BY Meghan MalasJuly 29, 2022, 11:27 AM
People walk by Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, as seen in March 2022 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The University of California-Berkeley is regarded as a top-notch institution—especially for those students looking to land a job in Big Tech after graduation. The school is among the upper echelon of STEM universities for its programs in engineering, environmental science, computer science, and mathematics—and more recently, Berkeley has become a leader in information science disciplines like cybersecurity and data science.
The high salaries for Berkeley’s graduates reflect that its programs are highly regarded by employers, as well. Alumni of the university’s master’s degree program in cybersecurity earn a median base salary of more than $214,000. And roles in data science—a similarly burgeoning field—are also delivering high compensation to Berkeley School of Information graduates.
In the U.S., 2021 graduates from Berkeley’s master of information and data science (MIDS) program earned an average annual salary of more than $155,000, according to data provided by the school. The program is ranked No. 2 among the best online master’s in data science degree programs in 2022 by Fortune.
“Our 2021 career report indicates that the data science job market and compensation continue to be strong and growing,” says Rebecca Andersen, senior director of student and alumni career development at the university. “Data science is one of the fastest growing career fields in technology and we anticipate salaries will continue to match this demand.”
Berkeley’s data science grads tend to fetch higher salaries than their MBA counterparts
Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is also recognized as a top-ranked business school, and it landed the No. 13 spot on Fortune’s ranking of the best MBA programs. Haas graduates also report high salaries, with an average annual base salary of nearly $144,000, according to the school’s 2021 employment report. Of note: The average salary for Haas MBA graduates is almost $12,000 less than that of MIDS graduates.
Cost-wise, the MIDS program and the MBA are comparable; a non-resident, full-time MBA student will pay about $76,000 in tuition and fees while an MIDS student pays slightly less than $80,000 for the 27-credit hour program.
Berkeley is a Big Tech feeder school
Although both Haas MBA and MIDS graduates work for a wide array of companies, the most common industry for both is tech. Among the 2021 MBA graduates, 34.1% reported working in the technology industry. While the university doesn’t share specific employment data for MIDS graduates, the top employers for the program’s alumni are all Big Tech companies. By order, the list is:
- Amazon/Amazon Web Services
- Northrop Grumman
Tech companies are acutely aware of the demand for data-savvy workers, and the importance of a robust, data-driven business strategy—dynamics that mean they’re known to compensate data scientists well.
Many data science students already work in tech and return to school to advance their careers, and perhaps their earnings. But Berkeley also attracts MIDS students who come from non-information science or computing backgrounds and are seeking a career change. High school teachers, stay-at-home parents, consultants, military veterans, all types of engineers, and medical professionals—including physicians, a dentist, and pharmacists—have all attended the MIDS program with the goal of pivoting into data science.
“The MIDS program values the diversity of perspectives and transferable skills our students bring to the program,” Andersen says. “Whether they are currently working in the technology or data science field or are making a career pivot—diversity makes the data science field stronger and is essential to creating technology solutions that are inclusive and equitable.”