The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
Sample of reported job titles:
Computer Scientist, Computer Specialist, Control System Computer Scientist, Research Scientist, Scientific Programmer Analyst
Analyze problems to develop solutions involving computer hardware and software.
Apply theoretical expertise and innovation to create or apply new technology, such as adapting principles for applying computers to new uses.
Assign or schedule tasks to meet work priorities and goals.
Meet with managers, vendors, and others to solicit cooperation and resolve problems.
Design computers and the software that runs them.
Conduct logical analyses of business, scientific, engineering, and other technical problems, formulating mathematical models of problems for solution by computers.
Evaluate project plans and proposals to assess feasibility issues.
Participate in multidisciplinary projects in areas such as virtual reality, human-computer interaction, or robotics.
Consult with users, management, vendors, and technicians to determine computing needs and system requirements.
Develop and interpret organizational goals, policies, and procedures.
Develop performance standards, and evaluate work in light of established standards.
Maintain network hardware and software, direct network security measures, and monitor networks to ensure availability to system users.
Direct daily operations of departments, coordinating project activities with other departments.
Participate in staffing decisions and direct training of subordinates.
Approve, prepare, monitor, and adjust operational budgets.
Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.
Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Detailed Work Activities
Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
Assign duties or work schedules to employees.
Maintain computer hardware.
Monitor the performance of computer networks.
Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
Design integrated computer systems.
Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
Evaluate project designs to determine adequacy or feasibility.
Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details.
Coordinate project activities with other personnel or departments.
Manage information technology projects or system activities.
Develop organizational goals or objectives.
Develop performance metrics or standards related to information technology.
Participate in staffing decisions.
Train others in computer interface or software use.
Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.
Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 94% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 69% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Sitting — 54% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Contact With Others — 62% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
Telephone — 64% responded “Every day.”
Freedom to Make Decisions — 54% responded “A lot of freedom.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 27% responded “Important.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.”
Time Pressure — 66% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Deal With External Customers — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
Coordinate or Lead Others — 27% responded “Very important.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Important results.”
Level of Competition — 68% responded “Moderately competitive.”
Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
Public Speaking — 40% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
Frequency of Decision Making — 36% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
- Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
- Related Experience
- Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
- Job Training
- Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
- Job Zone Examples
- These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.
- SVP Range
- Over 4 years of preparation (8.0 and above)
Training & Credentials
- State training
- Local training
- Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov
to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes.
Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Wages & Employment Trends
- Median wages (2020)
- $60.97 hourly, $126,830 annual
- State wages
- Local wages
- Employment (2020)
- 33,000 employees
- Projected growth (2020-2030)
Much faster than average (15% or higher)
- Projected job openings (2020-2030)
- State trends
- Top industries (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data
and 2020-2030 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
- State job openings
- Local job openings