Wondering how to become a computer and information research scientist? This guide may help you understand the steps to achieve this goal. Conversely, if this field is new to you, this guide may give you a greater understanding of computer and information research science.
Computer and information research scientists are in demand, in part because more companies are seeing the benefits of expanding and innovating around their approaches to computer-human interactions and computational philosophy overall.
If this career sounds exciting to you, read on to learn about common steps on how to become a computer and information research scientist.
What is a Computer and Information Research Scientist?
A computer and information research scientist is someone who works with, invents and designs new approaches to computing technology and finds new uses for existing technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these scientists study and solve complex problems in computing that can be used in a variety of settings, including business, science, medicine and beyond.
A computer and information research scientist is a specialist who will:
Consider the overarching concepts of computing and contemplate whether the existing assumptions about best practices and protocols are still relevant to the ever-changing needs of the computer sciences.
Innovate existing technologies while also creating new perspectives on computer usage techniques.
Develop new software and hardware for computers.
Propose, design and execute experiments to assess the quality of current and hypothesized approaches to computer and information science. Once this research is conducted, computer and information research scientists publish their work in academic journals.
Like data scientists, computer and information research scientists design and improve existing algorithms to improve how computers operate. Other specialization options include robotics and program writing.
What Do Computer and Information Research Scientists Actually Do?
To get a better sense of what computer and information research scientists do, it might be helpful to look at a few examples of their work. Have you ever stopped to consider where programming languages come from? Languages like Python and R didn’t just appear out of thin air; they were developed by computer and information research scientists.
Another example is computational ability. When you think about the benefits of buying a new computer, you might consider speed — how quickly your computer accomplishes various tasks. Improving computational speed is another project that might be spearheaded by a computer and information research scientist.
Some computer and information research scientists focus on robotics. Their job is to improve the functionality of specific robots, making sure they are delivering on the capabilities their users require.
Other computer and information research scientists zero in on data science work such as predictive modeling using algorithms to improve the efficiency of data systems.
Steps to Become a Computer and Information Research Scientist
The minimum qualification for computer and information research scientists is generally a master’s in an aligning subject, according to the BLS. If you have an interest in becoming a computer and information research scientist, there are several common steps involved.
First, you may want to consider your educational background and assess whether your knowledge and interest in such things as advanced mathematics, programming and critical thinking is on par with what will be required.
If you are missing some of the prerequisites, enrolling in a coding bootcamp or data science short course may help fill in that gap.
Berkeley Coding Boot Camp is a 12-week, full-time or 24-week, part-time web development course designed to help students gain the skills to enter or advance their career in web development.
Once you have a plan how to pursue your studies, you may want to meet with others in the field and with companies that work with computer and information research scientists as a final confirmation that their day-to-day workflow and project focus matches the types of projects you can see yourself wanting to engage with after your course of study.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Job Outlook
The median wage for computer and information research scientists was $59.06 per hour and $122,840 annually in 2019, according to the BLS. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers earned more and half earned less. The lowest 10% earned less than $69,990, and the highest 10% earned more than $189,780.
- Software publishers , $141,820.
- Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences, $134,490.
- Computer systems design and related services, $129,290.
- Federal government, excluding Postal Service, $109,370.
- Colleges, universities and professional schools; state, local and private, $81,910.
The job outlook for computer and information research scientists is strong, according to the BLS. The number of jobs is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than all occupations. This growth is attributed to continuing demand for new and better technologies, which computer and information research scientists help develop. Other key factors include the increasing need for cybersecurity, software and programming language development and data-mining services.
Last updated: November 2020