For those of you aspiring scientists and engineers in the United States, here arehttp://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp" [Broken]. This is the kind of information I wished I had when I was in school, so I wanted to share. For those with a bachelor's degree alone [such as myself] the highest starting median pay and highest median mid-career pay are those with degrees in engineering, the hard sciences, and economics. There are important caveats that ought to be considered here. These are for those with only a bachelors. That means no MBAs were included, no PhD Quants, no full professors. Also, there is no estimate here of the width of the distributions. This is often an important consideration. I am reminded of a discussion I had with a college acquaintance at a local bar some years after we had both graduated. My friend had originally been studying CS, but he switched to business when he read an article about the much greater potential earnings for the business "career ladder". What my friend meant by this expression was the possible kinds of corporate advancement available, with the perks and pay that go with them. In a certain sense he was very right. Successful businessmen can go very far indeed up the ladder, whereas engineers often stay engineers for their entire careers. But what he did not consider is the much wider distribution for business compensation. Some businessmen are successful entrepreneurs, and make millions. Failed entrepreneurs make nothing. Those whose talents top out at managing a dozen people fall somewhere in the middle, and live in a cubicle and can only dream of the corner office. There is wide variation here, depending on luck and talent. Engineers have more pre-selection, and a more limited ceiling, so those who get in tend to do well and everyone is closer in earnings. My friend is in fact more suited to the business world, and should do well. I on the other hand, am not much of a salesman, which is the essential business skill, and would rather design the product that someone else sells. The key is to look to your interests and talents, and see whether you are good enough at those things to earn the kind of living you want. It can sometimes be more rewarding to be an excellent engineer than a sub-par middle manager, or for that matter an excellent plumber or electrician.