How to Become
a Computer and Information Research Scientist
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
Computer and information research scientists find innovative ways to tackle any computing problems. This entails being involved in various tech fields like data science, programming, and robotics. Because of the scope of the job, computer and information research science professionals are in high demand within the industry.
Entering this field can therefore position you for a more rewarding salary and huge growth potential. This guide will highlight how to become a computer and information research scientist. It also contains information about salary, certification, and job outlook. By the end of the article, you’ll have a better grasp of whether you should pursue this particular career.
What Is a Computer and Information Research Scientist?
A computer and information research scientist studies computing technology for faster computing speeds and improved information security. They find new ways to assemble, program, and link computers. Computer and information research scientists also handle processing and data transfer speeds.
As a computer and information research scientist, you will conduct experiments to test different theories about programs, systems, and new algorithms. You may write research papers on your findings that are published in academic journals. You can work in data science departments, engineering firms, and the federal government.
What Does a Computer and Information Research Scientist Do?
A computer and information research scientist studies and solves computing problems. S/he assesses the data and that leads to technological advancements across sectors like business, science, and medicine. Below are the other key responsibilities of a computer and information research scientist.
Develops Hardware and Software
A computer and information research scientist develops computer software and hardware, improving the programs when needed. The job involves working with algorithms to create computing languages, as well as technological resources.
You will also be responsible for creating machine learning and cloud storage systems. In addition, you will focus on implementing enhancements like stronger network systems, faster computing speeds, and more reliable measures for cyber security.
Simplifies Existing Algorithms
Computer tasks may be difficult and require even more complex algorithms. A computer research scientist simplifies the existing algorithms to make them efficient. You may also create new algorithms to develop other types of technology.
Solves Complex Problems
More fields today like business, medicine and science rely on networking systems and digital data. A computer and information research scientist helps create balance by working with electrical and hardware engineers to solve different computer problems.
You will also be responsible for testing software systems and analyzing the result of these tests. You will subsequently publish these findings in academic journals.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Education Pathways
Before starting a career as a computer and information research scientist, you’ll need proper training. Fortunately, many different pathways lead to this career. Below are the three main paths you can take to become a computer and information research scientist.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Degree
Many employees prefer candidates with advanced degrees. This means that you may need to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field before advancing to a master’s degree.
A significant number of computer and research scientists hold a master’s degree or even a PhD. That said, some employers accept students with bachelor’s degrees alone. Whatever your qualifications, you need to be proficient in computer science, programming methodology, computational theories, and language research, among others.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Bootcamps
Bootcamps offer short yet immersive programs that cover both basic and complex training in highly specialized tech skills. The best coding bootcamps often have hands-on training to improve assimilation as well as career services to accelerate your job search. Computer and information research scientists can pick up the skills they need in coding bootcamps.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Courses
While taking short courses online won’t suffice to launch a career in computer and information research, it can be a great way to upskill. Online courses are ideal for computer and information research scientists who need a refresher or new skills to advance their careers.
Depending on which skill you wish to acquire or improve, you can choose from courses that focus on data visualization, advanced data mining, data analytics with Python, or data analysis with Excel. The courses are usually self-paced, making them ideal for working professionals.
How to Become a Computer and Information Research Scientist: A Step-by-Step Guide
As stated above, you can become a computer and information research scientist by getting a degree and attending a bootcamp. If you choose to earn a bachelor’s degree, here is a step-by-step guide.
Earn a bachelor’s degree
Your path toward becoming a computer and information research scientist usually starts with getting a computer science-related degree. A Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science is also ideal. The program covers crucial skills in statistics, programming, predictive modeling, and machine learning.
Advance your education
Most employers prefer candidates with an advanced degree. This means you will also need to complete your postgraduate degree. A Master’s Degree in Computer Science or Data Science may be ideal. The program should cover big data analytics, data mining, experimental design, and deep learning.
Build your computer skills
To improve your chances of getting a job, hone your computer skills. Be proficient in not just one but multiple programming languages. Learn how to build basic software. Online courses and tutorials can come in handy for these initiatives.
Earn professional certifications
Although not essential for an entry-level job, a professional certification can help you improve your job prospects and even advance your career. This is because professional certifications are a great way to illustrate specific competencies. Some companies that award certifications include IBM, Dell, SAS, and Microsoft.
Apply for jobs
After getting trained up, it’s time to put your skills and knowledge to use. Apply for entry-level positions that meet your career goals.
Top Computer and Information Research Scientist Skills
Technical knowledge is not enough to become a computer and information research scientist. You’ll also need the right skills. Being accomplished in Python, cyber security, machine learning, and the C++ programming language, for example, will make you more valuable to employers in this field. It will also bump up your earning potential.
Below are some of the most important skills in this profession.
Strong Communication and Analytical skills
A computer and information research scientist must be able to communicate appropriately with managers and programmers. You will also need to clearly explain conclusions to other non-technical people, such as stakeholders.
You will often publish your research in academic journals, so strong writing skills will also come in handy. Being organized in your thinking to formulate conclusions from your research should be another string to your bow.
Ingenuity and Advanced Math Skills
Computer and information research scientists need to be equipped with technical skills including algorithm development, data analysis, and machine learning. They must also be able to find innovative ways to handle problems. Advanced math knowledge is essential because it underpins much of the work you will do.
Proficiency in Writing and Presenting
Because computer and information research scientists work on research and development, writing is a key skill in this role. That said, the job also requires presentations to stakeholders and board members. So, a computer and information research scientist will need to learn to present ideas.
You can also expect to work with project managers and marketers who want to understand the processes. Therefore, you must be able to communicate effectively through writing.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Salary and Job Outlook
Computer and information research scientists are some of the best-paid IT employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was $126,830 in 2020.
These professionals undertake development and research work, and this turns ideas into valuable new technology. As more businesses use this technology, the demand for computer and information research scientists will rise as well.
Entry-Level Computer and Information Research Scientist Job Requirements
A master’s degree can be the main requirement for some computer and information research scientist jobs. However, employers do accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree and even bootcamp certificates.
How to Prepare for Your Computer and Information Research Scientist Job Interview
Being prepared for your interview can help you stand out from other applicants. There are a lot of common questions to expect in such interviews. Delivering your answers confidently and correctly can help you get that callback.
Here are some potential interview questions for computer and information research scientists.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the main components of computer systems?
- Explain the difference between a class and a superclass.
- What are the popular operating systems being used today and why?
- What are some of the commonly used computer processors?
Computer and Information Research Scientist Certifications
Computer and information research scientists can select from many certifications to advance their learning. Experts who work with a platform or specific product may need to get a vendor-specific certification. However, if you have plans to switch jobs in the future or for more flexibility, a vendor-neutral certification might be a better choice.
Below are three popular certifications for computer and information research scientists.
This certification qualifies you to work in operations and technical support departments. It also validates your knowledge in several areas like networking, software and hardware troubleshooting, mobile devices, Windows, and operational best practices.
Cisco Certified Network Associate
This certification is a vendor-specific one. It covers Cisco network installation, monitoring, and troubleshooting. Earning this certification means that you are prepared to manage the change to software-driven networks.
Cisco Certified Network Professional
This certification offers three levels for professionals: associate, professional and expert. This certification demonstrates mastery of implementation, network planning, and troubleshooting. You’ll also learn to collaborate on advanced solutions.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer and Information Research Scientist?
The time it takes to become a computer and research information scientist depends on the education path you choose. Bootcamp attendees can enter the workforce within months. On average, bootcamp programs run for 13 weeks, although some can be longer.
If you want to break into the industry with a degree, then you are facing a bigger time commitment. You need to first get a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related course. This will take around four years for full-time students.
After this, you can aim for a master’s degree in the same field. This degree will take another two to three years before you are ready to start applying for jobs.
Why You Should Become a Computer and Information Research Scientist in 2021
The world has gone digital, and there is no going back. Technology will continue to develop as we advance towards the future. Computer and information research scientists are essential for this growth, so the demand for these experts will also increase
You should join this career path because it will open up several opportunities for you. You have the option of joining the tech industry or applying your skills to so many other sectors. This career guarantees a rewarding salary and excellent growth potential.
Computer and Information Research Scientist FAQ
Computer and information research scientists invent, design, and improve new and existing technology and techniques in computing. They also study and handle complex problems in computing for science, business, medical and other fields.
Computer and information research scientists are IT personnel who do more theoretical work compared to other computer professionals. They work with research departments, colleges and universities, government agencies, and computer systems design companies.
In some cases, possessing a Master’s Degree in Computer Science may improve your chances of becoming a highly paid computer and information research scientist. Other employers accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Coding bootcamp training can also qualify you to become a computer and information research scientist.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information research scientists earned $126,830 on average in 2020. This wage can be more depending on the state you live in and your experience level. It also does not include other benefits and bonuses.