Are you looking for research jobs in computer science?
A vital and growing area, computer science has changed the way we live over the last 30 years and provides an ever-changing landscape of exciting research opportunities. Computer science researchers working in higher education, research institutes/foundations and the technology sector focus on developing technology and computational theories which have real-world impact. From banking apps to brain-scanning technology, a team of computer scientists will have been involved.
With the explosion in demand for technology experts, there has never been a better time to embark on a research career in computer science. Universities compete to hire creative researchers who are adept at problem-solving and analysing large volumes of data to develop the tech of tomorrow.
In this post we look at typical routes into a research career in computer science, the qualifications and experience you will need and what it is like to work in the sector.
The majority of computer science researchers will have completed a PhD in a specialist field, according to the research area they wish to pursue, for example, bioinformatics or computer vision.
However, computer science is a highly progressive research field which aims to tap the knowledge and skills of experts from both inside and outside academia. Therefore, universities are open to hiring candidates who have a Master’s qualification and expert knowledge gained through professional experience which aligns with current and future research projects.
The area of research and potential projects you choose to apply for depend on your first degree and/or Master’s and computer science-related doctoral specialism. Research projects and activities tend to be fixed-term contracts, so it is likely that you’ll complete a couple of postdoctoral projects before being considered for promotion to senior research associate/fellow or lecturer/senior lecturer.
Working as a Computer Science researcher
Computer science research is an exciting and rewarding career, where there is always something new on the horizon. As a researcher in this field, you will spend most of your time in a technical environment, analysing complex data, problem-solving and collaborating with a team of experts to publish research outcomes.
The scope of computer science research is limitless. However, current and popular research areas include:
- Programming languages
- Algorithms, data structures, cryptography
- Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and robotics
- Data science/Big Data analytics
- Human-centred computing
- Digital health/computational biology
- Internet of Things (IoTs)
- High-Performance Computing (HPC)
- Computer vision
The day-to-day duties of a computer science researcher depend on your specialist area or discipline and the type of project you are involved in. For instance, if you are an expert in health data science or computational life sciences, you might be working in a clinical environment as part of a team of scientists and health professionals. If you are an AI specialist, you might spend your day researching and testing the latest deep learning approaches used in driverless cars or other advanced technologies.
The majority of computer science research projects are funded in partnership with external organisations and companies, so it is likely that you will be working with experts from a range of backgrounds and sectors.
In general, the majority of technical research jobs include the following duties:
- Conducting lab-based experiments and analysis of results.
- Contributing to research and performing complex data tasks.
- Using highly specialised computational equipment.
- Working within a multi-disciplinary team.
- Collaborating with project partners and tech companies/industries.
- Delivery of workshops and demonstrations to students.
- Documenting research outcomes and development of manuscripts for publication.
Where to find jobs
Nearly all sectors in the modern world have a stake in the development and advancement of computer science research. Whether you want to work in a university, or as part of a team in a research foundation/institute or in the commercial sector, you will find a wide range of computer science research jobs available globally. Investment in research progress comes from a range of sources, such as national and international funding councils, government bodies, global foundations and charities and the tech sector. To find out more about how computer science research is funded, visit UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
If you choose to work as a researcher in a university, here are some of the roles you may come across during your search:
- Research Assistant
- Research Technician
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Associate
- KTP Associate
- Research Scientist
- Research Associate/Fellow
- Lecturer/Senior Lecturer
Find research jobs in computer science here.
Salaries in computer sciences research vary depending on the field and specific activities of the university. However, as a general rule, postdoctoral researchers and research associates can expect to start on a salary of around £30,000 to £39,999 p.a.
The majority of research jobs in universities require candidates to have a PhD (or soon-to-be completed). A doctorate will also give you the edge in the research-intensive technology sector. Computer science is one of the most popular areas for PhD studentships advertised here at jobs.ac.uk, and you will find a diverse range of opportunities available.
A PhD takes around 3-5 years to complete; most are fully-funded and come with a stipend in the range of £15,000 and £17,000 p.a.
Find Ph.D. studentships related to computer science here.
- Academic jobs in Computer Science
- Lecturing jobs in Computer Science
- Senior-level academic jobs in Computer Science