Computer Information Researcher Career and Salary Outlook

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Updated September 16, 2022

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Discover the salary for computer information researchers, as well as job outlook and top states for the profession.

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Credit: PrathanChorruangsak / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Computer information researchers help advance our technological capabilities. They create and repurpose technologies, overcome computing obstacles, and share their knowledge.

According to CompTIA, there are over 500,000 tech companies across the country. Many of the tech companies rely on computer information researchers' advancements and innovations.

On this page, we examine the computer information researcher career, average incomes, and the factors that influence salary potential.

What Does a Computer Information Researcher Do?

Computer information researchers solve problems within computing. They research, develop, and test improvements and advances in technology. Their findings have applications in industries such as science, business, and the medical industry.

These professionals start with a problem or opportunity and look for a technological solution. They create theories, models, and experiments to tackle these problems, while analyzing and publishing their results. Computer information researcher careers involve collaborating with other researchers, scientists, and engineers.

This work leads to new innovations, more effective and efficient computers, and greater applicability for current technologies. Computer information researcher careers come with challenges, however, such as the need for regularly updated training in an ever-changing work environment.

How Much Can You Earn as a Computer Information Researcher?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer information researchers was $131,490 in May 2021, over $28,000 more than the occupation's mean annual wage from 2010.

Wages increased alongside the complexity of work and education requirements, but salary expectations still vary by location, industry, specialization, and the professional.

For example, the $166,450 annual mean wage for computer information researchers in Oregon far exceeds the $75,600 annual mean wage in Louisiana, as per the BLS.

Median Annual Salary of Computer Information Researchers, 2021


$131,490

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computer Information Researcher Salary by Experience

While knowledge and skills become outdated quickly in the information technology world, professional experience still results in higher salaries for computer information researchers. Organizations value expertise gained over time.

The most experienced professionals qualify for leadership and management roles and salaries. Since the table below draws from the salaries of only a small number of professionals, however, it may not accurately represent salary expectations.

Computer Information Researcher Salary by Education

As with most professions, the average salary for a computer information researcher increases alongside their educational level.

According to the BLS, median weekly earnings were highest for doctoral and professional degree-holders, followed by master's degree-holders and bachelor's degree holders.

Degree discipline might also influence wages and opportunities, with a master's in computer science, information systems, or computer engineering the most common and applicable, as per the BLS.

Along with degrees, bootcamps, postgraduate certificates, and professional certifications might increase salaries for computer information researchers.



Discover which education path is right for you:

Computer Information Researcher Salary by Location

Location plays a large role in salary potential for a computer information researcher. Higher costs of living often result in higher wages within a region.

According to the BLS, Texas and the coastal states have the largest workforces in this profession. The highest-paying salaries in computer information research are in Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Within each state, the largest workforces and highest salaries often come from metropolitan centers. Unique cities with the right mix of leaders, resources, and talent have become tech hubs and trend outliers.

Organizations offset higher city living costs by offering more money than those in rural locations. With many tech industry professionals relocating and working remotely during the pandemic, however, some companies have introduced adjusted salary structures based on the cost of living.

Top-Paying Cities for Computer Information Researchers
State Average Annual Wage Percent Above the National Average

San Jose, California

$167,048

53%

Los Angeles, California

$156,000

43%

San Francisco, California

$154,839

42%

Source: Payscale, April 2022

Top-Paying States for Computer Information Researchers, May 2021
State Number of Computer Information Researchers Employed Annual Mean Wage

Oregon

560

$166,450

Arizona

250

$148,090

Texas

2,000

$146,180

Massachusetts

N/A

$139,490

Washington

2,360

$136,770

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computer Information Researcher Career Outlooks

Technology demands and advancements have blossomed, improving the outlook for computer information researcher careers. The BLS projects a 22% growth rate for computer information researcher careers between 2020 and 2030, nearly three times the projected growth rate for all occupations.

Fast-developing tech hubs and industries, such as cybersecurity and data science, should experience even faster growth. Professionals who specialize in these areas and other emerging technologies will enjoy high employment rates.

Employment Outlook for Computer Information Researchers, 2020-2030


22% increase

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best Locations for Computer Information Researchers

Traditionally, the best locations for computer information researcher careers came from coastal states and well-known tech hubs. The COVID-19 pandemic changed this dynamic, creating more remote jobs and more diverse location opportunities for tech workers.

According to the National Workforce Study from the Technology Councils of North America, remote job postings in tech increased 421% during the pandemic. Nontraditional tech hubs popped up in Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, and Tennessee. Meanwhile, California saw the largest loss of tech workers.

While cost of living and housing prices may impact employment growth in these areas, the study suggests quality of life and remote worker policies may have a bigger influence.

Top-Employing States for Computer Information Researchers, May 2021
Top-Employing States Number of Computer Information Researchers Employed Annual Mean Wage

California

8,140

N/A

Virginia

2,510

$129,680

Washington

2,360

$136,770

Maryland

2,220

$129,200

Texas

2,000

$146,180

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Computer Information Researchers, 2018-2028
State

Percent Projected Change, 2018-28

Average Annual Openings

Utah

32.4

80

Nevada

N/A

N/A

Oregon

27.3

20

Washington

37.7

410

Alaska

0

0

Source: Projections Central

Career Opportunities for Computer Information Researchers

Computer information researcher careers overlap with many other computer and information technology occupations, allowing professionals to change paths or advance if desired.

They can pursue UX researcher, software developer and data scientist roles or systems analyst and security analyst positions.

Computer information researchers might have access to management positions in these fields, such as systems management careers.

Leadership roles may require extensive experience or an advanced degree, including a master's degree or doctorate. Organizations may also prefer professional certifications, which also have specific education and experience requirements.

Computer Information Researcher Salary Questions


What is a computer information researcher?

Computer information researchers find solutions to computer hardware and software problems. They design and test new technologies and identify new uses for old technologies.

How much money do computer information researchers make?

The median annual salary for computer information researchers, per the BLS, was $131,490 in May 2021. The top 10% of professionals made more than $208,000.

How do I become a computer and information research scientist?

According to the BLS, most computer information researcher careers require a master's degree at minimum. A bachelor's degree may be acceptable for some organizations, such as government agencies.

What skills do you need to be a computer research scientist?

Computer information researcher careers rely on highly technical, analytical, and detail-oriented professionals. They also possess communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.

Reviewed by:

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor's in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor. Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey. Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali's goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.
Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Date Last Reviewed: July 28, 2022

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