What Do Data Scientists Make? [Data Scientist Salary Guide]
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Data science lies at the intersection of statistics and machine learning, the technology that powers artificial intelligence. As Forbes magazine explains, “[i]f data is the oil of the information age and ML is the engine, then data science is the digital domain’s equivalent of the laws of physics that cause combustion to occur and pistons to move.”
The demand for data scientists is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth rate of 22% for data scientist jobs between 2022 and 2030. Data science salaries are on the rise as well. A 2021 survey by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics engineers reported that median salaries for data scientists rose 8% in a single year.
In this blog post, we’ll explore data scientist salary differences across various data science roles and discuss how industry, experience, and location can affect compensation.
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
Data scientists extract business intelligence from unprocessed data generated by IoT devices, web traffic, social media channels, and other digital sources. They use a combination of domain knowledge and technical expertise to identify business problems that can be solved with data-driven insights. Data scientists then wrangle and prepare data so that it can be analyzed. Then, data scientists use inferential statistics and machine learning models to identify relevant trends and extract valuable insights from data. They synthesize their findings for key stakeholders with data visualizations and data storytelling and use these tools to communicate data-driven business recommendations.
How Much Do Data Scientists Make?
Data scientists earn an average annual salary of $100,560, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, data science salaries vary by role, industry, experience, education, and more.
Data Scientist Salaries by Role
“I think of data science as an amalgam term,” says data scientist/machine learning engineer and Springboard alum Sam Fisher. “When I hear the term, ‘data science,’ I think about how the fields of statistics and machine learning are mixing.”
Data science is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses a variety of subdomains, including data analysis, data engineering, machine learning, and deep learning. Let’s explore the responsibilities and average compensation statistics associated with different data science roles.
Data scientists use statistics, machine learning, and data mining techniques to solve business problems. They also apply a combination of industry knowledge and technical expertise to identify organizational pain points and translate these issues into data science questions.
(Job posting, Data Scientist at builtin.com, 2022)
As this job post describes, data scientists at Veeva—a company that builds cloud-based software solutions for the life sciences industry—use experience with prescription and medical claims data to better understand the organization’s data science objectives.
Data engineers earn an average base salary of $116,311 according to Indeed.
Data engineers design data management systems and maintain analytics infrastructures. The analytics objectives of the data science team determine a data engineer’s design decisions.
(Job posting, Data engineer at Hewlett Packard, 2022)
As this job post emphasizes, data engineers apply industry knowledge to create data infrastructures that solve business problems.
Get To Know Other Data Science Students
Machine Learning Scientist
Machine learning scientists earn an average salary of $137,053, according to Glassdoor.
Machine learning scientists research, develop, and implement machine learning solutions. They study emerging ML and AI technologies and evaluate their potential business applications. Machine learning scientists also identify business problems that data-driven solutions can address.
(Job posting, Machine learning scientist at Amazon, 2022)
Data science and data analytics are interconnected fields. Data analysts collect, prepare, and analyze data, then organize their findings into visualizations and narratives that inform business strategy. While data scientists typically formulate their own data questions, data analysts often answer questions determined by business stakeholders. Data analysts produce actionable business insights that create competitive advantages and guide decision-making processes. They also collaborate with stakeholders to determine what questions should be addressed.
(Job posting, Data analyst at FedEx, 2022)
Deep Learning Specialist
The average salary for deep learning professionals is $137,941, according to ZipRecruiter.
Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that enables systems to learn and make predictions from large amounts of data. It powers many AI applications related to automation.
Deep learning specialists help develop AI research concepts into scalable, robust systems. They study and implement emerging AI solutions and build models to analyze large volumes of unstructured data. They also use data storytelling techniques to communicate insights to business stakeholders.
(Job posting, Senior Deep Learning Engineer at BioTrillion, 2022)
This role focuses specifically on computer vision, a type of AI-powered by deep learning. This company applies computer vision techniques to analyze healthcare image data in ways that improve health outcomes.
Data Scientist Salaries by Industry
Data scientist salaries can vary widely across industries, so let’s take a look at how these salaries can differ.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists working in computer systems, design, and related services earn $111,490 on average, while data scientists working in software publishing earn $115,110 on average. Data scientists working in information services earn $121,410, and data scientists working in computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing earn $144,090 on average.
In the tech industry, data drives product development. Data scientists in tech also use data to improve and evaluate products and services. And, they help tech companies monetize data.
Meta, for example, monetizes large volumes of user data through targeted advertising. This position at Meta applies data science to measure and communicate effective strategies for online advertising.
(Job posting, Data scientist at Meta, 2022)
The average annual data scientist salary working in the healthcare industry is $87,530, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (This figure does not include data science salaries from health insurance corporations, which the BLS categorizes as part of the financial industry).
The healthcare industry uses data science to improve care, predict patient risk, develop treatments, and guide clinical interventions. Data scientists in the healthcare industry also optimize hospital efficiency, improve resource allocation, and map community health trends.
(Job posting, Healthcare data scientist University of Maryland Medical System, 2022)
The University of Maryland Medical System is looking for a data scientist to develop predictive and prescriptive models to support clinical outcomes and the hospital’s operational efficiency.
The average salary for federal, state, and local government data scientists is $71,620, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While intelligence organizations like the NSA are well-known for collecting data through mass-surveillance programs, federal agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation gather data to guide everyday policy decisions. State and local governments are embracing digital transformation as well, and use analytics to improve efficiency, develop social programs, and measure policy success.
(Job posting, Interdisciplinary data scientist at usajobs.gov, 2022)
For this role, the successful candidate will use data science to advance government accountability initiatives.
Data scientists working in financial services earn an average salary of $109,720, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data scientists who work in securities, commodity contracts, and other investment-related activities earn an average annual salary of $143,490.
Data scientists in the financial industry detect fraud, model financial risk, and manage investment portfolios. They also identify ways to improve financial products and solutions.
(Job posting, Data scientist at Enova, 2022)
The successful candidate for this posting will develop, test, and improve models that determine lending criteria and verification procedures.
The average annual salary for e-commerce data scientists is $122,940 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ecommerce retailers leverage ML-powered recommendation engines to personalize customer offerings and increase sales. They also harness data science to optimize merchandising and pricing, manage inventory, and analyze customer attitudes.
(Job posting, Data scientist eBay, 2022)
This data science job focuses on risk assessment and fraud detection related to Ebay’s payments strategy.
Data Scientist Salaries by Experience
Data science salaries vary according to experience. Let’s explore what you can expect to earn as your career progresses.
Entry-Level Data Scientist Salary
According to PayScale, an entry-level data scientist with less than a year of experience earns $85,075 on average. With one to four years of experience, early-career data scientists can earn $95,996 on average.
As an entry-level data scientist, you might look for roles like this:
(Job posting, Junior data scientist at Roq.ad, 2022)
Mid-level Data Scientist Salary
According to PayScale, mid-level data scientists with four to nine years of experience earn an average salary of $110,727.
As a mid-level data scientist, you might look for roles like this:
(Job posting, Associate data scientist at Soar Management Consulting, 2022)
Senior Data Scientist Salary
According to PayScale, experienced data scientists with 10+ years of experience earn $122,234 on average, and those with 20+ years of experience earn $135,156.
As a senior-level data scientist, you might look for roles like this:
(Job posting, Senior data scientist at McKinsey, 2022)
Data Scientist Salaries by Education
Data from Salary.com shows that education credentials can significantly affect data scientist salaries. Let’s take a look at how data scientist salaries vary according to the level of education.
A data scientist with a high school diploma can expect their salary to fall within a range of $82,833-$88,638 according to Salary.com. Although data science jobs typically require a college degree, some positions simply require relevant experience.
(Job listing, Junior data scientist at KesarWeb, 2022)
Salary.com reports data scientists with bachelor’s degrees can expect their salary to fall in the range of $83,753 – $89,379.
(Job posting, Associate data scientist at SwissRe, 2022)
Data scientists who hold master’s degrees can expect their salaries to fall in the range of $84,521 – $90,119 according to Salary.com.
(Job posting, Safety data scientist at ZipRecruiter, 2022)
How To Boost Your Data Scientist Salary
To maximize your data science salary, you can increase your value by mastering in-demand skills, acquiring experience, and earning key credentials. Because data science salaries vary by geographic location, you should also pursue roles in areas where data science compensation is high. Finally, you’ll need a robust negotiation strategy to win the salary you deserve. Read on to find out more about how to boost your data science salary.
Grow Your Skill Set
Machine learning and deep learning knowledge can boost your data science salary. Mastery of programming languages like Python and R is vital, as is fluency with libraries like scikit-learn, TensorFlow, and PyTorch. Proficiency with data visualization tools is also important. You can build these skills through a data science bootcamp program that emphasizes applied learning.
To expand your professional experience, pursue a data science internship. Look for internships that offer collaborative, hands-on opportunities. This will help you build a track record of adding value to a team. An internship will expand your professional network and connect you with job recommendations. A strong job recommendation will validate your skills to potential employers, which can help boost your salary.
Aspiring data scientists can also build experience by completing hands-on data science projects. You can create independent projects using public datasets, enter data science competitions, or enroll in a bootcamp program that offers opportunities to work on real-world data science projects and help you build a professional data science portfolio.
Select the Right Location
According to the BLS, top-paying cities for data scientists in the United States include:
- San Francisco, California. Average salary: $148,680.
- San Jose, California. Average salary: $146,400.
- New York, New York. Average salary: $129,250.
- Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Average salary: $125,790.
- Seattle, Washington. Average salary: $121,090.
Data scientists in the tech industry are well-compensated, and as a result, the top cities for data science compensation are associated with Silicon Valley. Other high-paying metropolitan areas for data scientists include Boise City, ID, Los Angeles, CA, and Santa Rosa, CA.
Negotiate Your Job Offer
Negotiation skills are key to securing a robust compensation package. Start by researching data science salaries to better understand your market value. Be ready to provide concrete examples of how your skills and experience will be valuable to your employer.
When negotiating a job offer, consider whether you want insurance benefits, along with perks like relocation assistance, paid time off (PTO), and work-from-home accommodations. Be sure to get your compensation package documented in writing and signed by both yourself and your employer. Refrain from accepting job offers on the spot.
Pursue a Certification
According to Sachin Gupta, co-founder and CEO of hiring platform HackerEarth, cloud computing skills add considerable value to a data science resume. A certification from a cloud services provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) can also help candidates negotiate a higher salary.
Data Science Salary FAQs
Wondering if data science is the right career path for you? Check out these answers to your top questions about data scientist jobs.
Is Data Science a Good Career?
Data science salaries are highly competitive, and data scientists enjoy meaningful, intellectually stimulating work. Because data science is an emergent field, data scientists are constantly learning about new technologies. Data scientists produce impactful solutions that influence organizational strategy, and have extensive opportunities for career advancement. Glassdoor ranked “data scientist” as the number three job in America for 2022.
Are Data Scientists in Demand?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 31.4% growth in employment opportunities for data scientists between 2020 and 2030. Studies show that there’s been hiring acceleration for data scientists, spurred by an expanding need for analytical talent as organizations pursue digital transformation initiatives.
How Much Money Can Data Scientists Make?
Tech companies typically offer the most competitive data science salaries. According to Indeed, top-paying organizations for data scientists include:
- Apple: $180,042.
- Airbnb: $179,69.
- Twitter: $176,922.
- Ebay: $174,291.
Other tech companies like Meta (Facebook), Uber, Lyft, Dropbox, and Netflix often top data science salary lists.
Do You Need a Degree To Be a Data Scientist?
A degree is not required to become a data scientist, but many data scientists hold a degree in math or computer science. Aspiring data scientists can also supplement a degree in an unrelated field with a certificate from Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, a bootcamp program that builds applied data science and machine learning skills (and comes with a job guarantee).
Since you’re here…
Thinking about a career in data science? Enroll in our Data Science Bootcamp, and we’ll get you hired in 6 months. If you’re just getting started, take a peek at our foundational Data Science Course, and don’t forget to peep our student reviews. The data’s on our side.