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Scientific Programmer Careers

The days of scientists haphazardly mixing chemicals in basement labs are long gone. Today's labs are much more high-tech than that and often involve complicated software to track experiments. Since most scientists don't specialize in programming in addition to physics or chemistry, the scientific programmer helps them out.

A scientific programmer works with scientists to develop software tools to meet the needs of their experiment. They can design tools that help process large amounts of data, modify existing products to fit the needs of the lab, or even code something from scratch. The scientific programmer also maintains the software tools in a lab and makes sure that there are no bugs.

Many scientific programmers have advanced degrees such as master's or doctoral degrees. It takes a real smart cookie to master computer coding and complicated lab sciences like the scientific programmer do.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a scientific programmer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $40.93 an hour? That's $85,142 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -17,900 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Scientific Programmer Do

There are certain skills that many scientific programmers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed detail oriented, troubleshooting skills and analytical skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a scientific programmer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.6% of scientific programmers included python, while 7.5% of resumes included linux, and 6.7% of resumes included software development. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the scientific programmer job title. But what industry to start with? Most scientific programmers actually find jobs in the technology and education industries.

How To Become a Scientific Programmer

If you're interested in becoming a scientific programmer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 64.1% of scientific programmers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 19.5% of scientific programmers have master's degrees. Even though most scientific programmers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a scientific programmer. When we researched the most common majors for a scientific programmer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on scientific programmer resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a scientific programmer. In fact, many scientific programmer jobs require experience in a role such as software engineer. Meanwhile, many scientific programmers also have previous career experience in roles such as research assistant or programmer.

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Average Salary
$85,142
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
47,603
Job Openings

Scientific Programmer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Scientific Programmer

Top Careers After Scientific Programmer

Scientific Programmer Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Scientific Programmer

Scientific Programmers in America make an average salary of $85,142 per year or $41 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $113,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $63,000 per year.
Average Salary
$85,142
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Newark, CA
Salary Range90k - 132k$110k$109,897
Houston, TX
Salary Range67k - 95k$81k$80,553
Chicago, IL
Salary Range66k - 95k$80k$79,886
Wellesley, MA
Salary Range64k - 95k$79k$78,710
Silver Spring, MD
Salary Range64k - 94k$78k$77,933
Lincoln, NE
Salary Range61k - 90k$74k$74,480
$52k
$132k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Scientific Programmer
Scientific Programmer
California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
03/10/2021
03/10/2021
$101,00003/10/2021
$101,000
Scientific Programmer I
Scientific Programmer I
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
02/09/2021
02/09/2021
$63,17002/09/2021
$63,170
Scientific Programmer/Software Engineer
Scientific Programmer/Software Engineer
University of Colorado
University of Colorado
12/07/2020
12/07/2020
$89,62012/07/2020
$89,620
Scientific Programmer
Scientific Programmer
Spherion
Spherion
11/07/2020
11/07/2020
$85,00011/07/2020
$85,000
Scientific Programmer
Scientific Programmer
Spherion
Spherion
10/09/2020
10/09/2020
$85,00010/09/2020
$85,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Scientific Programmer Demographics

Gender

male

71.9 %

female

18.6 %

unknown

9.5 %

Ethnicity

White

65.5 %

Asian

20.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7 %

French

28.6 %

Portuguese

7.1 %
See More Demographics

Scientific Programmer Education

Majors

Physics
13.1 %

Degrees

Bachelors

64.1 %

Masters

19.5 %

Doctorate

8.7 %

Top Colleges for Scientific Programmers

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. Brown University

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,466
Enrollment
6,752

10. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Scientific Programmer That You May Like

Data Science: Data Mining & Natural Language Processing in R
udemy
4.3
(299)

Harness the Power of Machine Learning in R for Data/Text Mining, & Natural Language Processing with Practical Examples...

Become a Professional Python Programmer
udemy
4.3
(1,612)

Learn all the important skills Python programmers need to get all the best programming jobs...

Statistical Data Analysis with SAS
udemy
4.3
(331)

Understanding the Data Flow in SAS: Learn SAS Programming from Data Importing, Management, Manipulation to Data Analysis...

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Full Time
Part Time
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Top Skills For a Scientific Programmer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.6% of scientific programmers listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and troubleshooting skills are important as well.

Best States For a Scientific Programmer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a scientific programmer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Connecticut, and Virginia. Scientific programmers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $114,836. Whereas in California and Connecticut, they would average $104,257 and $101,372, respectively. While scientific programmers would only make an average of $100,993 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Scientific Programmer Jobs:
2,134
Highest 10% Earn:
$160,000
Location Quotient:
1.52
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Virginia

Total Scientific Programmer Jobs:
2,857
Highest 10% Earn:
$143,000
Location Quotient:
1.57
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. California

Total Scientific Programmer Jobs:
7,214
Highest 10% Earn:
$149,000
Location Quotient:
1.28
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Scientific Programmer Employers

1. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$94,313
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
20+
2. Unisys
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$74,032
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
12+
3. UT Southwestern Medical Center
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$76,544
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
10+
4. Science Applications International ...
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$79,975
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
8+
5. New York University
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$70,125
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
6+
6. Chapin Hall Center For Children
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$87,716
Scientific Programmers Hired: 
6+
Updated October 2, 2020