Today’s Data Science Job Market

The data science market is growing and diversifying at a rapid rate. 

With growth comes a new variety of data science career opportunities, both for new college graduates and experienced data professionals who want to adjust their job responsibilities or find a progressing subfield of data science to explore. 

Read on to learn more about how job titles, salaries, and the overall market for data science careers are evolving to meet new enterprise needs:

Data Science Career Opportunities

Read next: Data Science Market Trends 2021

Data Science Market

The data science platform market reached about $37.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $140.9 billion by 2024, according to a study by Markets and Markets

Many data scientists work directly for the vendors that supply these growing platforms, or they work for a consulting firm that helps enterprises implement these solutions. 

But a growing number of non-technology enterprises are developing internal data engineering and analytics teams to make the most of their operational and customer data.

Top Locations

Although remote work grew during the COVID-19 pandemic and most enterprises continue to offer a remote work option to data scientists, LinkedIn’s “Jobs on the Rise for 2021” report still shows that many of the jobs and biggest hubs for data scientists are focused in major cities. 

These are the top cities for data professionals right now: Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Charlotte, and Denver.

Data Science Job Types

The data science field offers a variety of jobs that can involve a range of functions: analyzing existing data or data setups, annotating data to prepare it for machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI) builds, building and managing data storage and analysis platforms, consulting with enterprises on how to best use their existing data, and more

These are some of the most common job types and titles for data science professionals:

  • Data management analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Data science specialist
  • Data engineer
  • Data architect

Education In Data Science

Some professional data scientists do not have formal training or education, learning their skills through online data resources. However, most have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area. 

Several types of science and mathematical degrees can form the foundation for a data scientist’s career, according to Grant Aldrich, founder and CEO of OnlineDegree.com. 

“The educational background for a data scientist often starts with computer science, engineering, or math, but physics degrees are a common starting ground as well,” Aldrich said. 

“You can move into data science with a business degree or similar business-oriented diploma, but you’ll really need to prove those mathematical skills. A master’s is highly recommended.”

Further studies have shown that not only do many data scientists have a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree, but a growing number of data scientists are also earning a Ph.D. Forty-eight percent of data scientists have a Ph.D. in 2021, which is an increase from 43% in 2020, according to the Burtch Works survey of data scientists and analytics professionals.

Whether you’re self-taught or have a specialized educational background, it’s important that you continue to learn platform-specific skills, programming languages, and other key advances in the data science field. Some top skills that enterprises are looking for in data scientists include machine learning, Python, R, Apache Spark, Tableau, and SQL.

Aldrich also explained the value of data scientists who can translate their analyses for other stakeholders with little data knowledge.

“Data visualization is one particularly lucrative skill, as companies try to build an all-hands-on-deck approach to utilizing these insights,” Aldrich said. 

“A data scientist needs to be able to build a granular view into the information a company has and collects, while also conveying these findings to the layperson.”

Openings In Data Science

Enterprises in virtually every industry are hiring data scientists and analysts to take advantage of their growing pools of big data, but the information technology and services, computer software, health care, financial services, and higher education industries are hiring data scientists at the highest rate.

There are over 11,000 job openings for the search query “data scientist jobs,” according to Indeed.com, but these job titles are most frequently spotted on the site:

  • Data scientist II
  • Entry-level/junior data scientist
  • Statistical data analysis specialist
  • Chief data/analytics officer
  • Data science analyst
  • Data scientist for machine learning
  • Quantitative researcher
  • Imaging data scientist

Data Science Salaries

While the growth of data science hiring slowed down some during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, data science salary numbers mostly remained steady. In fact, even though several roles show a slight decrease in median salary in the timeframe of this study, the Burtch Works survey team has indicated that these numbers are starting to rise again. They also spoke to many enterprise leaders who plan to increase spending for data science roles during Q3 and Q4 of 2021.

Conclusions

The data science market continues to expand its capabilities, especially as more enterprises demand high data quality and knowledge for efforts like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced network operations. Many data scientists likely experienced strain from the hiring and salary freezes of the pandemic, but recent studies and input from enterprises make it clear that the data scientist career field is poised for new growth and opportunities in the future.

By Alicia Rodriguez
Alicia Rodriguez Executive Director, Employer Engagement Alicia Rodriguez