What is a Data Scientist

Data scientists gather, analyze, and interpret large data sets from company databases. They use their results to create data-driven solutions to business challenges. Also, they use the results to optimize and improve product development, marketing techniques, and business strategies. Likewise, they use predictive modeling to increase and improve customer experiences, revenue generation, ad targeting, and other business outcomes. Other duties include developing predictive models and machine-learning algorithms, using data visualization techniques to present results, and working with the engineering and product development teams.

To become a data scientist, you need at least a bachelor's degree in statistics, computer science, or a relevant field. Skills like problem-solving, communication, analytical, presentation, and math skills aid success in this role. You must be experienced using statistical computer languages like R, Python, SLQ, and so on. The data scientist can earn as low as $82,000 and a high of $165,000. Their average annual salary is $115,874.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a data scientist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $47.09 an hour? That's $97,953 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 16% and produce 5,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Data Scientist Do

There are certain skills that many data scientists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed logical thinking, math skills and detail oriented.

Learn more about what a Data Scientist does

How To Become a Data Scientist

If you're interested in becoming a data scientist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 50.7% of data scientists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 34.1% of data scientists have master's degrees. Even though most data scientists have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a data scientist. When we researched the most common majors for a data scientist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on data scientist resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a data scientist. In fact, many data scientist jobs require experience in a role such as research assistant. Meanwhile, many data scientists also have previous career experience in roles such as data analyst or internship.

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Average Salary
$97,953
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
16%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
106,132
Job Openings
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Data Scientist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Data Scientist

Data Scientists in America make an average salary of $97,953 per year or $47 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $134,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $71,000 per year.
Average Salary
$97,953
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Data Scientist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Data Scientist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Data Scientist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Data Scientist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Data Scientist Resume Examples And Templates

Data Scientist Demographics

Data Scientist Gender Statistics

male

65.2 %

female

19.7 %

unknown

15.1 %

Data Scientist Ethnicity Statistics

White

70.6 %

Asian

18.0 %

Black or African American

5.8 %

Data Scientist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

21.3 %

Chinese

16.3 %

French

15.0 %
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Data Scientist Education

Data Scientist Majors

Data Scientist Degrees

Bachelors

50.7 %

Masters

34.1 %

Doctorate

13.3 %

Top Colleges for Data Scientists

1. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,530
Enrollment
4,571

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

10. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105
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Online Courses For Data Scientist That You May Like

Data Science: Data Mining & Natural Language Processing in R
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Top Skills For a Data Scientist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.3% of data scientists listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as logical thinking and math skills are important as well.

12 Data Scientist RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Data Scientist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a data scientist. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Maine, Idaho, and California. Data scientists make the most in Washington with an average salary of $110,059. Whereas in Maine and Idaho, they would average $104,766 and $97,092, respectively. While data scientists would only make an average of $95,739 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Data Scientist Jobs:
1,222
Highest 10% Earn:
$156,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Delaware

Total Data Scientist Jobs:
241
Highest 10% Earn:
$127,000
Location Quotient:
1.31
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maine

Total Data Scientist Jobs:
196
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
1.01
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Data Scientists

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Top Data Scientist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ data scientists and discovered their number of data scientist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Microsoft was the best, especially with an average salary of $137,076. Facebook follows up with an average salary of $117,320, and then comes Amazon.com with an average of $97,674. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a data scientist. The employers include Twitter, Facebook, and Dell

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Data Scientist FAQs

How many years does it take to become a data scientist?

It takes 4 to 5 years to become a data scientist. However, there are so many different paths to get there, so the time it can take to become a data scientist will vary.

Those who go the university route, for example, can become data scientists in 3 to 4 years, or the time it takes them to earn a bachelor's degree. However, most data scientists, over 75% to be exact, have at least a master's in data science. This takes an additional 1 to 2 years to complete.

Of those, another 38% of data scientists have a Ph.D. in data science or a related area like mathematics or computer science. Earning a Ph.D. can take a total of 7 to 8 years to achieve.

Not all routes to becoming a data scientist, however, mean paying for expensive graduate school. In fact, over 25% of data scientists do not have a graduate degree. They learned the skills they needed online and through on-the-job experience.

That's not to say that being self-taught is any easier than attending university. Self-teaching requires extreme discipline, as well as thorough research to make sure you're teaching yourself the right skills.

Not to mention, data science is a quickly evolving world to continually adapt the curriculum to keep up with new languages or procedures.

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Is data scientist a good career?

Yes, data scientist is a good career. Data scientists are paid well, have high job satisfaction, good job growth, and can work in a variety of industries.

Data science is one of the most highly paid jobs in any industry. The average data scientist, for example, makes an average of $116,100 per year.

For this reason, It's one of the most highly sought after jobs thanks to the abundance of data science positions available, the variety of industries open to them, and a lucrative pay-scale.

There is a lot of versatility in the types of industries that data scientists can work in. Data scientists are in particular demand in fields such as healthcare, banking, consultancy services, and e-commerce industries.

Data scientists experience a high level of job satisfaction, and one reason for this is that their role in many companies is critical to the business. They allow companies to make smarter business decisions. Companies rely on data scientists and use their expertise to provide better results to their clients.

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What qualifications do you need to be a data scientist?

The qualifications for a data scientist include the right combination of educational credentials, programing skills, statistics, and business acumen.

After all, a data scientist is part mathematician, part computer scientist, and part business strategist, and as such, they must have expertise in several different disciplines at once.

This complex skillset means that data scientists must consistently have one foot in the information technology sector and another planted firmly in the business world.

If available, the most sought-after majors for data science are statistics, computer science, information technologies, mathematics, or data science.

Educational credentials have an impact on your ability to get a job working as a data scientist. However, it's not the only path; over 75% of data scientists have at least a master's in data science, and another 38% have a Ph.D. in a related area like mathematics or computer science.

However, if you have a bachelor's degree in a related area and a good understanding of computers and mathematics, there are other options.

There are enough resources online to teach you most of the core concepts that you need to master. In addition, there are many online programs specifically for data science that include online courses, materials, and certifications.

Overall, a data scientist should have a large range of computer-related abilities. including:

  • Mastering a Programming Language (R or Python)

  • Proficient in applied mathematics (LA, Stats, Prob)

  • Understand Machine Learning and Deep Learning

  • Hands-on work experience (e.g., internship, online competition)

  • Ability to build end-to-end projects with competitive data science

In addition, a data scientist must be proficient in mathematics, numeracy, and have a deep understanding of statistical theory. Plus, knowledge of SAS and Other Analytical Tools is important. Finally, having business acumen and good communication skills play a big part in being a good data scientist.

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Updated August 18, 2021