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Become A Senior Computer Scientist

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Working As A Senior Computer Scientist

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

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $92,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Computer 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 A Senior Computer 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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Computer Scientist 4.6 years
Software Leader 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Senior Computer Scientist
Consultant 4.1%
Programmer 3.4%
Top Careers After Senior Computer Scientist
Consultant 7.1%
Programmer 3.0%
Architect 2.7%

Do you work as a Senior Computer Scientist?

Senior Computer Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

77.1%

Female

14.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

53.3%

Asian

17.9%

Black or African American

13.1%

Hispanic or Latino

11.2%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

French

11.1%

Persian

11.1%

Spanish

11.1%

Portuguese

5.6%

Chinese

5.6%

German

5.6%

Cherokee

5.6%

Hindi

5.6%

Russian

5.6%

Arabic

5.6%

Mandarin

5.6%

Tamil

5.6%

Korean

5.6%

Carrier

5.6%

Italian

5.6%
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Senior Computer Scientist Education

Schools

Johns Hopkins University

12.8%

George Mason University

7.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

7.0%

University of Maryland - University College

5.8%

Temple University

5.8%

George Washington University

5.8%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

4.7%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.7%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

University of Toledo

4.7%

University of Phoenix

4.7%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.7%

University of Alabama

3.5%

Ohio University -

3.5%

University of Washington

3.5%

National University

3.5%

Strayer University

3.5%

University of Alabama at Huntsville

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Utah State University

3.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

45.2%

Mathematics

6.9%

Computer Information Systems

5.7%

Information Systems

5.7%

Business

5.0%

Management Information Systems

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Management

3.1%

Physics

3.1%

Computer Engineering

2.7%

Finance

2.3%

Chemistry

2.3%

English

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Political Science

1.1%

Biology

1.1%

Mathematics And Computer Science

1.1%

Education

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

38.4%

Bachelors

33.8%

Doctorate

11.9%

Other

10.6%

Associate

2.5%

Certificate

2.2%

Diploma

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$92,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$46,000
Min 10%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$183,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Intellia Therapeutics
Highest Paying City
Lehi, UT
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
5.2 years
How much does a Senior Computer Scientist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Computer Scientist in the United States is $92,361 per year or $44 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $46,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $183,000.

Real Senior Computer Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Program Manager/Sr. Computer Scientist Uchicago Argonne, LLC Lemont, IL Apr 01, 2013 $240,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jun 30, 2015 $185,400
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Sep 21, 2015 $182,265
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jan 07, 2016 $181,900
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Apr 07, 2016 $180,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Jun 09, 2016 $180,000
Senior Computer Scientist, Cloud Technology Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Oct 15, 2016 $180,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated Newton, MA Apr 22, 2016 $179,000
Senior Computer Scientist-Software Development Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jul 10, 2016 $175,000
Senior Computer Scientist, Software Development Adobe Systems Incorporated Irving, TX Jul 27, 2015 $174,716
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA May 05, 2016 $174,716
Senior Computer Scientist, Software Development Adobe Systems Incorporated Irving, TX Jun 29, 2015 $174,716
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Jan 29, 2016 $174,716
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated Seattle, WA Sep 23, 2016 $163,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jun 17, 2016 $159,983
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Feb 05, 2016 $159,983
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA May 01, 2016 $155,325
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Oct 08, 2015 $154,336
SR. Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Aug 22, 2016 $152,500
Senior Computer Scientist (Software Developer) Adobe Systems Incorporated Seattle, WA Mar 02, 2014 $152,138
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Apr 08, 2016 $152,000
Senior Computer Scientist SGT, Inc. Fieldbrook, CA Jun 09, 2014 $140,005
SR. Computer Vision Scientist, Autopilot Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 17, 2016 $140,000 -
$150,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Sep 10, 2014 $134,534 -
$225,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA May 01, 2015 $131,269
SR. Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated Seattle, WA Aug 18, 2016 $122,400
Senior Computer Vision Scientist Hover Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 25, 2015 $121,000
Senior Computer Vision Scientist Hover Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2015 $121,000
Senior Computer Scientist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $117,770

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Top Skills for A Senior Computer Scientist

  1. Database
  2. Web Application
  3. Project Management
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Implemented normalization of the database that reduced data duplication and eliminated resultant data anomalies that had produced inaccurate and incomplete results.
  • Participated advanced training in Visual Studio 2005, .NET Windows Forms, Web Application, and Database Development.
  • Presented evaluation and solutions to senior project management.
  • Established QA production procedures and implemented process improvement for efficient load file production for both advanced processor and legacy computers.
  • Developed data, business, and presentation layers aligned with enterprise architecture and designed relational databases conforming to 3rd Normal Form.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Computer Scientists

  1. Washington
  2. New Mexico
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Hampshire
  7. District of Columbia
  8. New York
  9. New Jersey
  10. Connecticut
  • (389 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (1,248 jobs)
  • (448 jobs)
  • (103 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (114 jobs)
  • (495 jobs)
  • (197 jobs)
  • (97 jobs)

Top Senior Computer Scientist Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Computer Scientist Employers

Senior Computer Scientist Videos

Computer science education: why does it suck so much and what if it didn’t? | Ashley Gavin | TEDxNYU

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