Computational Scientist

Turn scientific data into computer models.
picture of Computational Scientist

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$53,000 – $154,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Computational Scientists do?

Computational Scientists ask questions. They are naturally curious about all things science, and work with other professionals who share that interest. But the field of science has limitations—unknowns, and, if you’re a Computational Scientist, that just drives you crazy. So you make it your goal to identify the unknowns using complex computer algorithms.

The job of Computational Scientist encompasses your passion for three subjects: math, science, and computers. The math and computer aspects stay the same, but you have myriad choices when it comes to the science.

Are you interested in geology? How about biology, ecology, or chemistry? Perhaps forestry or astronomy is more to your liking. Whatever the subject, you work with the Scientists who perform research.

Scientists work to better understand the world we live in. They then use that information to make predictions about the future. But there’s always a measure of uncertainty to those predictions.

Say, for example, you want to ascertain the potential damage that would be caused by a tsunami in a certain area. Or perhaps you’re trying to identify what trees would grow the fastest in a forest previously ravished by fire. Maybe you’re working on determining the effects of atmospheric pressure on rocket materials. Whatever it is, current data can’t factor every variable.

So to prove your worth, calm your curious mind, and answer the questions of science, you design and implement computer programs that analyze every variable and produce reliable results. Good job!

Should I be a Computational Scientist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Research Computing Specialist

    How to become a Computational Scientist

    Most Computational Scientists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaqh9&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|master%27s+%2830%25%29|doctorate+%2856%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,56
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