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Computer and Information Research Scientists

At a Glance

  • Always work as a team
  • Have a high level of social interaction
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Have a master's degree

Career summary

Computer and information research scientists identify computing problems, find solutions, and create new approaches to existing technology.

Computer and information research scientists create and apply new approaches to technology and find new uses for current technology. They study and solve problems in computing for business, science, engineering, and other fields.

Scientists find issues with computer software and hardware and develop solutions. They also work on developing new computer models and software programs. Sometimes they meet with managers and other staff to figure out computing needs and system requirements. 

Computer and information research scientists maintain network security. They also manage budgets for computer-related goals, policies, and procedures. They might train new staff and teach them about the computer systems in place.

They sometimes work on projects including:

Related careers

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to computer and information research scientists.

Common work activities

Computer and information research scientists perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, computer and information research scientists:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Computer and information research scientists frequently:

It is important for computer and information research scientists to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for computer and information research scientists to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Computer and information research scientists need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a computer and information research scientist, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most computer and information research scientists have a master’s degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering.

Those who work in a specialized field may need knowledge of that field. For example, those working on biomedical applications may need to have taken some biology classes.

Work experience

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

Because of the fast changing demands of technology, employers often provide training or pay for college course work. This is so you can update your technical skills.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be computer systems officers. Training lasts from five to 18 weeks, depending on your specialty. You need at least a bachelor's degree to enter this military occupation.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know


Computer and Information Research Scientists (SOC 15-1111)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $35.74 $50.76 $66.40 $82.42 (1)
Monthly $6,194 $8,797 $11,507 $14,283 (1)
Yearly $74,350 $105,580 $138,110 $171,430 (1)
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $30.79 $34.64 $45.41 $54.00 $60.16
Monthly $5,336 $6,003 $7,870 $9,358 $10,426
Yearly $64,036 $72,055 $94,448 $112,328 $125,137
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $41.63 $56.28 $71.98 $88.65 (2)
Monthly $7,214 $9,753 $12,474 $15,363 (2)
Yearly $86,592 $117,070 $149,722 $184,395 (2)
    Vancouver Hourly $37.02 $46.83 $58.51 $74.85 (2)
Monthly $6,416 $8,116 $10,140 $12,972 (2)
Yearly $77,002 $97,416 $121,697 $155,682 (2)
United States Hourly $33.28 $44.06 $56.91 $71.86 $88.38
Monthly $5,767 $7,636 $9,863 $12,453 $15,316
Yearly $69,230 $91,650 $118,370 $149,470 $183,820

(1) Wages are greater than $90/hour or $187,200/year.
(2) Wage estimate is not available.

Wages vary by employer and area of the country.

Full-time computer and information research scientists usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave. Some employers also offer a retirement plan.

Employment and outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Computer and information research scientists (SOC 15-1111)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 2,315 35.1% 16.1% 342
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 80 3.8% 11.9% 5
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 21 38.1% 14.6% 3
    King County 1,866 44.7% 19.6% 318
    Pierce County 10 10.0% 15.2% 1
    Snohomish County 35 8.6% 12.4% 3
United States 31,700 16.7% 5.2% 3,200

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for computer and information research scientists is expected to be very strong. As the demand for new and better technology grows, so will the demand for computer scientists.

Companies investing in newer, faster, and mobile technologies will want computer and information research scientists to provide feedback on new products.

Other resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science (external link)
1200 New York Ave, NW
American Mathematical Society (external link)
201 Charles Street
Providence, RI 02904
American Society for Information Science and Technology (external link)
8555 - 16th Street, Suite 850
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Association for Computing Machinery (external link)
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor1
New York, NY 10019-7434
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (external link)
Association for Women in Computing - Puget Sound Chapter (external link)
3743 S. 170th Street
Sea-Tac, WA 98188
Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technology (external link)
Computing Research Association (external link)
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036-4632
Computing Technology Industry Association (external link)
3500 Lacey Road, Suite 100
Downers Grove, IL 60515


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster