What do they do?

Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

Also known as:

Computer Scientist, Computer Specialist, Control System Computer Scientist, Research Scientist, Scientific Programmer Analyst

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Computer and Information Research Scientists (SOC 2018) is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in VA

No Data Available
  • 12.8%

    Change

    Ranks #34 in job growth rate
    320

    Job Openings

    Ranks #4 in net job growth

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (22%)
  • Master's degree  (34%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (39%)
  • Associate's degree  (2%)
  • Some college, no degree  (3%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (1%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (<1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Computer and Information Research Scientists

Select Type of Degree:

  • #1
    • Degrees Granted

      40,331
    • Female Students

      8,540
    • Male Students

      31,791
    • Median Starting Salary

      $62,633
  • #2
    • Degrees Granted

      25,561
    • Female Students

      5,380
    • Male Students

      20,181
    • Median Starting Salary

      $53,000
  • #3
    • Degrees Granted

      13,110
    • Female Students

      2,991
    • Male Students

      10,119
    • Median Starting Salary

      $54,033
  • #4
    • Degrees Granted

      9,330
    • Female Students

      2,548
    • Male Students

      6,782
    • Median Starting Salary

      $53,350
  • #5
    • Degrees Granted

      1,369
    • Female Students

      432
    • Male Students

      937
    • Median Starting Salary

      $60,100

People in this career often have these skills:

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Programming - Writing computer programs for various purposes.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
  • Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
  • Assign duties or work schedules to employees.
  • Monitor the performance of computer networks.
  • Maintain computer hardware.
  • Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
  • Design integrated computer systems.
  • Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
  • Evaluate project designs to determine adequacy or feasibility.
  • Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
  • Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details.
  • Manage information technology projects or system activities.
  • Coordinate project activities with other personnel or departments.
  • Develop organizational goals or objectives.
  • Develop performance metrics or standards related to information technology.
  • Train others in computer interface or software use.
  • Participate in staffing decisions.
  • Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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