Career paths in computer science can go in many different directions. The role of a computer and information research scientist is one of them. It may be less known than the typical computer programming or software engineering jobs. But it comes with the opportunities of great pay and benefits. 

If you want to break into high-demand computer science careers, are interested in a research-oriented job, and would love to work with algorithms, consider becoming a computer and information research scientist.

Whether you are just starting your journey in the professional world or want to pivot to a new career, here is all you need to know about how to become a computer and information research scientist. 

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What Do Computer and Information Research Scientists Do?  

Computer and information research scientists work to improve and create new computer software and hardware. Let us look at the job description of a computer and information research scientist. 

A computer and information research scientist is expected to explore fundamental issues in computing. They develop models and theories that help address these issues. They also work closely with other scientists and engineers to solve complex computing problems. 

It is often the computer and information research scientists that invented new computing languages, methods and tools. They create. They create software systems, design experiments to test the operation of these systems, and analyze the result of their experiments. 

Research scientists publish their findings in academic journals and present them at seminars and conferences. Computer and information research scientists design new computer architectures and algorithms that improve the performance and efficiency of computer hardware.

Steps to Become Computer and Information Research Scientist 

Becoming a computer and information research scientist is a long process. It takes an education that focuses on computer science. It is great if you are inclined towards computer science and its core aspects. But that alone does not suffice. It is a path that requires dedication, hard work and keen intelligence. Being a researcher requires an eye for detail, imagination and a research mentality. Let us look at a step-by-step process of how to become a computer and information research scientist.                                                                                       

Step 1: Identifying a Passion for Computers 

You may be inclined to computers, their inner workings, programming languages or coding from a young age. Having a passion for a particular stream, identifying it and honing your abilities in that area can help as you are on the verge of launching your career. If you are still someone with such interests, you can cultivate them by learning new computer languages, joining clubs focusing on computer systems, extensive reading etc. You can also hone your research skills by learning on your own through various online resources. 

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Step 2: Education 

Starting a computer and information research career can only be backed by a solid education track record. You will need to pour in hard work and persistence. 

You will need an undergraduate degree with computer science or a related subject as a core. Your post-graduate degree should also be a computer-related subject. On the whole, you should have a very good base of the fundamentals of computer systems, programming, machine learning, statistics, predictive modeling etc. 

You can choose a master's program like Simplilearn’s Data Scientist masters program, developed in collaboration with IBM. It is designed to make students ready for research-centric roles in the industry. Some employers also look for a PhD in the relevant area. 

Step 3: Be Industry-Ready with Certifications

Employers today look for certification in candidates as a show of skills. Leading companies like Dell, Microsoft, IBM, and SAS. These prove that you have received training from industry experts.

Computer and Information Research Scientist Salary 

Before you begin a career as a computer and information scientist or attend an interview, you need to be aware of the pay scale and the average pay at different levels. 

Here we take a look at Computer and information research scientists' salaries. These are from verified sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S Department of Labor and other international survey groups like Payscale that compile data from individuals online. Take a look! 

  • Median annual wage as of May 2021is $131,490
  • The annual wage of the lowest 10% is $74,210
  • The highest 10% earned more than $208,000

The major industries they worked in include computer systems designs and related services, software publishers, and research and development in engineering, physical and life science. Other departments include the Federal government, colleges, universities, and professional schools. 

Compared to the US salary scale, the Indian salary scales fares thus: 

  • The average annual computer and information research scientist salary with less than one year of experience is ₹606,782
  • The average salary of a computer scientist with 1-4 years of experience is ₹1,448,276
  • The average salary of a mid-career computer scientist who has 5-9 years of experience is ₹2,367,920
  • The average salary of a computer scientist with 10-19 years of experience is ₹3,008,649

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Computer and Information Research Scientist Skills

An aspiring computer and information research scientist should have a strong knowledge of the core aspects of computer systems like programming languages, coding, software development, technical writing, etc. Apart from these, as a computer scientist, here are some skills you should ensure you have in your arsenal. 

  • Technical and mathematical Skills: Skills like software development, hardware engineering, computer programming, and strong knowledge of mathematics, including discrete mathematics, calculus, statistics, linear algebra etc. 
  • Communication skills: This is a must-have when working in a collaborative environment, especially to explain their research to a technical and non-technical audience. 
  • Technical writing skills: Many scientists require this skill for their work. Creating technical manuals, documenting project data etc., for others, especially in a comprehensive and if needed, non-technical way. 
  • Project management skills: Scientists often have to lead IT teams for different projects. Skills like strategy, delegating tasks, allocating budgets, anticipating outcomes etc are important to carry out projects successfully. 
  • Analytical skills: A computer scientist must have sharp analytical skills to complete various data-driven tasks. They would have to collect, test, evaluate and document data as part of their work. 
  • Problem-solving skills: Having a logical approach and being systematic all account for the process of problem-solving. These skills are important when trying to achieve business objectives. 

Computer and Information Research Scientists Career Path 

The Computer and Information Research Scientists Career Path can be unique for every person. How a person gets there depends on each one’s journey. However, the basics are almost the same. 

For a job role as a computer and information research scientist, one would require a bachelor's in computer science. Graduating from a reputed university adds to the advantage as you get as much exposure and quality in the training you receive. You can then pursue post-graduation in a computer-related field like data science, machine learning etc. Being picky about your major during post-graduation determines a lot of your career path too. 

If you are into research, you can pursue a PhD from a reputed university. You can follow your work with your research findings or find a job in a company that is looking for computer and information research scientist roles. 

You may be assigned an assistant role before being promoted to associate positions. 

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Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US predicts that there will be a 16% growth rate for computer scientists' job roles by 2028. This means there will be an increase in the current number of 31,700 to 37,000. This is triple the national job market growth rate during the same period. The increased data collection and the need for more experts to create processes and programs means increasing demand for computer scientists. Another reason for the rapid growth prediction is the development of cyber security and new software. 

However, the largest growth will be in computer systems design and related jobs, where there are an estimated 2,800 new jobs. There is also a significant increase in the Research and development services job roles. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I become a computer scientist?

You can become a computer scientist by doing a bachelor's, master's and PhD in computer-related fields and applying for research roles in research-oriented companies. 

2. How do I become an information technology researcher?

You can become an information technology researcher by pursuing your bachelor, master's and doctorate in computer-related fields. You can then apply for research roles to become an IT researcher. 

3. How many years does IT take to become a computer scientist?

There is no dedicated timeline for becoming a computer scientist. You can become a computer scientist after completing your PhD and then applying for research roles. 

4. How many hours do computer and information research scientists work?

The number of hours is subjective to the company, project and the complexity of a scientist's work. 

5. Where do information scientists work?

They work in an organization that is research-oriented and developing new technology. 

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The prospects of a computer and information research scientist are vast and rewarding. If this guide has convinced you of the opportunities waiting for you, we strongly suggest you start your journey immediately. Explore, to know more about computer courses.

If you have a bachelor's degree, one of the best ways to move forward is to get a master's degree that will propel you to the world of computer research. At Simplilearn, we offer a stellar chance of doing so with our Data Scientist Master’s Program, which is designed in collaboration with IBM. We provide the world-class training and skill required to become successful in the industry. Sign up with us to enroll now! 

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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