Main image of article This Tech Specialty Is the Highest-Paying College Major

Anyone considering a four-year degree in a tech specialization wants to know if all their hard work and learning will pay off.

Here’s the good news: some tech-focused degrees can earn graduates an extraordinary salary within just a few years of leaving school. A new study by PayScale for CBS analyzed the highest-paying college majors on the basis of early-career median compensation (specifically, estimated salaries three years out of school). While the study’s total list includes 59+ degrees, we’ve reprinted the top 10 below; as you can see, a cross-disciplinary degree in computer science and electrical engineering hit the top spot:

The entire list includes many tech degrees, including mechatronics (24th), information security (49th), and database management (55th). If you have a specialized degree and can demonstrate your aptitude for working well with others, chances are good that employers will take a chance on you, even if you don’t have the same experience level of other folks in the hiring pool.

Keep in mind that the tech unemployment rate currently stands at 2 percent, and many organizations out there have an intense need for technology professionals such as software developers. When applying for jobs as a new graduate, you can absolutely list class and personal projects on your resume; if you and some friends created a game or app for fun, for instance, you should consider using that as an example of your skillset (and teamwork abilities).

Many companies don’t necessarily need you to have a four-year degree. Even with highly specialized roles such as cybersecurity engineer, simply demonstrating that you can apply the right skills to solving the company’s most pressing issues can land you a job offer. However, expect a tough technical interview to evaluate your skills.

“Multiple technology companies have publicly announced their commitment to prioritize skills over degrees in IT occupations,” read “The Emerging Degree Reset,” a recent report published by the Emsi Burning Glass Institute and Harvard Business School. “Several, most notably Accenture and IBM, have made material changes in job requirements across their organizations. Others have made only modest changes in their requirements for specific positions, suggesting that corporate commitments have yet to translate to practical implementation of skills-based hiring strategies.”

Even so, having a four-year degree on your resume will assure hiring managers and recruiters that you’ve learned the necessary concepts to do a particular job. And it’s clear that highly specialized degrees can pay off.