Amazon is one of the most data-driven companies in the world. From its core retail business to its entertainment production and streaming services, virtual assistant Alexa, hardware division, cloud services division Amazon Web Services (AWS), and subsidiaries such as Whole Foods, Zappos, and Audible, Amazon is a data generating and data gathering giant that relies heavily on data scientists to help it make sense of the information gathered.
It’s no surprise then that its data scientists are well compensated. The average base salary of an Amazon data scientist is $127,000, with cash bonuses and stock options bringing the total compensation closer to $185,000, according to the Salary Project. And while Amazon is known for being more frugal than competitors like Facebook and Apple when it comes to job perks, a large part of its appeal is the promise of working on products and services that directly affect hundreds of millions of customers around the world.
Dubbed both the “sexiest” and “hottest” job of the 21st century by the Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg, data scientists in the United States are in high demand—and with that, they’re seeing equally high salaries. Read on to learn more about Amazon’s data scientist salaries.
What are the different roles performed by data scientists at Amazon?
Amazon’s data scientists perform different functions depending on the team they’ve joined. While the projects they work on can vary greatly, the company’s data scientists share a number of commonalities.
Most data scientists working at Amazon have a background in computer science, statistics, mathematics, or a related field. They are proficient in programming and scripting languages such as Python, SQL, and Java, and they have expertise in data analytics and statistical analysis. Finally, they have an understanding of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence.
Within each of Amazon’s teams, there is room for specialization. For example:
- Data scientists working on Alexa may need to have a Ph.D. and specialized knowledge of natural language processing and information retrieval in order to train the AI to process and understand verbal commands across multiple languages.
- A data science specialist working on demand forecasting will have to develop sophisticated algorithms that involve learning from large amounts of data such as prices, promotions, similar products, and product attributes, in order to forecast the demand of more than 190 million products sold on Amazon.com worldwide.
- And a data scientist working on Amazon Web Services will help AWS customers address their business needs by building ML models.
Recent job postings indicate that collaboration with data engineers, software engineers, information architects, designers, and marketers is also a large part of the Amazon data scientist role.
Salary levels of data scientists at Amazon
The average pay range for Amazon’s data scientists depends on years and level of experience, skill level, education, and location. The average total compensation can also greatly vary depending on whether someone qualifies for annual bonuses or stock grants.
Like many other technology companies, Amazon uses a leveling system to determine compensation and promotions. While the company does not publicly share the specifics of this system, former and current employees have noted that the letter “L” coupled with a number indicates a data scientist’s level within the company.
- Interns: Amazon interns are among the most well-paid in the industry and make $7,725/month during their summer internship, according to Glassdoor. Interns also receive additional benefits such as a housing stipend and a subsidized public transit.
- L4: Reserved for the entry-level data scientist, L4s typically hold an undergraduate degree and have fewer than four years of experience.
- L5: A mid-level data scientist, L5s may also hold the title Data Scientist II. They typically have four to seven years of experience.
- L6: A senior data science role, many data scientists who hold advanced degrees such as PhDs start their careers at L6. This level also includes many managers.
- L7: Considered principal data scientists, L7 candidates typically have a decade or more experience and have significant management responsibilities.
Entry-level data scientist salary at Amazon
Entry-level data science positions, including internships and roles held by those actively pursuing advanced degrees, typically require fluency in at least one scripting language such as Python, Java, or PHP, and familiarity with SQL.
In addition, applicants need to show that they have experience with solving analytical problems using quantitative approaches, while also striving toward Amazon’s 14 leadership principles. The average entry-level Amazon data scientist salary is around $114,357, with additional compensation in cash and stock bonuses averaging $23,000.
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Senior-level data scientist salary at Amazon
Senior-level data science positions that aren’t management roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics, engineering, economics, or a related field. Depending on the area of specialization, a master’s degree or Ph.D. in machine learning, natural language processing, to computer vision might also be required, in addition to prerequisite knowledge of coding and scripting languages and proven experience working in analytics.
The average senior-level Amazon data scientist salary is around $180,000, with additional compensation in cash and stock bonuses averaging $40,000.
Stock options at Amazon
Amazon rewards its full-time, non-warehouse employees with cash and stock bonuses based on employee performance, which are determined during quarterly reviews.
Eligible employees are granted Restricted Stock Units, which vest over time. The longer an employee stays with the company and performs to a high enough standard, the greater the likelihood that their stock compensation will exceed their base pay.
Benefits at Amazon
In addition to generous base salaries and bonuses, Amazon employees also receive the following benefits:
- Complete coverage health insurance
- A 401K plan with matching contributions
- Six weeks of parental leave; birth mothers receive an additional four weeks prepartum and ten weeks post-partum
- Adoption assistance, with a $5,000 reimbursement of child adoption costs
- Employee discounts for Amazon.com
- Free counseling services and referrals
- Discounted rates on home, renters, auto, and pet insurance
- Flexible health and dependent care spending accounts
- Infertility benefits
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