Highest Paying Jobs Out of College
The term “entry-level job” might bring to mind dingy cubicles, fetching coffee, long hours, or a small paycheck. However, depending on your degree and qualifications, this may not be the case.
With the right diploma and experience, as well as a stellar job search and interview, you could catch one of these coveted roles. A promising role right out the gate could mean financial stability, and paying off those pesky student loans sooner.
20 Highest Paying Jobs for New Grads
Ready to rake in the dough? Read on for 20 of the top paying jobs out of college, according to research by
1. Data Scientist
The buzz around “big data” has made data scientist roles more lucrative, despite the rise in the role’s popularity. An entry-level data scientist can expect a median salary of $95,000 . Typically, these roles ask for a degree in data science, math, computer science, engineering, or statistics.
2. Software Engineer
While coding bootcamps give many applicants a leg up in the coding world, entry-level software engineering jobs typically ask for a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or information technology. The average base pay for an entry-level software engineer role is a little over $85,000 .
3. Investment Banking Analyst
A banking analyst is a common entry-level role at banks and financial institutions. These roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting or economics. The median starting salary for this role is $85,000 .
4. Product Designer
While a product designer typically, well, designs products from software to cars to shoes, the background for this role will vary widely based on the industry you plan to enter. These roles typically look for a degree in engineering, industrial design, or architecture. As an entry-level product designer, the average salary is just over $80,000 .
5. Systems Engineer
A systems engineer develops or manages complex computer systems for their employer or clients. This often means working with the hardware and software teams, as well as programmers and product development.
Systems engineers often hold a degree in engineering, information technology, or computer science. The average systems engineer salary comes in at just over $77,000 .
6. Product Manager
Product managers are a new, but nonetheless in-demand role in the technology space. Depending on the company and product, the qualifications may vary, but a background or experience in computer science is typically preferred, but not required. The median salary for an entry-level product manager hovers just above $75,000 .
7. UX Designer
A UX, or user experience designer, helps create seamless and functional user experiences in software. This means having a grasp of the way users think—having a background in psychology or sociology can be helpful.
In addition, a UX designer is considering the design of an experience, which means a degree or certification in design can land this role as well. An entry-level UX designer can expect to make a median salary of $73,000 .
8. Implementation Consultant
An implementation consultant is typically called in to help large corporations with special projects—such as updating software on a company-wide scale, or training a large team on new project management tools.
Most often, an implementation consultant job requires a degree in information technology or computer science. The median annual salary for an implementation consultant is $72,000 .
9. Java Developer
As the title explains, Java developers create web-based applications using the Java programming language. This means a background in technology is essential, typically a degree in computer science or computer engineering is preferred. A median annual salary for entry-level Java developers is $72,000 .
10. Software Developer
Software developers work within computer systems, or create applications for computers and smart devices.
They typically hold a degree in information technology, computer science, or software engineering, in addition to fluency in multiple computer languages. The median annual base salary is $68,600 .
11. Process Engineer
Process engineers study the safety and efficiency of a process within the world of chemical engineering. A degree in engineering, or more specifically, chemical engineering, is recommended. A process engineer makes a median annual base salary of $68,258 .
12. Front End Developer
A front end developer works on the design, or front facing aspects of websites, code, or other complex software projects.
In the analytical, but technology-focused role, many recommend a degree in information technology, as well as a background analyzing code and debugging applications. The average median annual salary for a front end developer is $67,500 .
13. Product Engineer
A product engineer works to develop and create products for consumers or industries. This includes competition research, design, prototyping, and development. Most product engineers have an engineering degree. The median annual salary for a product engineer is $66,750 .
14. Actuarial Analyst
An actuarial analyst works within a variety of companies and industries to calculate risk assessments. Entry-level actuarial analyst roles typically require a degree in math or actuarial sciences. The median annual salary for an actuarial analyst is $66,250 .
15. Electrical Engineer
An electrical engineer works on the design, development, and testing of electrical equipment. An entry-level role as an electrical engineer often asks for a degree in engineering or electrical engineering specifically. The median annual salary for an electrical engineer is $66,000 .
16. Mechanical Engineer
An entry-level mechanical engineer will often work on a small, single physical component of a much larger system. For example, a single part of a car engine, or one component of a medical device.
To secure a mechanical engineering job, a degree in product design or mechanical engineering is recommended. The median annual salary for a mechanical engineer is $65,000 .
17. Design Engineer
Design engineers are often referred to as industrial engineers, and work to create and develop physical products. Design engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or industrial design. The median annual salary for a design engineer is $65,000 .
18. Applications Developer
An application developer help companies create, manage, and develop new applications. Similar to other jobs in the field, an applications developer might need a bachelor’s in design, computer science, or computer engineering in addition to being able to keep up with new languages and programming. The median annual salary for an applications developer is $65,000 .
19. Test Engineer
A test engineer tests and ensures the quality of manufactured hardware or software in a variety of fields and industries. It’s recommended that a test engineer have at least a B.S. in computer science, if not additional schooling and master’s degrees. The median annual salary for a test engineer is $65,000 .
20. Programmer Analyst
A programmer analyst works to create or improve existing computer programs. A deep knowledge of coding is required, and most entry-level positions as for a bachelor’s degree in computer science. The median annual salary for a programmer analyst is $65,000 .
The Search Process and Preparing for Your Interview
There’s no magic solution to finding the perfect job. While these are some of the top paying jobs, the best job out of college will be different for everyone and might be influenced by your interests and education level.
As you embark on your job search, consider using a mix of online platforms, and in person resources like networking events and your college career center. Don’t forget that things like polishing your resume can make all the difference to potential employers. While your dream company might not be hiring, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for an informational interview.
When you score that coveted interview, try not to take a one size fits all approach to prepping for it. Instead, you could customize your approach by focusing on the original job posting, research the company, and prepare some thoughtful questions for the team member you’ll be speaking with.
Don’t forget, this is not only an interview to see if you fit in at the company, but also vice versa. Pay attention to the interactions you have across the office during the interview, and try to get a sense of how your personality might fit in there.
You’ve Got the Job, Now What?
Maybe you’ve already signed on the dotted line and are looking forward to your first official paycheck. You might be dreaming up what you’ll do with that direct deposit, whether it’s buying things off your wishlist, or getting ahead on paying off student loans during their grace period.
While the allure of a fresh paycheck is undeniable, consider starting a budget, as well as creating a plan to tackle those student loans that will come calling in a few months.
If you’re looking at a monthly student loan payment that takes a substantial portion of your paycheck, you might want to consider refinancing your student loans with SoFi.
Refinancing federal student loans with a private lender eliminates them from federal repayment plans and protections, so it won’t be the right choice for everyone. But with competitive fixed and variable rates, qualifying borrowers could potentially save on interest over the life of the loan.
To get an idea of what refinancing could look like for your student loans, take a look at SoFi’s student loan refinancing calculator. And you can find out if you prequalify, and at what rates, in just a few minutes.
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.
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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.