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Become An Information Scientist

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Working As An Information Scientist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $84,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Information Scientist Do

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields.

Duties

Computer and information research scientists typically do the following:

  • Explore fundamental issues in computing and develop theories and models to address those issues
  • Help scientists and engineers solve complex computing problems
  • Invent new computing languages, tools, and methods to improve the way in which people work with computers
  • Develop and improve the software systems that form the basis of the modern computing experience
  • Design experiments to test the operation of these software systems 
  • Analyze the results of their experiments
  • Publish their findings in academic journals and present their findings at conferences

Computer and information research scientists create and improve computer software and hardware.

Creating and improving software involves working with algorithms, which are sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Some computer tasks are very difficult and require complex algorithms. Computer and information research scientists try to simplify these algorithms to make computer systems as efficient as possible. The algorithms allow advancements in many types of technology, such as machine learning systems and cloud computing.

Computer and information research scientists design new computer architecture that improves the performance and efficiency of computer hardware. Their work often leads to technological advancements and efficiencies, such as better networking technology, faster computing speeds, and improved information security. In general, computer and information research scientists work at a more theoretical level than do other computer professionals.  

Many people with a computer and information research science background become postsecondary teachers. In general, researchers in an academic setting focus on computer theory, although those working for businesses or scientific organizations usually focus on projects that may produce profits.

Some computer scientists work with electrical engineers, computer hardware engineers, and other specialists on multidisciplinary projects. The following are examples of types of specialties for computer and information research scientists:

Data mining. Computer and information research scientists write algorithms that are used to detect and analyze patterns in very large datasets. They improve ways to sort, manage, and display data. Computer scientists build algorithms into software packages that make the data easier for analysts to use. For example, they may create an algorithm to analyze a very large set of medical data in order to find new ways to treat diseases. They may also look for patterns in traffic data to help clear accidents faster.

Robotics. Some computer and information research scientists study how to improve robots. Robotics explores how a machine can interact with the physical world. Computer and information research scientists create the programs that control the robots. They work closely with engineers who focus on the hardware design of robots. Together, these workers test how well the robots do the tasks they were created to do, such as assemble cars and collect data on other planets.

Programming. Computer and information research scientists design new programming languages that are used to write software. The new languages make software writing more efficient by improving an existing language, such as Java, or by making a specific aspect of programming, such as image processing, easier.

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How To Become An Information Scientist

Most jobs for computer and information research scientists require a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field. In the federal government, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some jobs.

Education

Most computer and information research scientists need a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. A Ph.D. usually requires 4 to 5 years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, typically in a computer-related field, such as computer science or information systems. During their first 2 years in a Ph.D. program, students take a variety of computer science classes. They then choose a specialty and spend the remaining years in the program doing research within that specialty.

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

Advancement

Some computer scientists may become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer and information research scientists must be organized in their thinking and analyze the results of their research to formulate conclusions.

Communication skills. Computer and information research scientists must communicate well with programmers and managers and be able to clearly explain their conclusions to people with no technical background. They often present their research at conferences.

Critical-thinking skills. Computer and information research scientists work on many complex problems.

Detail oriented. Computer and information research scientists must pay close attention to their work, because a small programming error can cause an entire project to fail.

Ingenuity. Computer and information research scientists must continually come up with innovative ways to solve problems, particularly when their ideas do not initially work as intended.

Logical thinking. Computer algorithms rely on logic. Computer and information research scientists must have a talent for reasoning.

Math skills. Computer and information research scientists must have knowledge of advanced math and other technical topics that are critical in computing.

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Information Scientist Demographics

Gender

Female

45.1%

Male

44.4%

Unknown

10.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Black or African American

12.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.5%

Asian

10.4%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

Urdu

20.0%

German

20.0%

Hindi

20.0%
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Information Scientist Education

Schools

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

9.4%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

7.5%

Northern Illinois University

7.5%

University of Pittsburgh -

7.5%

Saint Joseph's University

5.7%

Drexel University

5.7%

Dominican University

5.7%

Saint Louis College of Pharmacy

5.7%

Syracuse University

3.8%

University of the Sciences

3.8%

Albany College of Pharmacy

3.8%

North Carolina State University

3.8%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.8%

Long Island University - C W Post Campus

3.8%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.8%

Wayne State University

3.8%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

Saint Johns University

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.8%
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Majors

Pharmacy

21.1%

Business

12.0%

Biology

10.5%

Library Science

10.5%

Library Science And Administration

6.8%

Computer Science

5.3%

Chemistry

4.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.8%

Law

3.8%

Management

2.3%

Psychology

2.3%

Information Sciences

2.3%

Management Information Systems

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Chemical Engineering

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Public Health

1.5%

Microbiology

1.5%

Health Sciences And Services

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%
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Degrees

Masters

37.4%

Bachelors

23.0%

Doctorate

22.4%

Other

12.1%

Certificate

2.9%

Associate

1.1%

Diploma

1.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$45,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$154,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Clifton Park, NY
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.5 years
How much does an Information Scientist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Information Scientist in the United States is $84,409 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $155,000.

Real Information Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Epoch.com, LLC Santa Monica, CA Jul 21, 2011 $230,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Google Inc. New York, NY Dec 01, 2011 $206,900
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 31, 2011 $170,040
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Google Inc. New York, NY May 18, 2011 $170,000
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 10, 2011 $169,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jun 24, 2011 $160,021
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 25, 2011 $157,300
Comp & Information Scientists, Research Rocket Fuel Inc. CA Dec 09, 2011 $155,000
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 23, 2012 $154,800
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 29, 2011 $150,000
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 16, 2012 $150,000
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 25, 2011 $150,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 09, 2011 $148,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 07, 2011 $147,500
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Shopping.com (California), Inc. Brisbane, CA Oct 21, 2011 $114,308
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Evolution Robotics, Inc. Pasadena, CA Oct 17, 2011 $114,275
Computer and Information Scientist, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 24, 2012 $114,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 25, 2011 $114,000
Computer & Information Scientist Multiplan, Inc. Rockville, MD Aug 19, 2014 $113,959
Research Information Scientist Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. Johnston, IA Apr 16, 2015 $113,412
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Quintiles, Inc. Morrisville, NC Mar 06, 2012 $113,000 -
$121,450
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Landmark Graphics Corporation Houston, TX Jun 11, 2012 $112,305
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Oak Ridge, TN Jul 18, 2012 $95,796
Computer and Information Scientist, Research KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Nov 22, 2011 $95,642
Computer and Information Scientist (SR. Business Vopak North America Inc. Houston, TX Feb 26, 2011 $95,481
Research Information Scientist Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Johnston, IA Dec 26, 2012 $95,004
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Sensory, Inc. Portland, OR Aug 12, 2011 $95,000
Information Scientist General Electric Co-Global Research Center Niskayuna, NY Feb 07, 2011 $95,000
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Irvine, CA Apr 11, 2012 $93,500
Computer and Information Scientists, Research Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) Oak Ridge, TN Sep 19, 2011 $93,480

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Top Skills for An Information Scientist

  1. Literature
  2. Data Entry
  3. Scientists
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed daily news report for product development and drug discovery Skills Used Database Maintenance Literature Research Cataloging Communication Skills
  • Handpicked to train new hires in compliant data collection, data entry, data transfer and reporting.
  • Served as member of department's Senior Advisory Council representing Philadelphia-based scientists' interests and concerns to senior leadership.
  • Develop and deliver training on EndNote and competitive intelligence.
  • Advised/trained R&D clients on archiving and retention requirements for best alignment with FDA standards.

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Top 10 Best States for Information Scientists

  1. Washington
  2. New Mexico
  3. California
  4. Minnesota
  5. Virginia
  6. North Carolina
  7. Texas
  8. New York
  9. Massachusetts
  10. District of Columbia
  • (601 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)
  • (1,925 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (468 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (395 jobs)
  • (644 jobs)
  • (607 jobs)
  • (119 jobs)

Top Information Scientist Employers

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