If you are deciding between majoring in computer science or finance, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Most finance jobs |
require longer working
hours than most CS
Can qualify for a number
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
|One of the best paying|
A very employable degree
Above-average job satisfaction.
40-50 hour working weeks are
common unless you’re working
at a startup.
Source for finance salary and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars. Whereas, the hourly rate for a CS major is reported as being $25.86. This is likely to be a reflection of the longer working hours that finance jobs require despite having similar salaries to most CS jobs.
With that being said, computer science is a particularly well-performing degree right now. When compared with most other degrees, a finance degree usually comes out on top in terms of pay. A finance degree also has a high ceiling in terms of potential pay for senior-level positions.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. With that being the case, a degree in finance will usually be slightly less difficult than a computer science degree which will involve more math-heavy classes.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Micro and macro economics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
Details about the computer science major
Below are some of the key details of the computer science major.
According to Payscale, the average salary of someone with a bachelor’s in computer science is $85,235. This makes computer science one of the best paying degrees that are available.
With that being said, a lot of these jobs will be in high cost of living areas so the wages are likely to be slightly inflated by that.
Many of the alternative degrees to computer science will also have high average salaries. However, not only is computer science one of the best paying degrees but it also puts you in a good position with just a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, many of the alternatives require a master’s degree to be competitive when seeking a job.
Types of jobs the degree will qualify you for
There are many different types of jobs that a computer science degree will open you up to. These can include:
- Software engineer
- Database administrator
- Data scientist
- Machine learning engineer
- Application developer
- Web developer
- Computer systems administrator
Most CS majors will end up taking jobs as a software engineer which is one of the highest-rated jobs available. When interviewing for these roles, you will be tested mainly on algorithms and data structures that you’ll learn about during your time in the degree.
Data science is another career that is becoming popular among CS majors. If you want to get a job in data science, it would help to take classes in data analysis and machine learning, to learn Python programming, and to complete data science projects. A CS degree combined with classes relevant to data science should put you in a good position to get data science and software engineering jobs.
How difficult it is as a major
When compared with a finance major, computer science will have some more difficult classes including calculus, linear algebra, discrete math and algorithms. Overall, you can expect the major to be slightly more difficult than a finance major. However, a CS major is easier than many other STEM majors including mathematics, statistics and engineering.
Types of classes you will study
Classes that you can expect to take include:
You can also expect to take some mathematics classes including:
In addition, you will have the choice to take other computer science classes as electives as a part of your degree requirements.
Some classes that you might have the choice of taking could also include
Important things to be aware of when taking the degree
Before you start taking the degree, it would be very important to consider what you think you would like to do with the degree. This is so that you will be able to optimize your classes according to what you hope to achieve with the degree.
If your goal is to get into data science or machine learning type roles, it would be important to make sure to take machine learning classes, to do machine learning projects, to take classes in data analysis and to take some statistics classes.
Whereas, if your goal is to get a job as a software engineer, it would be more important to take classes that focus on algorithms and systems architecture type classes.
If you think that you want to go to graduate school, it would be important to take up research opportunities and to take classes related to what you think you would like to research as a grad student.
More details about the computer science major
I have written more about the computer science major here and I have written more about how hard you can expect the major to be here.
Reasons to choose a computer science major
A computer science degree is currently considered as being one of the best degrees available in terms of job opportunities, pay and life satisfaction. With that being the case, choosing a computer science degree would likely suit you well especially if you are interested in programming, designing systems and applied mathematics.
If you major in computer science, it will still be possible for you to enter finance if you also get a finance minor which should allow you to be almost as competitive as people with a finance major for finance jobs. There are also finance jobs that you would be more competitive for such as quantitative trading roles.
Reasons to choose a finance major
While the job prospects won’t be as good as a computer science major, a finance major is still rated as being one of the best paying degrees to get at the bachelor’s degree level. If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well (although the tech startup world could also suit you well which is suitable for competitive CS majors). Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior level positions can pay very well.