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Breaking down the average Data Science salary

Wondering how much you can make as a data scientist? Look no further! This article provides an analysis of the average data science salary based on industry, education, experience and location.

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Photo by Money Knack on Unsplash

 

Data Science is a rapidly growing industry with plenty of demand for skilled professionals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment rate of Data Scientists to grow 36 percent between 2021-2031. With growing demand for candidates to fill Data Scientist roles, you can expect that the salaries will reflect the popularity of these roles! In fact, “Data Scientist” consistently ranks among the top three on Glassdoor’s list of the best jobs in America with a median salary of $120,000 in 2022. Data Scientist also ranks 5th in the list of Glassdoor’s list of the best jobs in the UK in 2022 with a median salary of £49,449. In case you were wondering why the US Salary is so high, here’s a helpful explainer which shows why UK salaries are lower than the US in general.

Data Science provides a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. From analysing customer datasets to building Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, Data Scientists have a role to play in most organisations today. As a result, Data Scientists can expect to earn competitive salaries. However, the average Data Scientist salary can vary depending on factors such as industry, location, and experience level. So if you’re considering a career in Data Science, you may be wondering what factors determine the average salary. If so, you are in the right place!

In this article, we’ll take a look at the factors that affect what a Data Scientist can earn and how much Data Scientists can potentially be paid based on factors such as expertise, job title, industry and location. By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll also have a better understanding of your earning potential as a Data Scientist based on what the future looks like. Just so you know, you might see a lot of US based salary references in this article because accurate and recent data is mostly available for the US. But they provide a good benchmark for how different factors can affect your salary as a Data Scientist in other countries.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

 

What Factors affect Data Scientist salaries

Data Scientists are responsible for the interpretation of a wide range of data. They’re not limited to technology firms, though they often work alongside others in the IT field. Data Science can be beneficial to most businesses, so today you’ll find them in almost every industry. There are several factors that can also impact earnings and determine a Data Scientist’s salary. These include: 

  • industry;
  • education and skill set;
  • years of experience;
  • location;

For example, Data Scientists with advanced degrees, such as a PhD, may earn higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Similarly, those with several years of experience in the field may earn more than entry-level Data Scientists. Location can also play a role, with Data Scientists in major cities or tech hubs often earning higher salaries. Finally, the the type of work and the type of responsibilities of the role can also determine what you get paid. For example, designing and maintaining big data management systems might fall within a computer engineer role which is usually paid higher than a more simple Machine Learning and Data Analysis role .

 

Average Data Science Salaries by Industry

Data scientists’ pay can be influenced significantly by the sector in which they work. Due to the complex and sensitive nature of data in question, some sectors have been found to offer more compensation, for example financial services, healthcare or technology. In particular, companies that rely heavily on information to make decisions and have a large amount of data are more inclined to provide competitive salaries for attracting the best talent. What’s more, salary levels can also be influenced by the size and reputation of a company. More resources are often allocated to Data Science teams by established organisations and industry leaders, leading to higher salaries. On the other hand, start-ups can offer a lower initial salary but also provide additional benefits such as equity or an opportunity for working on cutting edge projects.

According to recent data from Glassdoor, the highest paying industries for Data Scientists in the United States in 2022 include real estate, information technology and agriculture. In real estate, data scientists can expect to earn a median salary of $168,634 per year, while those in the information technology industry can earn a median salary of $166,562 per year. In the agriculture industry, data scientists can earn a median salary of $151,636 per year. Other industries that offer competitive salaries for data scientists include Personal Consumer Services (which include companies such as Walmart and Netflix) with a median total pay of $150,323, and Financial Services with a median total pay of $145,807.

It’s important to note that the above figures can vary by source. For instance, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2022, the top-paying industries for Data Scientists in the United States include computer systems design, management of companies, and technical and scientific consulting services. The average salary for Data Scientists in these industries ranges from $110,000 to $117,000 per year.

The big tech companies are also known to pay higher salaries than others. According to 365DataScience, bigger companies might pay a Data Scientist around 20% more than smaller businesses. For example, as of March 2023, Airbnb paid a median salary of $194,000 to Data Scientists in the United States based on Glassdoor salary data.

 

Average Data Scientist salaries based on experience

The average salary for a Data Scientist also depends on your level of experience. As with many professions, the more Data Science experience and skills you have, the higher your salary is likely to be. Experience is one of the crucial factors, if not the most, that affects salary. Experience gives you practical knowledge, problem solving skills and the ability to manage complex projects. It is likely that you will be offered a higher salary if you have achieved important results and can show a track record of success.

The average salary for a data scientist can also vary greatly depending on education.  If you have an advanced degree in Computer Science or Statistics, you’re likely to command a higher salary, or if you have worked your way up from related positions like Data Analyst or Software Developer you may have valuable industry knowledge that can also lead to higher pay. Ultimately, the route taken to become a Data Scientist can impact earning potential.

  • Entry-level

Data Science is a lucrative field, even if you’re just starting out. However, it is important to manage your expectations According to Payscale, entry-level data scientists in the UK can expect to earn on average £34K and around $98K in the United States annually as of March 2023. Entry-level positions usually require 0-4 years of experience.

While this is a comfortable salary, it’s important to note that this can vary. Entry-level positions typically require some prior experience in Data Analytics or a related field, with knowledge of Machine Learning, statistical analysis, Python, and R being essential.

  • Mid-career

According to Payscale, a mid-career Data Scientist in the United States can earn between $83K and $148K, with a median salary of around $113K as of March 2023. Mid-level roles usually require 5-9 years of experience.To excel in mid-level roles, it’s important to cultivate additional skills such as a grasp of advanced Machine Learning models, Big Data management and writing detailed documentation for company needs. Proficiency in more complex programming languages like C++ can also be beneficial.

  • Late-career

In top-paying industries such as finance or big tech, highly experienced Data Scientists can earn between $87K and $173K with a median salary of $124K as of March 2023. On top of that, the seniority of your role within the company hierarchy will also determine the salary band you will fall into. Data Scientists who have progressed to managerial or leadership positions are likely to earn higher salaries due to their increased responsibilities and the need to oversee teams and projects.

 

Average Data Scientist salaries by education and skill set

The main factors that affect the salary of a Data Scientist are education and qualifications. An higher education background, such as master’s or PhD degrees in an appropriate field of study like statistics, computer science and mathematics is a determinant when it comes to earning a higher salary in data science jobs. Such a degree can have a substantial impact on the potential for higher salaries. An advanced degree will make you more attractive to employers because of an increased level of expertise and specialisation. In fact, a PhD in data science doesn’t just offer a bump in salary, it’s increasingly becoming a required credential for the top jobs in the data science field.

Apart from formal education qualifications, the skills acquired through upskilling programmes like short-term online courses and bootcamps can also help to negotiate a higher salary if you don’t have a formal degree in STEM. Being able to program languages, such as Python, R, SQL, statistics analysis, machine learning and data visualisation is a valuable skill. The more varied and advanced a skill set is, the higher salaries are expected.

 

Average Data Scientist salary data by location

It’s important to note that the above average salaries for Data Science jobs can vary greatly across and within countries. While the information we’ve presented is mostly specific to the United States, similar trends in experience, industry, and job title can be applied elsewhere. It’s helpful to research and consider the specific salary ranges for the specific location you are interested in before making any career decisions.

Based on Glassdoor data, the median data scientist salaries in Europe as of May 2023 were:

 

Here are the average salaries for Data Scientists in various other countries,converted to USD for easier comparison with each other. It is important to note that these figures are just averages and may vary depending on factors such as industry, education and experience mentioned above.

Data scientist salaries listed by location worldwide

Source: Career Foundry

Average salaries for data scientists can also vary within a country. For example, the list below outlines how the average annual base salary for data scientists in the United States varies across five major cities as of April 2023.

  • Boston, MA – $143,181 per year
  • Los Angeles, CA – $133,879 per year
  • Houston, TX – $133,279 per year
  • Chicago, IL – $119,849 per year
  • Washington, DC – $136,583 per year

 

On the other hand, in the UK, the average annual salary for data scientists in 2022 was highest in London followed by Manchester, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Bristol.

  • London – £58,000 per year
  • Manchester- £51,000 per year
  • Edinburgh- £51,500 per year
  • Cambridge- £50,000 per year
  • Bristol – £45,000 per year

 

What does the future hold for Data Scientist salaries?

The average Data Science salary varies greatly by industry, with some industries offering significantly higher salaries than others. However, it’s important to remember that other factors, such as education level, years of experience, location, and specific skills and certifications, can also impact earnings. As the field of data science continues to grow and evolve, it’s likely that salaries will continue to increase as well.

The BLS also estimates that between 2021-31, there will be 13,500 open Data Science jobs each year on average. Data Scientists who stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends, and who have in-demand skills, will likely be in the best position to earn top salaries in the years to come.The more skills you acquire, the higher your salary can be. So, it’s definitely worth aiming to expand your skill set. It’s never too late to start!

 

FAQs

  1. How much do you make in Data Science?

Answer: According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Data Scientist is  around $120,000 per year in the United States. However, salaries can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and level of experience.

 

2. Is Data Science a Good Career Choice in the UK?

Answer: Yes, Data Science is a rapidly growing field in the UK and offers many job opportunities with high salaries. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Data Scientist in the UK is £50,000 per year, with senior Data Scientists earning up to £90,000 per year. Additionally, many industries such as finance, healthcare, and retail are investing in Data Science, making it a promising career choice.

 

3. Is a Data Science degree worth It?

Answer: According to recent studies, Data Science is one of the fastest-growing fields in the UK, with high demand for skilled professionals. Graduates with a degree in Data Science can expect to earn a high salary and have a wide range of job opportunities available to them. However, it is important to consider the cost of education and the time commitment required to complete a degree program. Ultimately, the decision to pursue a career in Data Science should be based on your individual interests and career goals.