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Top 10 Electrical & Computer Engineering Schools by Salary

6/9/2014 03:51 PM EDT
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Kevin Neilson
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Undergrad?
Kevin Neilson   6/9/2014 5:06:49 PM
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This data is not terribly enlightening.  Does it include grad students?  Students who can't find  engineering jobs?  I'm a bit dubious of the $89k figure.

barfoo0
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Re: Undergrad?
barfoo0   6/9/2014 5:45:40 PM
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Reminds me of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" or "10 Best Places to Live" of Money magazine. Waste of time.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/9/2014 6:21:38 PM
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What I thought was informative was that there isn't any one good source for the information. By the way, a similar story was incredably popular on our sister site Design News, a site aimed at mostly mechanical engineers. Maybe this is a tougher crowd. I don't doubt that, but I also wonder would this information, if it could be gathered somewhat accurately, be of any value to students choosing a program. I doubt engineering students pick the job solely for the salary. Engineering is a hard profession unless you like it to begin with.

Kevin Neilson
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Re: Undergrad?
Kevin Neilson   6/9/2014 6:54:17 PM
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Such data would be valuable for prospective students.  I don't know how you'd get such data.  Schools definitely won't give you accurate information.  And this data just can't be right.  How is it possible that a student graduating from the #1 school makes $22,000 more than one graduating from the #10 school?  It doesn't make sense.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/9/2014 8:44:58 PM
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Hi anon8464524 -- I'm checking with the author for clarification on the numbers; he did average a couple years' worth of salary data from at least two salary sites to get the larger 80K+ numbers. Part of the problem may be that petroleum engineers skew the data upward -- but I'm not sure if he pulled that number out. Yes, NACE shows salaries at $20,000 less than the top ranking schools in this list. However, maybe means where you go to school makes a difference? Stay tuned tomorrow....

Bert22306
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Re: Undergrad?
Bert22306   6/9/2014 9:30:32 PM
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Somehow, when MIT comes in 7th for anything related to engineering, you have to wonder. Also, I was surprised to see math sciences listed under a different category than generic engineering. (No, I didn't go to MIT. I'm just sayin'.)

I'm not sure that anyone would or should use these numbers in making a decision on where to go to school, though. There are way too many variables, including in how these numbers were derived.

Making an international comparison might not be all that fair or valid, though, unless one normalizes the results. (For instance, engineering graduate salaries in the country vs the average salary in that country, and even that is fraught with problems. Countries with huge income differences will come out way ahead.) For myself, I can say without hesitation that salary expectations had nothing to do with my choice of major. And by extension, any supposedly different salary expectations of the different schools to which I applied, even less so!

Rankings I would find more valid would be the caliber of student the school admits into their engineering programs. Reason being, that's what the student will be competing against (or with), to get his/her degree. In some schools, it's a particularly "tough crowd," as you put it, Susan. Sort of a trial by fire, if you will, which teaches you to question everything you think you know over and over again.

krisi
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Re: Undergrad?
krisi   6/10/2014 12:49:44 PM
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I agree Bert...some international normalization would be great

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/10/2014 7:07:27 PM
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Here are some answers to your questions about the study from Kevin Fogarty, the writer of the story: "I did my best to correlate things consistently, but I was worried about the potential for data munge.  The numbers are not absolutely valid nationally and across all engineering specialties and schools, partly due to the way the data is collected, partly because of how it's packaged and presented, which is why I put in so many caveats and alternate data. However, they are the most accurate, most consistent numbers available, as far as I've been able to tell.
 
Numbers you asked about are correct as reported by Nerdwallet/Scholar, whose data comes from polls of graduating students taken by colleges. The table below includes data from approx. 100 schools per year and averages numbers from 2009 through 2012. Much of the reason the starting salaries are so high probably has to do with combining comp. sci with engineering, but there is a huge variation among various specialties, ($59.8K-$70.9K, with one outlier at $97K), according to the slightly more-methodologically open NACE,  which could also throw it off."

continued....

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/10/2014 7:12:33 PM
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Fogarty continues with this:

Detailed explanation:
Data sourcing:
The figures they asked about are from Nerdwallet/Scholar (names that seem more odd every time I think about them). One of the issues with them is that their 2013 survey numbers have a couple of anomalies that made it look as if they'd either changed methodology or had some problem with their surveys at least with some.
The two/three year averages were more consistent with all the other surveys. Different numbers and such, of course, but they didn't highlight "top" schools that didn't show up on surveys rating schools by either incoming students' test scores or graduates' starting salaries.  (E.g.: Montana Tech's School of Mines: $64,434, Colorado School of Mines: $63,739, Univ. Notre Dame $61,781) (one-year version for 2013: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/nerdscholar/2013/engineering-computer-science-degrees/)
 
The numbers are listed as "schools with the highest reported salaries upon graduation."
There is this methodology note at the bottom:
Note that some schools do not report salary data
Salaries are 2-4 year averages for data available between 2010-2013
Here's their methodology page: http://www.nerdwallet.com/nerdscholar/grad_surveys/our-approach
 
Since Nerdwallet/Scholar mixed CS and engineering, I believe the salaries may be higher than most engineering salary estimates, in the same way the average is thrown off in the Nat. Assoc. of Colleges and Employers survey by their inclusion of Petroleum Engineering in the list, even though it is a major available through only one or two schools in the country and the salaries for Petroleum engineers is just short of $27,000 higher than the No. 2 specialty, which is Comp. Eng. ) http://naceweb.org/s01222014/top-paid-majors-salary-survey-engineering.aspx)


Even so, NACE estimates total, nationwide average starting salaries for Computer Engineering at $70,900, CS at $64,700 and EE/comm. Engineering at $63,000.

Continued.....

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/10/2014 7:17:40 PM
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Fogarty continues....

"Nerdwallet/scholar claims the same source of data as NACE – they poll schools individually for data from the "senior surveys" and "post graduation reports" – questionnaires the schools give or send to graduating students to get some picture of how well they do right after graduation. The Nerd surveys claim a response rate of 68% of schools they polled, which totaled more than 100 schools and 290 programs attended by more than 400,000 students.

That sounds good, but is still a small slice of the total 3,000 or so schools in the country, 500 of which produce engineers. The data is also a little sketchy; there is no consistent way to get the data from students and no way to cross-check it with employers, making it hard to verify numbers provided by students, hard to estimate how broad a sample each school is getting from each of its programs, and hard to be sure that the numbers provided reflect the experience of the huge percentage of schools that don't collect the data, according to Edwin Koc, the research chief at NACE, who is trying to put a standardized methodology together and get schools to follow it.
 
Variability by specialty:
What Koc says about CS/CE/EE: Engineers always been at the top of pay scales; highest-paying majors are the ones with the most specific technical skills. 4.5% of all bachelors' degrees are Engineering. CS has been rising steadily and is up to 3.5%. Classifying majors is tricky; no standard among schools. Stanford has no computer engineers – they're all listed under CS. At Princeton it's the opposite.

EE tends to be more hardware-focused. Software-focused skills have been the ones growing fastest, though not all are listed as CS rather than EE or CE or whatever.
Where there is a difference, and where the main electronics-design major is not EE, CE is focused on hardware (usually) and CS focuses more on software and networking (but not always).
 
Computer-engineer salaries are comfortably above every other specialty but Aerospace in this list of median salaries for various specialties. These are 2010 salaries as collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for all salaries in those specialties, not starting- or first-year salaries. (collected and reposted here: http://www.bestvalueschools.com/top-25-ranked-engineering-programs-with-the-best-return-on-investment/)
 
Computer Engineer: $98,810
Aerospace Engineer: $97,480
Chemical Engineer: $90,300
Electrical and Electronics Engineer: $87,180
Biomedical Engineer: $81,540
Environmental Engineer: $78,740
Mechanical Engineer: $78,160
Civil Engineer: $77,560
Industrial Engineer: $76,100
Agricultural Engineer: $71,090
 

Kevin Neilson
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Re: Undergrad?
Kevin Neilson   6/10/2014 10:41:44 PM
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Thanks; that's a lot of info.  The data sounds like it's self-reported by schools based on self-reported surveys, so there are a couple of layers of possible inaccuracy involved.  People who return the surveys may not be a cross-section and surveys probably aren't returned by the unemployed.  Then there is the whole correlation issue; just because I join a sorority of beautiful women doesn't mean I'll end up being a beautiful woman.  There is self-selection among the members.

A lot of law schools will hire recently-graduated students who can't find jobs to do menial work around campus.  This is purely to boost their numbers so they can say all of their graduates found jobs.  This really happens.  Therefore I don't trust the numbers reported by schools much at all.  They are pretty unethical.

-Kevin

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/11/2014 1:44:01 AM
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Right. Unless everyone is forced too report salary and job details and you have access to that info, the data will be far from perfect. Maybe if data could be gleaned from tax returns, it would be somewhat accurate.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Undergrad?
Susan Rambo   6/11/2014 11:34:55 AM
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Right. Unless everyone is forced too report salary and job details and you have access to that info, the data will be far from perfect. Maybe if data could be gleaned from tax returns, it would be somewhat accurate.

elctrnx_lyf
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Re: Undergrad?
elctrnx_lyf   6/10/2014 6:29:27 AM
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I want to go back to one of these schools to enjoy the great college environment.

_hm
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Correction - Top 10 US Electrical ...
_hm   6/9/2014 7:48:11 PM
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EETimes is Global. If your intent is Top ten US, you must state it in your heading.

Outside US, student may get better pay too.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Correction - Top 10 US Electrical ...
Susan Rambo   6/9/2014 8:37:57 PM
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It would be interesting to see the worldwide numbers for schools around the globe. Thanks _Hm. I'm glad you see EE Times (US) as global. EE Times started in the United States and EE Times.com mostly serves a US audience so the articles assume a US focus.  Separately owned EE Times franchises exist in Europe, Japan, Asia and we do share some content.  Sorry we didn't make that more clear.

_hm
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Re: Correction - Top 10 US Electrical ...
_hm   6/10/2014 5:42:10 PM
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@Susan: How about including Great North Canada?

 

Susan Rambo
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Re: Correction - Top 10 US Electrical ...
Susan Rambo   6/10/2014 6:40:30 PM
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Good point. EE Times should cover all of North America, so we should include Canada and Mexico. I'm not sure if Canadian or Mexican schools show up in the reports our reporter looked at.

zeeglen
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Can't Resist...
zeeglen   6/10/2014 7:00:03 PM
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@hm How about including Great North Canada?

There was a time I worked in the Great White North along the shore of the Arctic Ocean not far from the little town of Tuktoyaktuk.  I bought a souvenir sweatshirt that was printed "University of Tuktoyaktuk", and then in larger font "TUK-U".

I loved that sweatshirt, then one day the ex wore it while painting a bedroom...

splrf
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Re: Correction - Top 10 US Electrical ...
splrf   7/2/2014 8:40:13 AM
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As another non-US based reader I must admit that I am surprised by this, aspecially as I enjoy many articles of the very British mr. Maxfield here. And not to mention the EETimes subtext: "connecting the global electronics community".

allcurious
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Cash Rules Everything Around Me CREAM?
allcurious   6/9/2014 9:21:48 PM
I remember back in highschool I looked up a list of jobs that I wanted to have, but started filtering out by average salaries of them. I eventually got into engineering related field, specifically R&D. I like my work for what I do, not by how much I receive for it. Articles like this can make prospective students to choose these disciplines for the money, not for their passion for education and their personal value.

Money is probably the few commodity with widely harmonized value, but they shouldn't be the only thing in life.

Show this article to all those Silicon Valley high-school-dropout CEOs and ask them what they think. In my opinion, these drop tous chose to do what they love, and I am sure they didn't want to make money at first (other wise, they wouldn't have dropped out IF this statistic the article shows is true).

Maybe having articles like "Top 10 ECE schools by crime rate" be more useful so at least the prospective students know where to study safe.

I really liked this kind of article when I was a student, but I have figured out it is non-sense when I started working.

kfield
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Salaries hard to pin down
kfield   6/10/2014 8:12:03 AM
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Interesting effort here, but would love to see further details - when it comes to salary information, I think it is among the hardest data to get. I recently tried to research average salariies for analog engineers and the ranges I came up with over the Internet were so broad they were useless. So I went to the source: A hiring manager in Silicon Valley, who could tell me exactly the range they were paying, and for what. When it comes to engineering, the skill sets are so diverse it's hard to pin it down by a broad term like "analog engineer."

EmbeddedSteve718
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Yea - But. . . .
EmbeddedSteve718   6/10/2014 9:47:20 AM
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This counts for something:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/blog/2014/05/congratulations-rit-you-are-ou.html

YES - RIT Grad:  BS in Computer Engineering - 1983 . . . Still Geeky after all these years!!!!

Susan Rambo
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