0.44Alphabet Inc🇺🇸 United States
78tribunnews.com0.43Kompas Gramedia Group🇮🇩 Indonesia
79amazon.co.uk0.43Amazon.com, Inc🇬🇧 United Kingdom
80chaturbate.com0.43Multi Media LLC🇺🇸 United States
81google.co.in0.41Alphabet Inc🇮🇳 India
82craigslist.org0.41Craigslist🇺🇸 United States
83imgur.com0.41Imgur Inc🇺🇸 United States
84bbc.com0.41Public owned🇬🇧 United Kingdom
85fc2.com0.39FC2, Inc🇺🇸 United States
86tsyndicate.com0.39Unknown🏴 Unknown
87redtube.com0.38Mindgeek🇨🇦 Canada
88tumblr.com0.37Verizon🇺🇸 United States
89foxnews.com0.36Fox Corporation🇺🇸 United States
90rakuten.co.jp0.36Rakuten Inc🇯🇵 Japan
91google.es0.36Alphabet Inc🇪🇸 Spain
92outbrain.com0.36Outbrain Inc🇺🇸 United States
93discordapp.com0.36Various🇺🇸 United States
94amazon.in0.35Amazon.com, Inc🇮🇳 India
95crptgate.com0.34Unknown🏴 Unknown
96weather.com0.34Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC🇺🇸 United States
97toutiao.com0.34Bytedance🇨🇳 China
98youku.com0.34Alibaba Group🇨🇳 China
99adobe.com0.34Adobe Inc🇺🇸 United States
100news.yandex.ru0.33Yandex🇷🇺 Russia

Search Reigns Supreme

Search engines provide the connective tissue that binds the internet together, and they accounted for the majority of website traffic in the top 100 ranking.

Google is the undisputed top website in nearly every country in the world. In fact, Alphabet’s 11 domains in the top 100 ranking – including YouTube and a number of international versions of Google – racked up an impressive 90 billion visits in a single month.

Exceptions to Google’s dominance can be found in China (Baidu) and Russia (Yandex), where homegrown search engines have managed to capture the domestic market.

One scrappy competitor, DuckDuckGo, is slowly gaining prominence as an alternative to Google. The search engine’s focus on user privacy appears to be resonating with internet users as the site’s traffic has surpassed 500 million visits per month.

Full Stream Ahead

Video streaming and sharing is another major driver of global internet traffic.

Thanks to high-powered phones and bigger data plans, video is now a prominent portion of internet content consumption. This can take a few forms, from binge watching TV shows on Netflix to short-form video uploads on platforms like Douyin and Instagram.

Live streaming is increasingly a bigger part of the mix. Twitch, which is focused on gaming, is now ranked 30th in the world in web traffic. The Amazon-owned platform is now so popular that on any given night, its viewership surpasses many of the major U.S. cable networks.

Hours watched on Twitch

Of course, this category also includes adult content, which is well represented in this ranking. XNXX, XVideos, and PornHub all made the top 20, and the three websites combined for over nine billion visits in the most recent month of data available.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Classic web portals such as MSN and Yahoo are still putting up impressive traffic numbers, but major players are increasingly staying relevant by acquiring rising internet stars.

In the case of Microsoft, acquiring Github and Linkedin helped the company target new markets and grow their overall presence online. Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch proved to be a good bet, and Instagram continues to breathe new life into Facebook, which has seen a backlash focused on its original namesake social network.

Google isn’t sitting still either. The company recently championed the open-source AMP Project to help improve the performance of mobile pages, which are increasingly bogged down by adware, unoptimized images, and JavaScript. In a short amount of time, the AMP Project has taken off to become one of the biggest websites in the world.

The project is not without controversy though.

Critics point out that cached AMP pages – which are hosted by Google – essentially cut out content creators, and that non-compliant pages may lose their ranking on mobile search results. As the project moves towards becoming a foundation, it remains to be seen how AMP will evolve and how much involvement Google will have in the future.

The Geography of the Top 100 Websites

The internet may be a global network, but many of the gatekeepers are still located in the United States. If international domain suffixes of companies like Amazon and Google are counted, 60 of the 100 websites in the ranking are American.

Below is a breakdown of the Top 100 by country.

Top 100 Websites Ranking by Country

China is a strong runner-up, with 15 websites in the Top 100. While most of these Chinese companies are focused on the sizable domestic market, some are also making global inroads through investment. Tencent has partially backed the fast-growing chat platform, Discord, and it also has double-digit stakes in Snapchat and Spotify.

With the exception of Baidu, all of the biggest websites in the world have swelled in size by serving a global audience. As the tech market continues to mature in China, it remains to be seen whether Chinese companies can successfully move beyond the firewall to become the next Facebook or Google.

Correction: Bilibili, a website run by a Chinese company, was incorrectly identified as a Japanese company.

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