How Much Can Computer Science Professionals Earn in Canada?

Industry Advice Computing and IT

The computer science industry is rapidly expanding throughout the world, and Canada is emerging as a new hotspot for professionals in this field. The number of technology jobs in Toronto grew faster than in any other North American city over the past five years, outpacing growth in San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Vancouver is also becoming a top city for tech careers. The city added 13,600 new jobs from 2017 to 2018—a 30 percent increase from the year prior. 

Despite this growth, experts predicted that there would not be enough qualified professionals to fill the estimated 182,000 tech jobs available in Canada by 2019, resulting in strong competition for skilled professionals to fill jobs. Pursuing your master’s degree in computer science can be an effective way to differentiate yourself from others and launch or continue a career in this lucrative field as it continues to evolve. 

Jobs for computer science professionals vary widely, from programming-focused careers to management opportunities in multiple industries and types of organizations. The following guide will introduce you to some of the top jobs in computer science, as well as to how much a computer science professional can earn in Canada. 

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Whether you have a technical or non-technical background, here’s what you need to know.


Salary Factors 

While certain roles will have higher average compensation than others, several factors—including your location, experience level, and special skills—can impact your salary within that role. Keep these in mind as you search for a job, and consider how each one may affect you based on your career and lifestyle decisions

1. Location

The same job may have drastically different salary rates depending on its location. Urban centers typically pay more than suburban settings to help offset the high cost of living in a city, and increased competition for qualified applicants within densely-populated areas may also affect starting salaries. For example, median software engineer salaries in British Columbia are more than $10 per hour higher than those in Nova Scotia, and tech salaries in the province are 66 percent higher than average when compared to other cities. This may be attributable to British Columbia’s larger cities and its many amenities. 

2. Experience Level

As you progress through your career, your salary will generally rise to reflect your increased level of experience. You may be able to gain some of this experience sooner by completing a master’s degree program, which can provide research and real-world learning opportunities that will help you expand your knowledge faster. This degree and the experience it provides can earn you an average annual salary that’s nearly $15,000 higher than those who hold a bachelor’s degree alone. 

3. Specialized Skills

Your skillset differentiates you from the larger pool of applicants, so investing in specific and unique ones, such as learning to code in a particular language, can make you a more marketable applicant. It can also qualify you for a wider range of high-paying roles that require sought-after skills, improving your opportunities and giving you a greater degree of career flexibility. Consider your ideal career path and research the skills you’ll need to stand out, then take advantage of certificate programs, coding bootcamps, networking or mentorship, and other learning methods to improve your abilities. 

Top Computer Science Careers in Canada

The following careers are among the highest-paying computer science roles in Canada, though salaries will vary based on your location, industry, and other factors. 

Computer Systems Manager

Median Salary: $50/hour ($104,000 annually)

New Roles by 2028: 38,100

A computer systems manager oversees a business’s IT department and its related hardware and software, including wireless networking, cloud storage, and other communication systems. Depending on the size of your organization, you may offer hands-on support to employees on a daily basis, or your role could involve more behind-the-scenes work. In both cases, this job is essential in helping organizations maintain reliable computing systems for communication and more. 

Software Engineer

Median Salary: $43.27/hour ($90,000 annually)

New Roles by 2028: 27,500

Software engineers enjoy a huge variety of job types, from coding websites to developing custom software for commercial clients. Each of these will require a different level of coding abilities, coding languages, and other skills based on the job’s requirements. Developing an area of expertise within this role can position you as an expert in your field and offer you consistent career development opportunities as you progress. 

Applications Analyst

Median Salary: $38.46/hour ($79,997 annually)

New Roles by 2028: 113,000

If you enjoy designing, communications, and problem-solving, a career as an applications analyst may be an ideal career. These computer science professionals evaluate clients’ needs, then develop and implement computer application systems to meet them. The role typically requires significant collaboration with clients, coworkers, and fellow designers, so good communication and networking skills will be just as necessary as technical abilities. 

Systems Security Analyst

Median Salary: $38/hour ($79,040 annually)

New Roles by 2028: 113,000

As a systems security analyst, you’ll use your knowledge of computer systems, security solutions, and risk assessment protocols to protect sensitive data and mitigate cyber threats. You may need to conduct penetration testing to identify system weaknesses, then implement software upgrades and train staff to help prevent breaches. These roles are common in financial and business settings, which often require large amounts of personal data to operate. 

Advance Your Computer Science Career with Northeastern 

Northeastern offers two distinct master’s programs for computer science professionals: a traditional program designed for those with work experience in the field, and a second that supports those with a non-technical background. 

Students in the Master of Science in Computer Science program are experienced professionals who are earning their degree to move into higher management roles and take on additional leadership responsibilities. The program offers 11 areas of specialization, including information security, software engineering, networks, and data science. Students can also take the opportunity to complete a co-op and gain real-world experience with one of more than 450 businesses worldwide. 

Northeastern’s Align Master’s in Computer Science provides students seeking a career change or deeper understanding of computer science with the skills they need to excel. Students begin the program with a series of foundational courses, then transfer into the traditional master’s program, where they can take advantage of the many specializations, co-ops, and research opportunities available. 


Download Our Free Guide to Breaking into Computer Science