Computer engineer salaries in the United States hit a record high in 2016, and now many are questioning whether it’s time to put the bubble behind us.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a computer engineer in the U.S. rose to $1.7 million last year.
That’s up from $1 million in 2016.
The BLS figures only count people who worked for an organization for a fixed amount of time and don’t count people employed for less than two years.
For example, a computer scientist at Google is counted as an employee if they work for two years and work at Google for more than one.
A computer engineer with a bachelor’s degree is considered an independent contractor and not counted by the BLS.
So while the average pay is up, the number of computer engineers has shrunk in recent years.
In 2016, the median salary of an independent computer engineer was $76,500.
That number dropped to $53,200 in 2018, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
That means the median wage for an independent engineer in 2018 was $59,700, down from $66,000 in 2016 when they were averaging $78,200.
That drop in the average of independent engineers has been accompanied by a fall in the number in the job market.
Some people who were previously in the industry say that the job growth has slowed in recent months.
“People are afraid to work in the technology space, but the tech industry has not experienced the kind of job growth it needs to sustain the demand for people,” said Joe Pomeranz, president of Pomerantz Consulting in Washington, D.C. “That means more of the workers are just leaving, and it’s more and more a low-wage job.”
The BIS reported that there are 8,000 more computer engineers working in 2017 than in 2016 — and that the number is expected to grow to 13,000 by 2022.
But it’s unclear what will happen to the industry as a whole.
Some experts have suggested that there’s an underlying trend toward lower salaries.
“The reality is that as more and the number gets larger, more people get into the industry,” said Pomerants.
“It’s more likely that they’re just taking a break, and then maybe they’ll come back.”