Career Story: Computer Science Researcher For A Government Laboratory

Computer Science Researcher For A Government Laboratory

Job Title: Computer Science Researcher

Type of Company: I work for a Department of Energy national laboratory, providing computer science expertise.

Education: BS, Computer Science, Wilkes College (Wilkes-Barre, PA) •• MS, Computer Science, University of Virginia •• Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Virginia

Previous Experience: While in graduate school, I was a research assistant. I worked with my advisor on computer science projects funded by federal agencies (NIST and NSF, for example). I worked in the area of parallel simulation, where people want to model large systems and use computers working in parallel to do so. The challenge is that you have to synchronize the processes that are executed on each computer.

Job Tasks: I do research in "collaborative problem solving environments." Scientists are working together more than ever these days, across geographic (often national) and organizational boundaries. As a computer scientist I am working with biologists and chemists to build web-based environments where researchers can collaborate securely: work together in small groups, sharing data securely and using tools peculiar to their scientific disciplines. I design and develop environments to enable this type of science to take place.

One interesting problem that I work on is data provenance. Provenance records the origin and history of data. This is a way that scientists can track their input into databases, tracing their results through a complex workflow and documenting their scientific data for future use by other scientists who wish to repeat or audit their results.

Virtual collaborations will have an impact on the future of science. More publications are looking to see data (and not just manuscripts) published and available to all scientists, and with the increasing complexity of science and the large amount of data generated, it is critical that there be ways to tag the data, automatically, with provenance information so that it is searchable and identifiable in the future.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I work with scientists in other disciplines and I can use my knowledge and expertise both to help them and advance the science.

The worst part of the job, and an enduring irony in view of the work that I do, is the isolation I feel working at home, deprived of physical contact and social interaction with my colleagues. I work with scientists at labs and universities all over the country, but mostly by email and phone. Talk about a virtual environment!

Job Tips:
1. I think that a computer scientist today should be as well-rounded as possible. You can combine computer science with social sciences, physical life sciences, education -- almost any field and be successful.

2. In order to have a successful research career, you have to be able to present your results in both writing and in oral presentations. Get as much experience in technical writing and giving technical presentations.

Additional Thoughts: A Ph.D. opens a lot of doors. You can do research, you can work in industry, you can teach at either a small college or a large university. And in computer science, graduate school does not have to cost money. There are lots of opportunities for assistantships and fellowships, especially in computer science or engineering.

Popular Schools offering Computer Science Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

  • Programs: Information Systems & Technology: Information Security Studies (MS), Information Technology (BS)
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

  • Programs:
  • Degrees:
ABCO Technology
Los Angeles

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

  • Programs: Computer Science , Security, Networking and Security, more...
  • Degrees: Certificate
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Software Development Coding, Information Technology Associate's Degree
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate

Earn your Master's in Computer Engineering online in just 15 months. GRE waivers are available for those who qualify.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Degrees: Master

Grantham University's 100% accredited online degrees are convenient, portable and designed so you can fit education into your life instead of arranging life around your education.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Associate of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate

Earn your Master's in Computer Science online from Syracuse University without relocating or leaving your job. GRE waivers are available for those who qualify.

  • Programs: MS in Computer Science
  • Degrees: Master

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Applied Computer Science - MBA, Computer & Information Security - PhD in Bus. Admin., Management Information Systems - D.B.A., more...
  • Degrees: Master, Doctorate
California College San Diego
National City, San Diego, San Marcos

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Computer Science - Networking and Information Systems Security (BS), Computer Technology & Networking (AAS)
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate

Our objective is to prepare you for a life-long, successful career in Media Arts, Business or Information Technology. Our goal is to provide you with the best possible foundation that will serve you in your first job as well as throughout your career.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Information Security, Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Computer Information Technology, Bachelor of Science Degree in Network Communications
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Computer And Information Research Scientists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Computer And Information Research Scientists, including:

Back to Top