The Harvard Business Review considers data science to be the sexiest job of the 21st century as “high-ranking professionals with the training and curiosity” who can make discoveries in the world of big data are always in demand. Needless to say, data scientists draw high salaries.
Given the rapid advancement of technology, most companies have an inordinate amount of data at their disposal and are continuously trying to make sense of it. Culling out actionable insights from such a huge amount of data is where data science professionals can make a difference. So if you’re considering a career in data science, you should get a sense of the kind of work they do and the different factors that affect data scientist salary to make an informed decision.
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In this article, we’ll discuss the salary of data scientists based on experience, company, and location. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The Role of a Data Scientist
- Data Scientist Salary in the United States
- Factors That Affect Data Scientist Salary
- Data Scientist Salary — Which US City Pays the Most?
- Data Scientist Salary at FAANG+ Companies
- FAQs on Data Scientist Salary
The Role of a Data Scientist
Before talking about the salary, let’s cover the roles and responsibilities of a data scientist.
Data scientists can analyze structured or unstructured data sets to extract relevant insights. They can employ various tools and technologies, create algorithms, and predictive models to interpret the data for the business. Since data science is extremely technical in nature, the role of a data scientist is often considered to be extremely sophisticated.
The exact duties of a data scientist vary depending on the company and the team they are working with. However, here’s an overview of what a data scientist is expected to do:
- Applying various machine learning techniques such as anomaly detection, deep learning, forecasting, predictive modeling, and clustering
- Initiating data investigation and exploratory data analysis
- Choosing various models of algorithms
- Designing, developing, and delivering machine-learning-enabled solutions such as feature engineering, data exploration, and visualization, and data acquisition
- Working with different kinds of data including structured and unstructured sources, streaming modes, and other formats such as image, video, audio, and text
It is also not unusual for data scientists to collaborate with other teams, such as machine learning, distributed systems, program management, and partner products to create scalable cloud services.
Data Scientist Salary in the United States
Working as a data scientist in the United States is a highly lucrative career path. Based on our research, those working in the Information Technology sector in the United States usually earn around $95,100 annually. Data scientists have been consistently ranked as one of the 10 best jobs in the US on the basis of job availability, job satisfaction, and the median base salary (Glassdoor.com).
The average base salary of a data scientist in the US is $117,212.
Bureau of Labor Statistics survey reveals that those working as Computer and Information Research Scientists earn approximately $126,830 per year at the entry to mid-level, whereas the average senior data scientist salary is $142,258 per year.
There is an ever-increasing demand for data scientists to join the workforce, and it is expected that the salaries in the US will increase by at least 15% in the coming few years.
Did you know that the salary for tech professionals is made up of three components? Read this article to learn more.
Factors That Affect Data Scientist Salary
There is no one scale that determines how much data scientists earn. There are various factors that can determine your salary as a data scientist. Experience is a primary factor. With experience, you can expect a $2,000–$2,500 increase in salary for every year of experience. According to our research, those who are just starting their career can expect an average salary of $95,000 per year, and top-level data scientists get around $165,000 per year.
Education also plays an important role as data science is a highly specialized role. Those who have a master’s degree or a Ph.D., along with relevant industry skills, can find it easier to negotiate a higher salary. Some of the highest-paid data scientists are those who are extremely proficient in Python and R, the top two sought-after programming languages in data science that make it easy to extract insights from big data.
Apart from these, the company size and location are also important factors. Tech giants in the middle of Silicon Valley are likely to pay a lot more compared to other US cities. We’ll analyze some of these variations in the next section.
Recommended Reading: 10 Factors That Influence Salary Negotiation
Data Scientist Salary — Which US City Pays the Most?
Data scientist average salary varies depending on where the data scientists work. For example, some of the highest salaries are offered in California, where most of the big tech companies are located. The average salary is $148,680.
Even though the Pacific Northwest has fewer data scientists compared to the other cities, it still offers the second-highest salaries, usually in the range of $132,000.
Here’s a breakup of what other cities offer:
Data Scientist Salary at FAANG+ Companies
Given that data scientists are in extremely high demand across tech companies, it is not surprising that their salaries are usually one of the highest when compared to other sectors. Here is a break up of what you can expect to get paid on average at some of these FAANG companies annually:
- Amazon data scientist salary: $131,021
- Facebook data scientist salary: $152,537
- Apple data scientist salary: $152,954
- Google data scientist salary: $149,870
- Microsoft data scientist salary: $123,328
Recommended Reading: Microsoft Data Science Interview Questions
FAQs on Data Scientist Salary
1. How much can a data scientist earn?
On average, a data scientist in the US can earn a base salary of $117,212 per year (Glassdoor.com).
2. Is data scientist a good career?
Yes! There is an ever-increasing demand for data scientists to join the workforce, and it is expected that the salaries in the US will increase by at least 15% in the coming few years. Harvard Business Review considers data science to be the sexiest job of the 21st century.
3. What are some ways for data scientists to earn higher than the market average?
Obtaining a doctoral degree may help secure advanced positions that pay higher salaries. Usually, senior data scientists who oversee junior scientists in their team take home premium salaries.
4. Do data scientists need to learn to code?
Yes, data scientists are technically software developers and need a sound understanding of algorithms and data structures. Knowing how to write efficient codes can go a long way in helping them extract relevant insights from analyzing data.
5. Do interviewers ask questions on algorithms and data structures during a data science interview?
Yes, usually, there is a coding round and an algorithm round. So having sufficient knowledge of algorithms and data structures is necessary.
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