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Working as a Senior Data Scientist

A senior data scientist's role is to oversee and offer their experience and expertise, whenever necessary, to other medium and junior data scientists. They are also in charge of directing the flow of data, research, and digital construction within the team, data mining, and creating, maintaining, and improving new data-related software, projects, and programs.

Senior Data Scientists have a vast set of necessary skills, such as programming, statistics, mathematics, analysis, and economics. Depending on the industry within which the employing company works, they may also have to specialize in other things, such as SQL, deep learning (DL) and machine learning (ML) models, e-commerce, marketing, business, and data pipelines.

Generally, the employer will also ask for a Bachelor's in Data Science, Computer Science, or a similar field of study and at least a few years of experience. Some may even look for candidates with a Master's degree in any of these subjects.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a senior data scientist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $64.75 an hour? That's $134,682 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 Senior Data Scientist Do

There are certain skills that many senior 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a senior data scientist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.3% of senior data scientists included python, while 12.0% of resumes included data science, and 10.2% of resumes included data analysis. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the senior data scientist job title. But what industry to start with? Most senior data scientists actually find jobs in the technology and finance industries.

How To Become a Senior Data Scientist

If you're interested in becoming a senior data scientist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 8.9% of senior data scientists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 44.4% of senior data scientists have master's degrees. Even though most senior 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 senior data scientist. When we researched the most common majors for a senior data scientist, we found that they most commonly earn master's degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on senior data scientist resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

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

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Average Salary$134,682
Job Growth Rate16%

Average Salary for a Senior Data Scientist

Senior Data Scientists in America make an average salary of $134,682 per year or $65 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $179,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $101,000 per year.
Average Salary
$134,682

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Seattle, WA
Salary Range125k - 181k$151k$151,223
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range115k - 180k$145k$144,686
Beaverton, OR
Salary Range107k - 156k$130k$129,810
New York, NY
Salary Range93k - 147k$118k$117,650
Washington, DC
Salary Range93k - 142k$115k$115,178
Austin, TX
Salary Range92k - 139k$114k$113,781
$69k
$181k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
SR. Data Scientist
SR. Data Scientist
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$135,00001/27/2021
$135,000
Senior Data Scientist
Senior Data Scientist
Management Decisions, Inc.
Management Decisions, Inc.
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$208,70001/27/2021
$208,700
SR. Data Scientist
SR. Data Scientist
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$160,00001/27/2021
$160,000
SR. Data Scientist, Retail Analytics
SR. Data Scientist, Retail Analytics
VF Corporation
VF Corporation
01/21/2021
01/21/2021
$120,00001/21/2021
$120,000
SR. Data Scientist, Retail Analytics
SR. Data Scientist, Retail Analytics
VF Corporation
VF Corporation
01/21/2021
01/21/2021
$120,00001/21/2021
$120,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Senior Data Scientist Demographics

Gender

male

75.4 %

female

14.3 %

unknown

10.3 %

Ethnicity

White

70.6 %

Asian

18.0 %

Black or African American

5.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Mandarin

27.3 %

Spanish

18.2 %

Chinese

9.1 %
See More Demographics

Senior Data Scientist Education

Majors

Degrees

Masters

44.4 %

Doctorate

43.3 %

Bachelors

8.9 %

Top Colleges for Senior 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. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

4. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA • Private

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

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

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

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

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

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

8. University of Rochester

Rochester, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,909
Enrollment
6,348

9. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

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

10. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596
See More Education Info
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Senior 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, 15.3% of senior data scientists listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as logical thinking and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Senior Data Scientist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior data scientist. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Maine, California, and Oregon. Senior data scientists make the most in Washington with an average salary of $149,876. Whereas in Maine and California, they would average $146,912 and $134,670, respectively. While senior data scientists would only make an average of $130,522 in Oregon, 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 Senior Data Scientist Jobs:
901
Highest 10% Earn:
$209,000
Location Quotient:
2.07
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. California

Total Senior Data Scientist Jobs:
3,208
Highest 10% Earn:
$203,000
Location Quotient:
1.67
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. New Mexico

Total Senior Data Scientist Jobs:
72
Highest 10% Earn:
$187,000
Location Quotient:
0.81
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
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Top Senior 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 senior data scientists and discovered their number of senior data scientist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Microsoft was the best, especially with an average salary of $147,511. LinkedIn follows up with an average salary of $151,817, and then comes Netflix with an average of $146,625. 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 senior data scientist. The employers include Dell, Cigna, and Brown-Forman

1. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$147,511
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
121+
2. LinkedIn
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$151,817
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
110+
3. Netflix
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$146,625
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
62+
4. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$140,033
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
56+
5. Aetna
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$139,901
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
53+
6. General Electric
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$146,002
Senior Data Scientists Hired: 
34+
Updated October 2, 2020