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CFD September 2, 1999 18:03

CFD Salary

Could you like tell the Salary of CFD job in North American?


John C. Chien September 3, 1999 03:29

Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
(1). A very good question. (2). To answer this question in a scientific way, one needs to know more about the two parts of the CFD job. (3). Even as a whole, CFD job actually means different thing to different people. (4). Well, you need one quick answer fast, right? It can be anywhere from 35000 to 90000 a year. (5). How do you get this number? It represents the salary of an average engineer. (6). To be more specific, if the job is permanent with traditional benifit, then you subtract 20000 from the top end. This will give you 70000 a year. For the lower end of the scale, say 2000 off the number, this will give you 33000 a year. I think these numbers are good and I feel comfortable with it. See, there is the feeling part of a job. (7). In between, it gives someone plenty of imagination. It is also very good to do so. You really don't want everybody in the upper scale. (8). By the way, there is almost like a law that one should not discuss his salary with other persons. Asking a question like " How much do you make this year?" is worse than the question like " Were you able to make love with your wife last night." There is a huge culture difference across the national boundary. (9). There are several types of CFD related jobs. If a person is teaching CFD courses, you can say his job is CFD related. A teacher's salary would be =< 0.5 * ( 33000 + 70000 ) . If he is getting more than that, his job is not a CFD job. He is likely a distinguished professor. It is very interesting that a person doing CFD research can not be called a CFD teacher. In other words, CFD is not value added. It is extra burden. (10). I am sure that there are good professors making good salaries doing research in CFD related field. But if you add CFD to his title, his value seems suddenly vanished. His salary is derived from his reputation of new theory, new algorithm, not from CFD activities. Now you see that most professors do not get on this forum at all. This forum can not increase their value, compare to the Annual, International,... Conferences on ... numerical methods,..modelling,... (11). Then, there are other groups of engineers working for many products oriented companies. They spend many many years in their own field as a engineering associates, research engineer, member of technical staff, specialist,... their salary is derived from the industrial average in engineering. They got the CFD flavor because they have to solve their problems on computers. Over the years, they have developed their own efficient software to get their job done. They are normally the group of people who are hesitate to try the commercial CFD code. So, they don't like to be associated with CFD. Their salary is => 0.5 * ( 33000 + 70000 ). This is the second group of people whose job are CFD related, but they don't like to use CFD name. (12). Well, I guess there is another group of people using commercial CFD code in a company. These are entry level engineers, they used to run in-house code for senoir engineers. But now, since the senior engineer of the second group does not like the commercial code, the entry level engineers are the only persons to fool around with the commercial codes. their salary is => 33000. The sign of => means that there is a big range to play with. It is very attractive for the entry level CFD engineer. They like the CFD name, because that is the only work they do, that is run the commercial codes everyday. (13). This group of CFD workers are not very stable ( depends on companies). So, you would see ads like " international engineers welcome". With the alien status, student status, their salary will be on the lower end of the scale.( since it is almost a law not to discuss one's salary with other persons, they will try to give others an impression that it can grow very quickly.) By the time, you found out their salary, they were long gone onto other jobs. (14). Then there is this software house or vendors. They sell and support the commercial codes. Some of their codes are in-house developed, in modular form. Some are products of other companies. In this group, the CFD related part is more on user training, support through phone calls, special project with clients companies, and account management. In other words, it is more on the business side of sale and support of products. The extra income would be bonus, stocks,and promotion always with a very nice title,like regional managers.... In this group, the risk is high, and the job unstable. When the office rent is increased, when a clients company stops the license renewal, the end result is the phone number will disappear from the phone book. Actually, it is not unusual for a company to change location more than once a year. In terms of salary, when the project is in, they are always willing to pay more to get you to work in time to support the clients company. (15). Then, there is this last group of engineers who get paid well to help their client companies when the project is in urgent need to meet the deadline. They are consultants, subcontrators with many years of real world experience. They are always paid well at the upper end of the scale. They are free to work or not to work. With their broad experience, CFD part is relatively un-important, even though they still run computer codes. What I means is their solution to the CFD related problem is derived from their experience in other fields. So, they are specialists. This group also do not like to be attached to CFD name. (16). So, as you see, this is the first in-depth analysis of CFD related jobs. It should be a good standard reference for HR department. You can't find it anywhere else. ( for government jobs, the name convention is different, and the pay scale is also different. The work is also mission oriented. It is independent of the commercial business sectors.) Hope that this scientific analysis of the CFD related job and salary will give you some insight and the future of CFD job market.

Stephane baralon September 3, 1999 04:44

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
why don't you write a book instead ?

No kidding, with your thirty years of experience in that field, your testimony would be extremely invaluable to those who consider that CFD is just clicking on a button.

To be honest, reading 50 lines on that discussion forum requires too much courage from the readers. If at least it was crucial information ...

Jim Park September 3, 1999 08:12

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
From my perspective (govt. lab, prefer not to depend on commercial codes - but sometimes we must ...), 30+ years of CFD, John's dissertation is spot-on! A little windy perhaps, but this IS a fluids group.

But seems to me he's described the dynamics of the CFD job market quite well.

Stacey Rock September 3, 1999 10:14

Re: CFD Salary
I've posted this before. Purdue University has a site that includes engineering salary statistics: I believe these number are accurate. I would also say that CFD salaries are generally in the upper quadrant of salaries.

If you want more specifics, the answer is it depends on many factors. I think your question is really "how much can I make in CFD in North America?" If you really want the answer to that question, then send your resume, and let people in a position to hire make you an offer. This is the only way to really know what salary you can command. And if you are serious about finding a job, this is the first step. Also, don't forget the most important question: "Can I get a job in CFD in North America?". This is not a given. CFD is a broad field, and your experience and employment objectives have to match with the current needs of the industry. If you're a PhD with 8 years of experience, you are probably not going to be considered for a entry level position as a project engineer. On the other hand, if you have a Masters degree and no experience, you're probably not going to get a job doing flow solver development. The dynamics of finding are job are really complex. And from experience I can tell you that it has as a great deal to do with being in the right place at the right time.

I hope the statistic from Purdue help you in your quest.

Regards, Stacey

John C. Chien September 3, 1999 10:53

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
(1). This is the modern form of a book. By the time it is printed in the old fashion paper back, the information is already out dated (obsolete). (2). To be a modern man or woman, his survival depends strongly on HOW to find the information, WHERE to find the information, and WHAT to read or not to read. ( garbages to someone can be goldmine to others. and when someone says 30 years, it could mean just a few years more. when a lady says she is 18, she simply says she is beautiful. In the virtual world, everything is just floating in the space, nothing solid. I am also learning how to use the Internet. After all, the Internet is less than 10 years old, and the CFD forum is just learning how to walk. And sometimes, it is an engineer's obligation to pay back to the society. Internet may be free, the experience is not.)

clifford bradford September 3, 1999 11:41

Re: CFD Salary
look a few threads down and you'll see an (not the) answer to this question. by the way CFD_99 we tend to use our real names here

Stacey Rock September 3, 1999 12:25

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
Philosophy is nice, but I believe the most valued skill of an engineer is to provide practical solutions to people's problems. If you have followed this thread this far, then you must be interested in a job. I offer the following solution:

CFDRC has several open positions in the field of CFD. See our website at Look under the employment section. Apply for a position. Resumes are accepted via email at

My group has an immediate opening for an Aerospace Applications engineer. The ideal candidate will have an MS in aerospace engineering with experience or interest in application of CFD to applied aerospace engineering problems. Entry level positions are available. So extensive experience is not required. However, a strong background in aerospace engineering fundamentals is a must: compressible aero., viscous aero., structures, controls, static and dynamic stability and control, aircraft design, wind tunnel methods, and yes, CFD. The following would be a plus: experience with industrial CAD programs, complex 3D geometry and structured/ unstructured grid generation, usage of engineering/graphics postprocessing tools, and flow solver development experience. Good grades and communication skills are essential.

If you are interested in applying for this position, you can send me your resume directly at

Best Regards, Stacey Rock

John C. Chien September 3, 1999 12:44

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
(1). Could you state the salary range for this entry CFD engineer position (or the one with a MS degree)? (2). You do want to attract the best engineer to work for this very good CFD company, right?

Md. Ziaul Islam September 3, 1999 13:11

Re: CFD Salary
Dear Stacey,

It seems like you and your company is interested to hire a Purdue Graduate in CFD. Please let me know whether I am guessing wrong. Thank you.


Janna J. September 3, 1999 14:34

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
also visteon(still with Ford, will spin off), delphi(before with GM, already span off), fluent are hiring too

B.B. September 3, 1999 15:16

Re: CFD Salary
Posted By: John C. Chien

Wed, 1 Sep 1999, 1:47 p.m.

In Response To: Re: COMPLAIN ABOUT John C. Chien (Janna J.)

(1). Would the name change to Joan C. Chien make you happier? (2). The forum deals with the electronic information presented, the person behind may not exist at all. The attitude is the perception in the reader's mind. It is hard to change.

Posted By: John C. Chien

Tue, 31 Aug 1999, 1:15 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Tunnnel Simulations? (dale T)

(1). I can only guess that you must be from the vendor side answering questions. (2). If that is the case, it is a good sign for the forum. Don't worry about me, I simply don't exist at all.

Jeff Waters September 3, 1999 22:27

very nice John!

I opened your message and saw a solid wall of letters, spaces, and numbers. At first, I prepared myself for another meandering (but interesting), phylosophical, and poetic posting.

I was pleasantly surprised by your straightforward thoughts! That was the best answer to the question of CFD salaries I have ever seen on this site! You might consider throwing in a few paragraph breaks, though.

Thanks, Jeff Waters

Ted Mull September 3, 1999 22:55

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
Your characterization of CFD engineers in industry is very short sighted. My experience is that senior engineers and upper management are very supportive of commerically available codes. However, due to the short comings of the commerical codes, in-house codes are required to fill in the gaps. The commerical codes are often to general resulting in limited chemistry and heat transfer boundary conditions. Coupled with the expense of licenses, funding an internal R&D effort to support an in-house code makes since.

As far as salary goes, due to the in-flux and out-flux of people performing CFD applications, and the deversity of their job offers, it's apparent CFD engineers with industry experience recieve the upper end of the pay scale with respect to their academic achievements.

Regarding your comments to the "CFD" label, that's the first time I've heard of that!

Ted Mull - P.E. Babcock & Wilcox Co.

John C. Chien September 4, 1999 13:48

Re: Salary Analysis and CFD jobs
(1). I must say that your message is more important than the "scientific incorrect" message I posted. (2). If no one want to speak out, they can always use my message as a reference. (3). At least, the readers know that your company is for CFD, a free ads in a global scale.

John C. Chien September 4, 1999 14:04

Re: very nice John!
(1). Sorry to have used more oxygen in your brain. But, the medical research says that it tends to keep the brain from shrinking. One can only get wiser by using more oxygen in the brain. Without the oxygen, the brain damage will start in 4 minuites at room temperature. (2). It is faster to download this way.

Pawel Zdunek July 18, 2016 18:59

So, did anything change since 1999? ;)

phi4ever January 3, 2017 18:09

Re: Update
Apparently not much, can confirm that $70,000/year CAD is a realistic salary.

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