computer research scientist

What does a Computer Research Scientist do?

Computer and information research scientists find new approaches to computing technology as well as studying and solving complex problems in computing for business, science, and other fields. They create and improve computer hardware and software and work at a more theoretical level than other computer professionals. Some computer and information research scientists specialize in computer languages as well as other specialities. Watch a video to learn what a computer research scientist does:

How to Become a Computer Research Scientist

An entry-level position as a computer and information research scientist may vary in education level depending on the industry. However, most employers look for candidates that hold at least a graduate degree (meaning a master’s degree). Some employers though may require a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field. A Ph.D. normally takes 4-5 years of further study after earning your bachelor’s degree in a related field like information systems or computer science. The federal government is the exact opposite, they may accept a candidate that holds a bachelor’s degree.

Once you earn your degree, you will need to gain experience. According to O*NET OnLine, employers may look for candidates that have at least five years of experience. At the same time, you will want to start specializing in an area of research. For instance, in biomedical applications, you may need to take biology classes. Several computer and information research scientists become secondary teachers and some may work with electrical engineers or computer hardware engineers. Other specialties in this career include data mining, robotics, and programming.

Job Description of a Computer Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists have the duty of researching fundamental issues in computing and develop theories and models to address them. They help solve complex computer problems and some create programs to control robots. They have the task of inventing new computing tools, languages, and methods to help people work with computers in a more efficient way.

These scientists improve software systems and design experiments to test the effectiveness of their operation. They analyze experimental results and publish their findings in academic journals. They may also present the findings of their experiments at a conference. The work of computer and information research scientists may advance many types of technology like cloud computing and machine learning systems. He or she should have analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills, as well as be detail-oriented, logical thinking, and have ingenuity. Math skills would also be needed.

Computer Research Scientist Career Video Transcript

Developing the tools and technologies of tomorrow… requires hard work today. Computer and information research scientists invent new approaches to computing technology and improve the use of existing technology. They study complex computing problems and are often at the forefront of solving them for business, science, medicine, and other fields. These research scientists build algorithms or sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do. They may use an algorithm to develop a new computing language, create programs to control robots, and simplify the ways people interact with computers.

Their work often leads to technological advancements, such as better networking technology, faster computing speeds, and improved information security. In general, computer and information research scientists work at a more theoretical level than other computer professionals. Computer and information research scientists work for the federal government, computer systems design firms, research and development departments, and colleges and universities. Most positions are full time. Most computer and information research scientists need a master’s degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. For federal government jobs, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1111.00. O*NET OnLine.