Computer Scientist How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

What is a Computer Scientist?

Computer scientists develop and program software for applications that people can use. The field is diverse and includes theoretical investigations, database theory, and software engineering. Computer scientists are proficient in numerical analysis, computational complexity theory, computer graphics, and programming languages. They work with many different computer technologies and tools to find ways to innovate existing technologies to develop new and better ones. Computer scientists often work for universities, software engineering firms, research companies, or independently as IT consultants and freelancers.

Computer scientists have excellent problem-solving and technical skills. They are analytically inclined and have a solid understanding of the scientific method. An aptitude for math and logical thinking are essential to this role. Computer scientists must also be critical thinkers and have good communication skills. In order to develop next-level solutions and innovations, a computer scientist has to have a deep understanding of computer systems, algorithms, coding languages, object-oriented programming, and recursion. 

How to Hire a Computer Scientist

When hiring a computer scientist, first consider the following:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
  • Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
  • Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:

1. Use a professional recruiting firm

When working with 4 Corner Resources, the heavy lifting is done for you. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You intend to hire on a temporarycontract, or contract-to-hire basis and direct the work activity
  • You are hiring a direct employee but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff

2. Advertise on high-traffic job boards

Post your job on CareerBuilderLinkedIn, or both. These popular job sites allow you to quickly post your open position to be seen by an audience of motivated, qualified candidates, with resumes delivered directly to your inbox. We recommend this option when:

  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to facilitate a thorough recruiting effort
  • You have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants
  • You have internal resources with the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications

3. Hire an experienced freelancer

Connect with seasoned professionals on UpworkToptal, or Fiverr. The freelance, or gig, economy continues to grow, with more talent available every day. Not every position is ideal for the freelance marketplace, but a computer scientist is often a great fit. We recommend this option when:

  • Your need is project-based
  • You do not intend to direct the daily work activity
  • You are hiring for expertise your internal team does not possess
  • You do not require an employee to work onsite or follow a specific schedule

 4. Leverage your website and social media accounts

Take advantage of free advertising by posting the opening on your site, especially if you have an applicant tracking system to help manage the process. If you have access to your organization’s social media accounts be sure to also post on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. We recommend this option when:

  • Your brand has strong name recognition
  • Your website has an existing career section
  • You have an active social media presence

5. Reward employees for referrals

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives. We recommend this option when:

  • Your internal staff is motivated to help
  • You are prepared to provide thorough feedback for all internal referrals
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample job description #1

Responsibilities

  • Function as investigative lead for a team of analysts while identifying active threats to the customer environment
  • As required, brief senior leadership daily on emerging threats, high profile incidents, and upcoming events
  • Possess experience leading cyber, technical, or analytical teams
  • Conduct cyber intelligence link analysis utilizing open-source and classified research on emerging/trending threats and vulnerabilities
  • Collaborate between CIRT elements as necessary during incident detection and response stages
  • Respond promptly to all request for support whether telephonic, via e-mail or instant messenger
  • Create releasable finished intelligence products and reports for the incoming shift as well as government leadership
  • Maintain incident case management database for all reported incidents
  • Analyze incidents and events captured in the Case Management Database for trends, patterns, or actionable information

Basic qualifications

  • A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in Cyber Security, InfoSec, Security Engineering, Network Engineering with emphasis in cyber security issues and operations, computer incident response, systems architecture, data management
  • Familiarity with the following classes of enterprise cyber defense technologies: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems; Network Intrusion Detection System/Intrusion Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS); Host Intrusion Detection System/Intrusion Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS) Network and Host malware detection and prevention; Network and Host forensic applications; Web/Email gateway security technologies; DOD 8570 IAT Level II
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, writing, communications, and briefing skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Preferred qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree or additional years of related experience
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, writing, communications, and briefing skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Sample job description #2

Responsibilities

  • Possesses comprehensive knowledge of the theoretical foundations of computer science, including computer system architecture and system software organization, the representation and transformation of information structures, and the theoretical model for such representations and transformations
  • Support the IPT by providing information on the design characteristics, limitations, and potential applications of systems having the ability to transform information, and of broad areas of applications of computing which have common and differing structures, processes and techniques, and recommendations on the way forward
  • Analyze and review technical documents for compliance with objectives and thresholds, articulate findings and remedies or alternatives

Qualifications

  • Must possess an active and transferable DoD security clearance with current investigation at the required level. Must be able to maintain the required clearance
  • Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from an ABET accredited computer science program
  • 10 years of experience in the respective technical/professional discipline being performed, 3 of which must be in the DoD environment
  • OR, 15 years of directly related experience with proper certifications as described in the Functionally Aligned Job Descriptions, 5 of which must be in the DoD environment
  • Has the knowledge, experience, and demonstrated ability to perform relevant tasks
  • Must be able to work independently and apply the proper procedures and process related to this area of expertise.
  • Shall also have the ability to problem solve and troubleshoot various situations to develop successful outcomes within established program/project guidelines
  • Ability to effectively and professionally interface with all Program Office and Support Staff

Sample job description #3

Essential duties and responsibilities

  • Have knowledge of TCP/IP, information security/authorization profiles, or security administration of Unix or Windows network/systems
  • Have knowledge of Government security policies and familiarity with security-related technologies and auditing tools
  • Be capable of providing security engineering analysis on a variety of information systems
  • Be capable of developing security accreditation/certification documentation and creating and maintaining security policy and procedures
  • Be capable of performing security certification engineering analysis, vulnerability assessments, and risk assessments
  • Be capable of designing and configuring security tools
  • Be capable of developing test procedures, establishing test environments, executing security certification test/demonstrations/evaluations, documenting results, and developing reports, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Be capable of conceptualizing and implementing security systems and architectures

Experience

  • Two years of substantial experience working in the field of information security

Education and certifications

  • Current IAT Level II certification Security+ or equivalent
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Electronics Engineering or other Engineering or Technical discipline OR In Lieu of a degree, the applicant must

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a computer scientist is $107,100 per year in the United States and $123,300 with yearly incentives. Salary depends on the level of experience, education, and geographical location.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$112,750$137,800
Los Angeles, California$127,200$155,500
Denver, Colorado$106,000$129,550
Washington, DC$129,150$157,850
Miami, Florida$105,500$129,000
Orlando, Florida$97,350$118,950
Tampa, Florida$98,300$120,150
Atlanta, Georgia$103,100$126,050
Chicago, Illinois$118,550$144,900
Boston, Massachusetts$128,150$156,650
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$102,150$124,850
New York City, New York$134,900$164,900
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$109,850$134,300
Dallas, Texas$106,950$130,750
Houston, Texas$106,500$130,150
Seattle, Washington$123,350$150,750
National Average$96,350$117,800

Sample interview questions

  • Can you name some current computer processors?
  • What are some popular operating systems?
  • What is a class variable?
  • What is SDLC?
  • What is a programming language?
  • What is an Integrated Development Environment?
  • What is the framework?
  • What is the difference between a constructor and method abstract class and interface?
  • What is top-down analysis and design?
  • How would you implement a new software tool?
  • Which programming languages do you prefer and why?
  • What are the main types of constructors? 
  • Which JavaScript frameworks are you familiar with?
  • What is the software development cycle?
  • What are the main components of a computer system?

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