Raw Data: The Highest Paying College Majors

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According to Glassdoor, here are the 50 highest-paying majors during the first five years out of college:

Bottom line: get into either a technical field or one that’s highly unionized. Avoid biology for some reason. Alternatively, major in whatever you want and then adjust your lifestyle to your income.

Now some of you oldsters might be thinking that kids have it pretty cushy these days. $70,000 for a computer science major! Hell, even the social worker making $40,000 doesn’t sound bad. Why, my first job out of college paid $15,000 and I was happy to get it.

So as a public service, here’s the exact same chart, but adjusted for inflation since 1980:

Using the dollars you remember from 1980, the CS major makes $24,000 and the social worker makes $14,000. It doesn’t sound quite so cushy anymore, does it? The lesson here is that most of us underestimate the rate of inflation since our college days: prices haven’t gone up 50 percent or a hundred percent since 1980, they’ve gone up 3x. It’s hard to internalize that. Hell, it doesn’t seem right to me, and I’m staring at the numbers right now.

Jobs that require an engineering degree pay pretty well. But they’ve always paid pretty well. There’s nothing magical about what engineers and coders are making in 2016.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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